The Meaning of Relationships in Social-Survey Analysis

  • Morris Rosenberg


The first step in the analysis of survey data is to examine the relationship between two variables. Such a relationship, however, may have many different meanings. In a formal sense there are three possible meanings which a relationshp between two variables may have:1† (1) Neither variable may influence the other; such relationships are termed symmetrical. (2) Both variables may influence one another; these are reciprocal relationships. (3) One of the variables may influence the other; the term asymmetrical is applied to this type of relationship. It is useful to consider some of the different types of symmetrical, reciprocal and asymmetrical relationships appearing in research.


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Notes and References

  1. 6.
    It is important to know, of course, whether each variable equally affects the other or whether one variable has the more important influence. Fortunately this issue can be solved through panel analysis. See for example the discussion of mutual interactions in Lazarsfeld [1948]; Rosenberg and Thielens, ‘The Panel Study’, in Jahoda et al. [1951] vol. 2, pp. 587–609; and Pelz and Andrews [1964].Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1984

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  • Morris Rosenberg

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