Toward a non‐experimental method for causal analyses of social phenomena

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Abstract

A method is described for detecting causal relationships among social phenomena in the natural setting. Based primarily upon obtaining an association between 2 factors, 1 measured earlier in time than the other, and controlling the influences of outside factors, it considers causality to be a matter of degree and allows for symmetrical causal relationships. A study of organizational behavior demonstrates the applicability of the method. After contrasting the method to path analysis and panel‐study analysis, it is suggested that behavioral scientists think in terms of 3 levels of research on complex cycles of social behavior: one‐point‐in‐time correlations to determine general associations among factors, methods like the one proposed here to determine general causal relationships, and, when possible, experiments to determine more precisely the causal relationships among factors of particular interest. 1969 Australian Psychological Society

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-276
Number of pages18
JournalAustralian Journal of Psychology
Volume21
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1969
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)

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