Glossary of Scientific Relationships Among Events, Objects and Processes Terms and Terminology

  • Cause: A state, process, condition or intervention that is connected to a state, process, condition or intervention (cause) that results from the cause (effect). The cause, in essence, is responsible for the effect and the effect is dependent on the cause.
  • Causality: An alternative term for cause and effect and causation
  • Causation: An alternative term for cause and effect and causality
  • Effect: A state, process, condition or intervention that results from a cause
  • Sequencing: The chronological order of states, processes, conditions and interventions that lead to an effect
  • Correlation coefficient: A statistical method that determines the nature and strength of correlations
  • Correlations: A negative or positive relationship between two variables.
  • Positive correlation: The relationship between two variables where both variables increase OR both variables decrease.
  • Negative correlation: The relationship between two variables where one variable increases while the other variable decreases.

Cause and Effect

Simply stated, cause is a state, process or intervention that is connected to a state, process or intervention that results from the cause. The cause, in essence, is responsible for the effect and the effect is dependent on the cause.

The process of cause and effect is also referred to as causality and causation.

As more fully discussed and detailed in the following section entitled "Analysis and Design of a Scientific Investigation", causality is extremely difficult to prove particularly in humans because humans are highly complex and in constant interactions with so many conditions, states and processes. Based on the difficulties associated with causality, correlation coefficients and correlations are most often used with human research, rather than causality, cause and effect and causation.

There are two types of correlations. Correlations can be positive or negative. A positive correlation occurs when both the independent and dependent variables increase or decrease. A negative correlation occurs when one of the variable increases and the other variable decreases.

Cause > Effect

Sequencing and Sequences

The chronological order of events, states, processes, conditions and interventions that lead to an effect.

Event 1 > Event 2 > Event 3 > Effect

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Alene Burke

Alene Burke

Alene Burke RN, MSN is a nationally recognized nursing educator. She began her work career as an elementary school teacher in New York City and later attended Queensborough Community College for her associate degree in nursing. She worked as a registered nurse in the critical care area of a local community hospital and, at this time, she was committed to become a nursing educator. She got her bachelor’s of science in nursing with Excelsior College, a part of the New York State University and immediately upon graduation she began graduate school at Adelphi University on Long Island, New York. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Adelphi with a double masters degree in both Nursing Education and Nursing Administration and immediately began the PhD in nursing coursework at the same university. She has authored hundreds of courses for healthcare professionals including nurses, she serves as a nurse consultant for healthcare facilities and private corporations, she is also an approved provider of continuing education for nurses and other disciplines and has also served as a member of the American Nurses Association’s task force on competency and education for the nursing team members.
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