publication . Article . Other literature type . 1991

The spectre of 'spurious' correlations.

Jackson, D. A.; Somers, K. M.;
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  • Published: 01 Mar 1991 Journal: Oecologia, volume 86, pages 147-151 (issn: 0029-8549, eissn: 1432-1939, Copyright policy)
  • Publisher: Springer Nature
Abstract
Ecologists often ‘standardize’ data through the use of ratios and indices. Such measures are employed generally to remove a ‘size effect’ induced by some relatively uniteresting variable. The implications of using the resultant data in correlation and regression analyses are poorly recognized. We show that ratios and indices often provide surprising and ‘spurious’ results due to their unusual properties. As a solution, we advocate the use of randomization tests to evaluate hypotheses confounded by ‘spurious’ correlations. In addition, we emphasize that identifying the appropriate null correlation is of utmost importance when statistically evaluating ratios, alth...
Subjects
free text keywords: Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
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