Throughout social research studies, various errors may occur and often such errors compromise the quality of research data, and this may lead to inaccurate research reports. One of the typical mistakes that can be frequently noticed in the social research procedures is the ecological fallacy, which occurs in the process of statistical data interpretation. The ecological fallacy arises when the deduction of the inferences on individual characteristics depends on the assumptions of the group from which the individuals under the study belong.
The most common forms of ecological fallacy include the confusion, involving ecological correlations with different correlations, uncertainty between group averages with the total averages as well, as the confusion concerning higher proportions with the higher likelihood. Unlike ecological fallacy, ecological correlation is the statistical relationship between two variables, and it reflects the means of two groups. Ecological correlation highlights the measured strength of a relationship between different groups; thus, its general assumption is that the observed trends along with characteristics are analogous in all the groups. As a result, there is a tendency to overstate the relationships and this leads to the inaccurate interpretation of the existing relations because of different signs may arise during the aggregation for the correlation coefficient.
In the article "Age-at-marriage", the writer aims to inference various aspects of marital age, particularly among the females from different geographical locations. In the research process, the author focuses on a total of forty explanatory variables from one-hundred-and-fifty six countries as well as three dependent variables, which include the average marital age among women, the average difference in the marital ages as well as the proportion of females married by ages ranging from twenty years to twenty-four years. Whereas the study was feasible, various elements involved in the research process made it impossible to come up with certain deductions (Saardchom and Jean 83).
Some of the major issues that complicated the data interpretation process include the high number of explanatory variables. Handling the data from over one-hundred and fifty-six countries requires due diligence, lest the researchers compromise the quality along with the meaning of the available evidence. Bearing in mind that the available data were samples which already resembled populations of women from different countries, further subjecting of such data to regression analysis leads to overlooking of other detailed information along with figures that would otherwise give the complete information on the elements of female marital age under investigation.
Also, the utilization of numerous hypotheses in the explanation of the aggregates of the data on the dependent variables leads the deliberate establishment of assumptions on various aspects of the collected data. As a result, the final result tends to lack vital information and these findings into misrepresentation of the existing relationships. Another potential problem is the prediction of future trends using the established results. Worth noting is that the interpretation of the data at hand has elements of ecological correlations. Thus, it overstates various aspects of the female marital age amongst women from different regions. For that reason, the use of such findings in the prediction of future trends in the marital age along with associated behaviors is misleading.
Besides, the forms of hypotheses used during the study have different trends in the various countries as well as continents, thus making deductions based on the assumption that frameworks such as education levels along with the economic industrialization among others in the different regions will have uniform patterns is misleading and needs not to be used.
- Saardchom, Narumon, and Jean Lemaire. "Causes of increasing ages at marriage: An international regression study." Marriage & family review 37.3 (2005): 73-97.