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How to Calculate a Correlation

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© All Rights Reserved

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CORRELATION

Can one statistic measure both the

strength and direction of a linear

relationship between two variables?

Sure! Statisticians use the correlation

coefficient to measure the strength

and direction of the linear relationship

between two numerical

variables X and Y. The correlation

coefficient for a sample of data is

denoted by r.

Although the street definition

of correlation applies to any two

items that are related (such as

gender and political affiliation),

statisticians use this term only in the

context of two numerical variables.

The formal term for correlation is

the correlation coefficient. Many

different correlation measures have

been created; the one used in this

case is called the Pearson correlation

coefficient.

The formula for the correlation (r) is

data;

values and all the y-values,

respectively; and sxand sy are the

sample standard deviations of all

the x- and y-values, respectively.

You can use the following steps to

calculate the correlation, r, from a

data set:

1. Find the mean of all the x-values

the x-values (call it sx) and the

standard deviation of all the y-values

(call it sy).

For example, to find sx, you would

use the following equation:

data set, take

5. Divide the sum by sx ∗ sy.

6. Divide the result by n – 1,

where n is the number of (x, y) pairs.

(It’s the same as multiplying by 1

over n – 1.)

This gives you the correlation, r.

For example, suppose you have the

data set (3, 2), (3, 3), and (6, 4). You

calculate the correlation

coefficient r via the following steps.

(Note that for this data the x-values

are 3, 3, 6, and the y-values are 2, 3,

4.)

1. Calculating the mean of the x and

y values, you get

1.73 and sy = 1.00.

3. The n = 3 differences found in

Step 2 multiplied together are: (3 –

4)(2 – 3) = (– 1)( – 1) = +1; (3 – 4)(3

– 3) = (– 1)(0) = 0; (6 – 4)(4 – 3) =

(2)(1) = +2.

4. Adding the n = 3 Step 3 results,

you get 1 + 0 + 2 = 3.

5. Dividing by sx ∗ sy gives you 3 /

(1.73 ∗ 1.00) = 3 / 1.73 = 1.73. (It’s

just a coincidence that the result from

Step 5 is also 1.73.)

6. Now divide the Step 5 result by 3

– 1 (which is 2), and you get the

correlation r = 0.87.

https://www.dummies.com/education/

math/statistics/how-to-calculate-a-

correlation/

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