Family car is killing us, says Tasmanian researcher
This article is a classic and illustrates many of the difficulties associated with claims of cause-effect relationships. While some aspects of the article present reasons for relationships, others should leave the reader questioning the presence of lurking variables which might be associated with both "cause" and "effect" variables.
Several nice exercises for students are possible from this material. Using paragraphs 3 and 4, students could be asked to draw graphs illustrating the claimed relationships. Several interesting possibilities exist for graphs, which will display both students' basic graphing skills and their abilities to interpret an association.
Another problem would be to ask students what questions they would put to Mr Robinson if they could interview him about his research. This would demonstrate their depth of understanding of the relationship between the basic association shown between two variables and a possible cause-effect link between them.
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Student Questions for this article
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