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correlation coefficient

Definition of Correlation Coefficient

(noun) In statistical analysis, a standardized measure of the covariance between two variables expressed between -1 and +1. The sign of the coefficient indicates the direction of the relationship while the magnitude is indicated by the value of the coefficient with 0 indicating absolutely no correlation and a value of ±1 indicating perfect correlation.

Example of Correlation Coefficient

Correlation Coefficient Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: cor·re·la·tion co·ef·fi·cient

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /kor-uh-lAY-shuhn koh-uh-fIsh-uhnt/
  • British English – /kor-i-lAY-shuhn kohi-fIsh-uhnt/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ˌkɔrəˈleɪʃən ˌkoʊəˈfɪʃənt/
  • British English – /ˌkɒrɪˈleɪʃən ˌkəʊɪˈfɪʃənt/

Usage Notes

  • Plural: correlation coefficients
  • The most common test for correlation is the Pearson product-movement correlation (commonly referred to as Pearson correlation) which tests the linear correlation between two variables where data approximates interval level characteristics.
  • Pearson correlation produces a correlation coefficient, Pearson’s r, which is an absolute measure of the strength of association between two variables as they approximate a linear relationship. The value of the coefficient can range from -1 to +1. When r = 0; the two variables have no linear relationship. While the size and sign of the coefficient are important, the coefficient must also be statistically significant for a relationship between two variables to be considered present in the data.
  • Correlation forms the basis of regression analysis. Regression allows for the effects of additional variables to be considered in the relationship of x on y.
  • Also called:
    • coefficient of association (co-efficient of association)
    • coefficient of correlation (co-efficient of correlation)

Additional Information

Related Terms

Contributor: C. E. Seaman

Works Consulted

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Cite the Definition of Correlation Coefficient

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Seaman, C. E. 2015. “correlation coefficient.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary, edited by Kenton Bell. Retrieved May 23, 2024 (https://sociologydictionary.org/correlation-coefficient/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

Seaman, C. E. (2015). correlation coefficient. In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/correlation-coefficient/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Seaman, C. E. 2015. “correlation coefficient.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary, edited by Kenton Bell. Accessed May 23, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/correlation-coefficient/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

Seaman, C. E. “correlation coefficient.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2015. Web. 23 May. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/correlation-coefficient/>.