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What is a web of causation model?

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A web of causation model is a diagram that is created to link causes and effects. This is used most often to link the causes of illnesses and diseases. For example, a web of causation model for a person who contracted measles would include things like places where the person may have contracted this disease, whether or not the person has received a measles vaccine and any health factors that make the person prone to contracting measles, such as an immune deficiency disease.

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Web of causation models are especially helpful for finding the causes of genetic diseases. When the cause is determined, medical professionals learn more about which groups of people are prone to developing or contracting a certain disease.

Some web of causation models are as simple as linking three points, but other models, called multiple causation models, contain complex links between many possible factors. As research is completed, causes are either eliminated or proven, and the diagram becomes smaller.

Another use for a web of causation model is to organize research and sort data. Placing causes and effects in order, such as listing the effects of war on society, helps a researcher or student prepare for writing an essay.

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