Difference Between Bivariate and Partial Correlation

Correlations are classified into two forms in statistics, i.e., bivariate correlations and partial correlations. Correlation is the extent and direction of association of two variables – in other words, how effectively one can be figured from the other.

Shared relation between two variables can be positive, positive, or curvilinear. Numerical scales are used to measure and express it. Correlations are said to be positive when they increase simultaneously, and negative when they decline in values.

Bivariate vs Partial Correlation

The main difference between Bivariate and Partial Correlation is that the bivariate correlation deals with the analysis of two variables and helps in identifying the relation between them. But the partial correlation, on the other hand, assesses the level of correlation of two generic variables, once the influence of a controlling random variable is removed.

Bivariate vs Partial Correlation

A bivariate correlation is applied to identify whether or not two variables are related. It often assesses how variables change at the same time.

An examination through the bivariate method helps by exploring multiple elements at the same time. This analysis’ tries to pinpoint the linear relationship between two variables.

Partial correlation differs from bivariate, it removes the extra variable to signify the correlation between two variables. This method helps in computing the correlation between variables by striking out the influence of the third variable.

It has the ability to perform admirably in multiple regression. Under this type of correlation, useful data is accumulated and is used to discover hidden ties and identify hidden correlations.

Comparison Table between Bivariate and Partial Correlation

Parameter of comparisonBivariate CorrelationPartial Correlation
DefinitionIt determine whether two variables are connected or notIt measures relationship after controlling other variables
MeasuresTwo variables.Degree of other variables
VariablesOften denoted as X and YTwo random variables, like X and Y, X and Z or Y and Z
SymbolPearson’s ‘r’ (R)rYX.W
Used to obtainUsed to obtain a correlation coefficient that describes the measure of the relationship between two linear variablesUsed to obtain correlation coefficients after controlling for one or more variables

What is Bivariate Correlation?

A bivariate correlation is appropriate for evaluating simple assumptions of linkage and causality. A bivariate analysis goes further description; it examines numerous relationships between multiple variables at the same time.

The length and width of an object are two examples of bivariate association.

When one variable is arbitrary or either variable is difficult to measure, bivariate correlation can assist understand and anticipating the result of other variables.

A bivariate correlation can be measured using a variety of tests, such as the scatterplot, and the Pearson Product-Moment Correlation test. A correlation matrix is typically used to represent the test findings of this correlation.

A correlation is a single value between -1 and +1 that reflects the intensity of linkage or co-occurrence between two variables.

This statistic, which quantifies the strength of linkage, is known as the correlation coefficient, and it is commonly symbolized by the letter ‘r’.

Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient is the second name for the correlation coefficient between two continuous-level variables.

A positive r value denotes a positive connection between the two variables (the greater A, the greater B), whereas a negative r value denotes a negative connection (the larger A, the smaller B).

A correlation value of 0 shows that there is no relation between the components. Correlations, on the other hand, are limited to linear relationships between variables. A non-linear relationship may exist even if the correlation coefficient is zero.

What is Partial Correlation?

When the influence of related variables is removed from the equation, the correlation between two variables is termed partial correlation. It performs admirably in multiple regression.

It is a technique for explaining the relation between independent variables while ignoring the impact of another variable inside the relationship.

It accumulates variables to determine whether or not they exhibit collective behavior. Partial correlation is useful for discovering concealed connections as well as detecting deceptive correlations.

The relationship between a person’s weight and height after controlling the value of age is an illustration of partial correlation.

If we wish to determine how strong a relationship is there between two variables of interest, by the use of their correlation coefficient, it will provide misleading results if there is one more variable, which is a puzzling variable and is numerically related to both variables of interest.

Controlling the influencing variable, which is accomplished by calculating the partial correlation coefficient, can help in the avoidance of misleading data.

This is why multiple regression includes extra right-side variables; however, while multiple regression gives results that are not biased regarding impact size, it will not be giving a numerical value for the amount of relationship between two variables of interest.

The partial correlation has a value between –1 and 1. The value –1 denotes an ideal negative correlation controlling for specific variables, the value 1 denotes a perfect positive linear relationship; and the value 0 denotes the absence of a linear relationship.

Main Differences between Bivariate and Partial Correlation

  1. A bivariate correlation determines whether two variables are connected or not. Partial correlation, on the other hand, is used to quantify the relationship after correcting for other variables.
  2. Bivariate correlation is the measurement or analysis of two variables. However, partial correlation assesses the degree to which additional factors are present.
  3. Variables such as X and Y are frequently used in bivariate correlation. Partial correlation involves the use of random variables, such as X and Y, X and Z, or Y and Z.
  4. Symbol for Bivariate correlation is Pearson’s ‘r’ (R), and for partial correlation, it is ‘rYX.W’.
  5. Bivariate correlation is used to calculate the correlation coefficient, which provides the degree of a link between two linear variables. After adjusting for one or more variables, partial correlation is used to get correlation coefficients.


Correlations are classified into two types in statistics: bivariate correlation and partial correlation. The topic of correlation deals with the link between two variables.

The variables are interdependent. Thus, bivariate correlation and partial correlation are evaluating techniques that are in some way based on variables.

The term “bivariate correlation” deals with the investigation of two variables, and its main purpose is to find the empirical link between them.

The partial correlation, on the other hand, assesses the amount of correlation between random variables after removing the influence of a set of controlling factors.


  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jrsm.1126
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1207/s15327906mbr3803_02
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