A correlation coefficient numerically reflects the relationship between two variables. For example, imagine that
you conduct a study on college students and find an inverse correlation between marijuana smoking (variable
a) and grade point average (variable b), meaning that those who smoke marijuana tend to have lower GPAs
than those who do not and the more marijuana one smokes, the lower the GPA. You might conclude that
smoking more marijuana lowers students’ grades.
However, with a correlation, you do not know cause and effect. For example, in this scenario did getting poor
grades lead to marijuana use—or did marijuana use lead to poor grades? Identifying a relationship between
variables is not the same as understanding the cause and effect.
For this Discussion, you explain the function of correlations and how understanding correlations may help you
better understand a population.
Salkind, N. J., Frey, B. B. (2020c). Statistics for people who (think they) hate statistics (7th ed.). Sage.
• Chapter 5, “Computing Correlation Coefficients: Ice Cream and Crime” (pp. 75-102)
Please use two or more additional references to support your paper. Use APA 7th edition citations and
references to post your response to the following:
• Explain how correlations function.
• Explain how understanding correlations may help you better understand a population.
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