chapter  8
Bivariate analysis: exploring relationships between two variables
Pages 48

TH I S C H A P T E R F O C U S E S on relationships between pairs of variables.Having examined the distribution of values for particular variables through the use of frequency tables, histograms, and associated statistics as discussed in Chapter 5, a major strand in the analysis of a set of data is likely to be bivariate analysis – how two variables are related to each other. The analyst is unlikely to be satisfied with the examination of single variables alone, but will probably be concerned to demonstrate whether variables are related. The investigation of relationships is an important step in explanation and consequently contributes to the building of theories about the nature of the phenomena in which we are interested. The emphasis on relationships can be contrasted with the material covered in the previous chapter, in which the ways in which cases or subjects may differ in respect to a variable were described. The topics covered in the present chapter bear some resemblance to those examined in Chapter 7, since the researcher in both contexts is interested in exploring variance and its connections with other variables. Moreover, if we find that members of different ethnic groups differ in regard to a variable, such as income, this may be taken to indicate that there is a relationship between ethnic group and income. Thus, as will be seen, there is no hard-and-fast distinction between the exploration of differences and of relationships.