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Correlation VS Causation

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The first principle that the study did not do a good job on is correlation VS causation. Correlation is the relationship between two things that are being compared however does not have to have a cause and effect relationship. Sometimes one factor may cause the other factor, however, when reverses them the factors will not be in a cause and effect relationship. Also, the existence of a third factor could be accidentally forming a relationship. In Dr. Twinge’s research study, she wants to prove that Twitter does affect our abilities to pay attention. What she did was that she asked a large group of people between 18-35 to do a complex puzzle while showing a new program on TV. What she did wrong was that she compared the two things wrong.

The TV might have an effect on their concentration, but the Twitter is different than the news program. Maybe the sample group might be interested in the new better than the complex puzzle or, possibly the puzzle is way too complex that they lost their concentration. What they could possibly do is that instead of using the TV, they should open the Twitter on the phone and put it beside them. Then they can observe whether the Twitter has an effect directly to our concentration. Parsimony: The second principle that the research did not do a good job on is parsimony. The principle of parsimony states that the explanation of a study should be as simple as possible. The simplified explanation might not be correct however we need to try our best to simplify it. If the description does not explain the result, then we can come up with a more complex one. By doing this, it would make the explanation explains the results better. In the research, Dr. Twinge described the Twitter in a detailed paragraph. She described how people use Twitter in a browser or phone for so long and how each post on Twitter is so short.

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She believes that the length of the post could directly affect our ability to pay attention. She could have said that the Twitter weakens our ability to pay attention instead of bringing the description of the Twitter. The simplified explanation has all the information we need to know and is no more complicated than necessary. Replicability: The third principle that the research did not do a good job on is replicability. Replicability is a principle state that the scientific research must be able to duplicate by following the same steps as the researcher did. People who used the same methods should get the same results as the research results. Any researches that can be trusted are the ones that have been tested multiple ways and always ends up getting the same results. In this research, Dr. Twinge got the results from a randomly selected sample between age eighteen and thirty-five. The issue with this is that within this sample size, there might be more people who are not interested in solving puzzles. If they are not interested in puzzle games, then they would pay more attention to things around them like the TV in the corner.

When other people want to conduct the same experiment, they might not get the same result because more people who like solving puzzles would be in their sample group. What the researcher should do to fix this problem is that they should do is that they should use the results from the people who use the Twitter a lot and likes puzzle solving. In this way, when other people want to re- conduct this experiment would have a sense of who to sample from. Over-reliance On Anecdotes: One of the warning sign that I found throughout the research is the over reliance on anecdotes. Over Reliance on anecdotes indicating that the researchers rely on a personal story instead of a whole set of data collected from a large group of people.

One person’s own story cannot be reliable and not enough to prove that its hypothesis is right. Anecdotes can also include one’s own biases and would affect the result in the future. For instance, in the research, Dr. Twinge told readers her own story about the effect of Twitter. She said that during 2007 her ability to pay attention had been decreased when Twitter came out in the same year. She believes that the cause of her concentration weakened because of Twitter however when the second results came out, it contradicts her prediction. The results showed that Twitter has nothing to do with our ability to pay attention. She refuses to accept it still thinks her own experience is the most reliable data for her research. What she should do to avoid this warning is that she should not rely on her own story as well as avoiding personal biases.


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