Example: The oft-repeated example of a spurious relationship is when ice cream sales increase so do drownings. However, ice cream does not have a direct relationship to drownings, but instead warmer weather drives increased ice cream sales and the amount of people who go swimming, thus increasing a number of people drowning.
Audio Pronunciation: (spur·ious re·la·tion·ship)
Download Audio Pronunciation: spurious relationship.mp3
- Plural: spurious relationships
- Spurious relationships not identified as such can undermine the internal validity of research
- Also called:
- illusory correlation
- spurious relation
- Spurious correlation used in a sentence: My statistics teacher used the example of increased drownings and ice cream sells to illustrate a spurious correlation.
- Quantitative Research Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “spurious” and “relationship” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- control group
- descriptive statistics
- inferential statistics
- random sample
- statistical analysis
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How to Cite the Definition of Spurious Relationship
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Seaman, C. E. 2013. “spurious relationship.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary, edited by Kenton Bell. Retrieved February 18, 2019 (http://sociologydictionary.org/spurious-relationship/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
Seaman, C. E. (2013). spurious relationship. In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from http://sociologydictionary.org/spurious-relationship/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Seaman, C. E. 2013. “spurious relationship.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary, edited by Kenton Bell. Accessed February 18, 2019. http://sociologydictionary.org/spurious-relationship/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
Seaman, C. E. “spurious relationship.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 18 Feb. 2019. <http://sociologydictionary.org/spurious-relationship/>.