ecological fallacy


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ecological fallacy

or

wrong-level fallacy

the error of inferring that relationships established between two or more variables measured at an AGGREGATE level will also hold at the individual level. Care must be taken in research studies which use areas as the unit of analysis to avoid this error. For example, if an area is found to have a high percentage of unemployment and a high percentage of mental illness, any inference of a causal relationship at the individual level would be invalid. The problem is discussed in Robinson (1951) and Riley (1963).
References in periodicals archive ?
With these new findings, evidence from ecological, case-control, and cohort studies are consistent; thus, an interesting question is whether there was an ecological fallacy.
Short entries summarize specialized concepts and techniques, such as the ecological fallacy and open standards, and given information on key organizations.
One way to minimize the ecological fallacy is to make the groups as homogeneous as possible by using smaller units of analysis (6).

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