The higher the content validity, the more accurate the measurement of the construct. Content validity shows you how accurately a test or other measurement method taps  into the various aspects of the specific construct you are researching. Differential attrition occurs when attrition or dropout rates differ systematically between the intervention and the control group. As a result, the characteristics of the participants who drop out differ from the characteristics of those who stay in the study.

  • Independent variables have distinctive characteristics that make them stand out.
  • This type of hypothesis is constructed to state the independent variable followed by the predicted impact on the dependent variable.
  • My experience spans many industries, including health and wellness, technology, education, business, and lifestyle.
  • Detecting and controlling these hidden elements helps researchers ensure the accuracy of their findings and reach true conclusions.
  • Inductive reasoning takes you from the specific to the general, while in deductive reasoning, you make inferences by going from general premises to specific conclusions.
  • CharacteristicsIdentifying an independent variable in the vast landscape of research can seem daunting, but fear not!

Therefore, this type of research is often one of the first stages in the research process, serving as a jumping-off point for future research. You can use exploratory research if you have a general idea or a specific question that you want to study but there is no preexisting knowledge or paradigm with which to study it. The United Nations, the European Union, and many individual accrual accounting & prepayments nations use peer review to evaluate grant applications. It is also widely used in medical and health-related fields as a teaching or quality-of-care measure. Inductive reasoning is a method of drawing conclusions by going from the specific to the general. It’s usually contrasted with deductive reasoning, where you proceed from general information to specific conclusions.

Can the same variable be independent in one study and dependent in another?

Here, the independent variable is the presence or absence of the fertilizer, whereas the dependent variable is the height of the plant or rate of growth. A dependent variable is the one which we can test in a scientific experiment, in order to get its values. The dependent variable is obviously ‘dependent’ on the independent variable. Understanding the three basic kinds of experimental variables which are dependent, independent and controlled variables will help make the experiment a success. This type of hypothesis is constructed to state the independent variable followed by the predicted impact on the dependent variable. How Independent Variables Lead the WayIn the scientific method, the independent variable is like the captain of a ship, leading everyone through unknown waters.

  • Random error is a chance difference between the observed and true values of something (e.g., a researcher misreading a weighing scale records an incorrect measurement).
  • When a test has strong face validity, anyone would agree that the test’s questions appear to measure what they are intended to measure.
  • In contrast, random assignment is a way of sorting the sample into control and experimental groups.
  • Independent and dependent variables aren’t always easily distinguished by their labels.

By exploring different possibilities and wondering how changing one thing could affect another, you’re on your way to identifying independent variables. Figuring Out RelationshipsAfter the experimenting is done, it’s time for scientists to crack the code! They use statistics to understand how the independent and dependent variables are related and to uncover the hidden stories in the data. These variables can blur the relationship between the independent and dependent variables, making the results of the study a bit puzzly. Detecting and controlling these hidden elements helps researchers ensure the accuracy of their findings and reach true conclusions. An independent variable is a condition or factor that researchers manipulate to observe its effect on another variable, known as the dependent variable.

Graphing the Independent Variable

It defines your overall approach and determines how you will collect and analyze data. Data cleaning involves spotting and resolving potential data inconsistencies or errors to improve your data quality. An error is any value (e.g., recorded weight) that doesn’t reflect the true value (e.g., actual weight) of something that’s being measured. After data collection, you can use data standardization and data transformation to clean your data. Dirty data can come from any part of the research process, including poor research design, inappropriate measurement materials, or flawed data entry. Peer review can stop obviously problematic, falsified, or otherwise untrustworthy research from being published.

Independent and dependent variables are generally used in experimental and quasi-experimental research. You can also apply multiple levels to find out how the independent variable affects the dependent variable. Experimenters have to be careful about how they determine the validity of their findings, which is why they use statistics. In Different Types of ResearchThe world of research is diverse and varied, and the independent variable dons many guises! In the field of medicine, it might manifest as the dosage of a drug administered to patients.

