A causal questions in the real world
Find a news article, video clip, or personal story of a potential causal relationship that you are
interested in, and use it to answer the following questions:
- What is one dimension or characteristic over which you are interested to investigate the
effect over? Later in the course, we will call this an outcome, or a dependent variable.
- What is the event, variable, or policy that is causing something? Later in the course we
will call this the treatment or independent variable of interest. (Example: ban on abortion
at the state level)
- Could you think of a data set, real or fictitious, where you could observe these variables?
Describe what each variable (column) means. What are the observations (rows)? In
addition to these two variables, could you think of other variables that might help us
better understand this relationship? Later in the course we will call these control
- What could be the population of interest? And what a sample?
- Please present fictional statistics for what might be a plausible mean and standard
deviation of each. Discuss when standard deviations might not be informative.
- Provide an example of how selection bias could be threatening the analysis
- Describe how an RCT could be used to estimate the true causal effect of interest.