etiology

the study of causation, of why things occur. Etiological issues are important in educational research when trying to pick out key factors in some phenomenon, or in discriminating between causation and mere correlation. For example, a study may struggle to determine if reading for pleasure activity contributes to reading ability, or if it is reading ability that leads to more reading for pleasure. As with many etiological issues in education, the answer may not be clear-cut.