Example of an Independent and Dependent Variable

Understanding variables is essential as they form the core of every scientific experiment and observational study. The story of the independent variable begins with a quest for knowledge, a journey taken by thinkers and tinkerers who wanted to explain the wonders and strangeness of the world. When we create a graph, the independent variable will go on the x-axis and the dependent variable will go on the y-axis. The role of a variable as independent or dependent can vary depending on the research question and study design. Yes, it is possible to have more than one independent or dependent variable in a study.

A true experiment requires you to randomly assign different levels of an independent variable to your participants. CharacteristicsIdentifying an independent variable in the vast landscape of research can seem daunting, but fear not! Independent variables have distinctive characteristics that make them stand out. Ethical considerations related to independent and dependent variables involve treating participants fairly and protecting their rights. In this example, the type of information is the independent variable (because it changes), and the amount of information remembered is the dependent variable (because this is being measured).


Longitudinal studies and cross-sectional studies are two different types of research design. In a cross-sectional study you collect data from a population at a specific point in time; in a longitudinal study you repeatedly collect data from the same sample over an extended period of time. However, it provides less statistical certainty than other methods, such as simple random sampling, because it is difficult to ensure that your clusters properly represent the population as a whole. Random assignment is used in experiments with a between-groups or independent measures design.

Before collecting data, it’s important to consider how you will operationalize the variables that you want to measure. An experimental group, also known as a treatment group, receives the treatment whose effect researchers wish to study, whereas a control group does not. Blinding is important to reduce research bias (e.g., observer bias, demand characteristics) and ensure a study’s internal validity. A quasi-experiment is a type of research design that attempts to establish a cause-and-effect relationship. The main difference with a true experiment is that the groups are not randomly assigned.

Independent vs. Dependent Variables Definition & Examples

For example, something might be either present or not present during an experiment. Internal validity is the extent to which you can be confident that a cause-and-effect relationship established in a study cannot be explained by other factors. The 1970 British Cohort Study, which has collected data on the lives of 17,000 Brits since their births in 1970, is one well-known example of a longitudinal study.

Sometimes, even if their influence is not of direct interest, independent variables may be included for other reasons, such as to account for their potential confounding effect. The most common type of dependent variable is a measured variable, which researchers discover instead of manipulated like independent variables. In experiments, you have to test one independent variable at a time in order to accurately understand how it impacts the dependent variable. In experiments, even if measured time isn’t the variable, it may relate to duration or intensity. If a control variable changes during the experiment, it may invalidate the correlation between the dependent and independent variables.

In other cases, multiple levels of the IV may be used to look at the range of effects that the variable may have. For example, a scientist wants to see if the brightness of light has any effect on a moth being attracted to the light. How the moth reacts to the different light levels (distance to light source) would be the dependent variable. A confounding variable is related to both the supposed cause and the supposed effect of the study. It can be difficult to separate the true effect of the independent variable from the effect of the confounding variable.

An operational definition describes exactly what the independent variable is and how it is measured. Doing this helps ensure that the experiments know exactly what they are looking at or manipulating, allowing them to measure it and determine if it is the IV that is causing changes in the DV. For another experiment, a scientist wants to determine whether one drug is more effective than another at controlling high blood pressure.

If we didn’t do this, it would be very difficult (if not impossible) to compare the findings of different studies to the same behavior. In another example, the hypothesis “Young participants will have significantly better memories than older participants” is not operationalized. “Participants aged between 16 – 30 will recall significantly more nouns from a list of twenty than participants aged between 55 – 70” is operationalized. Our vetted tutor database includes a range of experienced educators who can help you polish an essay for English or explain how derivatives work for Calculus. You can use dozens of filters and search criteria to find the perfect person for your needs. This doesn’t really make sense (unless you can’t sleep because you are worried you failed a test, but that would be a different experiment).

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