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Choosing a correlation test

 

Explanations > Social ResearchAnalysis > Choosing a correlation test

Choosing the test | Discussion | See also

 

Choosing the test

Use the table below to choose the test. See below for further details.

 

How many dichotomous+ (binary) variables?

0

Both variables interval or ratio?

Y

Measures are linear? (No = monotonic*)

Y Pearson correlation
N Spearman correlation

N

Both variables are ordinal?

Y

Kendall correlation

N

Both variables can be ranked?

Y

Kendall correlation

N

Convert to frequency data and use Chi-square test for independence

1

Biserial Correlation Coefficient
2

2 x 2 table?

Y

Phi

N

Cramer's V

 

Data has frequency values for each category?

Y

Chi-square test for independence


+
dichotomous = 'can have only two values' (eg. yes/no or 0/1).
*monotonic = constantly increasing or decreasing.

Discussion

A correlation coefficient is measured between -1 and 1.

A positive indicates that if one variable increases, the other increases also. A negative coefficient indicates that if one variable increases, the other decreases.

0 indicates no relationship between the two variables.

1 or -1 indicates a linear relationships, such that if one variable is known, the second can be accurately predicted.

See also

Types of data, Correlation

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