Tests for Causality
Sackett et al in Clinical Epidemiology described 9 criteria to decide if something is caused by something else.
- Is there experimental evidence from human studies?
- Is the association strong?
- Is the association consistent from study to study?
- Is the temporal relationship correct?
- Is there a dose-response relationship?
- Does the association make epidemiological sense?
- Does the association make biological sense?
- Is the association specific?
- Is the association analogous to a previously proven causal association?
These correspond to Bradford Hill's Criteria of Causality (1937)
Kenneth Rothman wrote a short critique of these criteria in chapter 2 of Epidemiology: An introduction, and a slightly longer critique in chapter 2 of Modern Epidemiology (2 edn).