## 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

- A correlation coefficient of -.85 indicates a strong negative correlation between two variables.

## Correlation Coefficient Pronunciation

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

Audio Pronunciation

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

- Quantitative Research Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “correlation” and “coefficient” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com

### Related Terms

- descriptive statistics
- empirical evidence
- experimental group
- inferential statistics
- negative correlation
- positive correlation
- random sample
- reliability
- spurious correlation
- statistics

**Contributor:** C. E. Seaman

#### Works Consulted

Babbie, Earl. 2013. *The Practice of Social Research*. 13th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Bryman, Alan. 2012. *Social Research Methods*. 4th ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

Burdess, Neil. 2010. *Starting Statistics: A Short, Clear Guide*. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Cramer, Duncan, and Dennis Howitt. 2004. *The SAGE Dictionary of Statistics: A Practical Resource for Students in the Social Sciences*. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Farlex. (N.d.) *TheFreeDictionary.com: Dictionary, Encyclopedia and Thesaurus*. Farlex. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/).

Ferrante, Joan. 2011. *Sociology: A Global Perspective*. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Fioramonti, Lorenzo. 2014. *How Numbers Rule the World: The Use and Abuse of Statistics in Global Politics*. London: Zed Books.

Larson, Ron, and Elizabeth Farber. 2015. *Elementary Statistics: Picturing the World*. 6th ed. Boston: Pearson.

Oxford University Press. (N.d.)* Oxford Dictionaries*. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Salkind, Neil J., ed. 2007. *Encyclopedia of Measurement and Statistics*. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Taylor & Francis. (N.d.) *Routledge Handbooks Online*. (https://www.routledgehandbooks.com/).

Weinstein, Jay A. 2010. *Applying Social Statistics: An Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning in Sociology*. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.)* Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia*. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.)* Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary*. Wikimedia Foundation. (http://en.wiktionary.org).

Wiley. (N.d.) *Wiley Online Library*. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/).

#### 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 November 28, 2023 (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 November 28, 2023. 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. 28 Nov. 2023. <https://sociologydictionary.org/correlation-coefficient/>.