Independent or Dependent Variables
Independent or Dependent Variables
In research, a variable refers to any characteristic or quality that has two or more possible outcomes. An independent variable is the one that is stable and is usually not affected by the other factors being measured. On the other hand, a dependent variable is the one that is dependent on the other factors and is usually affected by the factors being measured. Therefore in short, the independent variables cannot be controlled or changed while in dependent variables, the values can be controlled and changed.The following are examples with both the independent and dependent variables(Leatham, 2012).
Suppose one summer morning you go to supermarket and buy two cartons of identical ice cream each 5kg. Then, on arriving home, you put one carton in the refrigerator and forget to put the other carton in the refrigerator but at the back of your mind you forget to do so. After that, you decide to take a few minutes’ walk from the house to some place. On coming back, you find that the hose is in a soapy mess and it clicks into your mind that you forgot to put the first carton in the refrigerator. On checking, you find the carton that was placed in the refrigerator looks just the same way it looked during the time of purchase. There are two things which vary in this situation. The first thing is temperature in which the ice cream was stored which is the independent variable. The second one is the consistency of the ice cream which is dependent on the temperature and therefore, it is the dependent variable.
The following are five problems whereby both the independent and dependent variables will be illustrated. In the first situation, we will examine the possible effects of the regular physical exercise on the health and the longevity of the laboratory rates. In this situation, the rates and the longevity of the laboratory rates are the dependent variables because they depend on the physical exercise, while the physical exercise is the independent variable since it is not affected by the rates and the longevity of the laboratory rates.
In the second situation, I will investigate the extent to which placing the recycle bins in the convenient places in the classroom buildings affects the students recycling behavior. In this situation, the recycling behavior of the students depends on the extent to which the recycle bins are placed at the classroom buildings and therefore it is the dependent variable while the extent of placing the recycle bins outside the classroom buildings is the independent variable since it is not affected by the recycling behavior at all(Orme, & Combs-Orme, 2009).
In the third situation, I will examine the relationship between the amount of cell phone use while driving and the frequency of car accidents. In this situation, the frequency of the car accidents is determined by the amount of cell phone use during the process of driving and therefore it is the dependent variable. This is because, if more cell phone calls are made during the driving process are made, then more accidents are realized while if minimal or no calls are made during the driving period, then minimal or no accidents are realized. On the other hand, the cell phone calls made are the independent variables since they are not affected by the number of accidents made.
In the fourth situation, I will examine the extent to which a supportive student-teacher relationship reduces the negative emotional impact of bullying on a child emotional well-being. In this situation, the child’s emotional well-being is determined by the extent of the student-teacher relationship such that, if the student-teacher relationship is good, then the bullying impact reduces and the child’s emotional well-being is also good. But, if the student-teacher relationship is bad, then the bullying impacts increases and affects the child’s well-being negatively and therefore, it is the dependent variable. On the other hand, the student-teacher relationship is the independent variable since it is not affected by the negative emotional impact of bullying on a child’s emotional well-being.
In the fifth situation, I will examine the degree in which the set of anxiety may influence the set of performance increasing the frequency of the distracting thoughts. In this situation, the performance and the distracting thoughts are affected by the degree of anxiety such that, if the anxiety increased, the performance increases and the distracting thoughts decrease while if the anxiety reduces, the performance also reduces and the distracting thoughts increases. Therefore, the set of performance and the frequency of the distracting thoughts are the dependent variables while the degree of the set of anxiety is the independent variables since it is not influenced by the performance and the set of the distracting thoughts.
Leatham, K. (2012). Problems Identifying Independent and Dependent Variables. School Science and Mathematics, 112(6), 349-358.
Orme, J., & Combs-Orme, T. (2009). Multiple regression with discrete dependent variables (1st ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.