All about Business and management

March 16, 2008

The Research process: an independent and dependent variables

Filed under: Business management — Jagdish Hiray @ 9:26 pm
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        Research is the foundation of any science, including both hard sciences such as physics, chemistry and the social sciences such as psychology, management and education. The steps and process involved in the research can vary depending on the type of research being done and the hypothesis being tested. Research methods such as Naturalistic observation and surveys are often less structured, where as experimental methods are more structured. Depending upon what is observed or experienced, new theories are developed. There are aspects of a theory or aspects of a study that can change or vary as part of interaction within the theory, defined as variables. Variables are anything that can change of effect the results of a study. In an experimental method, the experiment is conducted by changing the value of one variable and measuring the changes in another variable while holding or assuming surroundings constant. There is no limit to the number of variables that can be measured, although the more variables, the more complex the study and the more complex the statistical analysis.

        Every experiment has at least two types of variables: an independent and dependent. An independent variable is the variable that the researchers systematically manipulate in the experiment. An independent variable is measured, manipulated, or selected by the experimenter to determine its relationship to an observed phenomenon. This might be a variable that you control, like a treatment, or a variable not under your control, like an exposure. It also might represent a demographic factor like age or gender. While the independent variable is often manipulated by the researcher, it can also be a classification where subjects are assigned to groups. In a study where one variable causes the other, the independent variable is the cause. In a study where groups are being compared, the independent variable is the group classification. In a research to demonstrate the increasing alcohol consumption during pregnancy actually causes a reduction in birth weight, researchers randomly assigned 50 pregnant rat either to an experimental group or to a control group. The 25 rats in the experimental group had bottles filled in with mixture of pure water and alcohol, 25 rats in the control group had bottles with water. Other than this, researchers treated all rats as much alike as possible. Aim was to have the two groups differ systematically along only one variable: alcohol versus pure water. This is independent variable; idea was to manipulate this variable independently of other factors such as diet that might affect pregnancy. In this example, birth weight is the dependent variable that is it represents the outcome that we measure, an outcome that is dependent on the manipulation of the independent variable. With experiments, then, researchers systematically manipulate the independent variable to determine if it causes a difference in the dependent variable. There are three ways to manipulate independent variables: presence or absence technique, amount technique and type technique. In presence or absence technique, the independent variable can be manipulated can be manipulated by presenting a condition or treatment to one group of individuals and withholding the condition or treatment from another group of individuals. In amount technique, the independent variable can be manipulated by varying the amount of a condition or variable such as the amount of a drug which is given to children within a learning disorder. In type technique, the independent variable is to vary the type of the condition or treatment administered.  

        In an experiment, a dependent variable is the factor which is observed and measured to determine the effect of the independent variable, that is, that factor that appears, disappears, or varies as the experimenter introduces, removes, or varies the independent variable. The dependent variable is the participant’s response. The dependent variable is the outcome of experiment. In an experiment, it may be what was caused of what changed as a result of the study, in a comparison of groups; it is what they differ on. In research study on rats, described in previous paragraph, the experimental group is exposed to alcohol, and the control group is not. If we observe that the rat pups in the groups differ reliably in birth weight, and then we can conclude alcohol exposure caused this difference. In this example birth weight is a dependent variable.




        In an experiment, the independent variable is the variable that is varied or manipulated by the researcher, and the dependent variable is the response that is measured. An independent variable is the presumed cause, whereas the dependent variable is the presumed effect. The independent variable is the antecedent, whereas the dependent variable is the consequent. In experiments, the independent variable is the variable that is controlled and manipulated by the experimenter; whereas the dependent variable is not manipulated, instead the dependent variable is observed or measured for variation as a presumed result of the variation in the dependent variable. Dependent variables can be influence by controlled variables.



  1. Useful blog.

    Comment by Comprar Tadalafil — August 4, 2008 @ 2:48 am | Reply

  2. Wow! Thank you very much for this explanation. You know, I’ve been searching many times but unfortunately I found only vague explanation until I found this website which really provided me a good and simple to understand of what is independent and dependent variables. Thanks!

    Comment by Romel Sambo — August 21, 2008 @ 4:53 pm | Reply

  3. Amazing thank you!!! I was almost committing suicide for my paper but u saved me kind of hahaha maybe you would like to write my paper?? 🙂

    Comment by Michelle — June 15, 2009 @ 9:59 am | Reply

  4. Awesome…. others website contented crab information which unable to made me understand except this website.

    Comment by Andrius — August 18, 2009 @ 1:20 pm | Reply

  5. Iam facing terrible contradictions in understanding moderating and interveening variables in the theoretical frame work. Please send me the materials to clear the air.

    Comment by Alpha Exaud Mtui — August 26, 2009 @ 10:22 pm | Reply

  6. More examples would be appreciated

    Comment by yasser — October 12, 2009 @ 5:02 am | Reply

  7. Thanks, I am understanding this project more better.

    Comment by Paris Gordon — November 14, 2009 @ 5:21 pm | Reply

  8. Interesting blogpost, I did not thought reading this would be so cool when I saw your title!!

    Comment by Unfiptanarp — December 11, 2009 @ 1:32 pm | Reply

  9. BUndle of thanx for such an easy and clear defination.I was confused reading those”hard to digest kind of definations of Dependent independent variable”

    Comment by Fatima — May 20, 2010 @ 9:49 pm | Reply

  10. in a study of ‘occupational therapy effectiveness in management of patients with burns adimmited at Kisii level Five hospital’to meet their occupational performance challenges, what can i call independent and dependent variables respe4ctively. please assist me.

    Comment by Geoffrey moriasi — September 21, 2010 @ 12:56 am | Reply

  11. Hi!!!!!!!!!! thanks for ur detailed , exemplified edplanation. It was really helpful for me to understand the term in my research work

    Comment by Kausalya — October 14, 2010 @ 3:35 am | Reply

  12. Thank you! this was great!

    Comment by ericka — January 13, 2011 @ 8:21 pm | Reply

  13. thank u very much now i came to know what is dependent and independent variables are…………….

    Comment by hari — January 17, 2011 @ 6:48 am | Reply

  14. please i am an healh education student,but i want you to send to me some health research topics showing the dependent and independent variables through my e-mail address” in anticipation.

    Comment by KOMOLAFE TOSIN ISRAEL — January 24, 2011 @ 3:17 am | Reply

  15. Thank you this is so explicit.

    Comment by Patience Ugbo — March 28, 2011 @ 10:54 am | Reply

  16. pls help me with this question. What is the significance of varriable in a research process.

    Comment by GIFT — May 11, 2011 @ 2:13 am | Reply

  17. what is the significance of variable in research process

    Comment by GIFT — May 11, 2011 @ 2:15 am | Reply

  18. Hi there…anyone can help me as im confuse..My topic is Improving Corporate Governance : A Battle between Cultural Presevation and Emplyee wats my independable and dependable variable?

    Comment by sham — June 28, 2011 @ 1:00 am | Reply

  19. This was very useful. I am taking a Nursing Research class and have to do a presentation on independent and dependent variables. The book we are given is vague and does not go in details so I furthered my research and found this site. It broke the differences down and provided good examples. Thank you for this information! It’s been very helpful!

    Comment by Camille — September 9, 2011 @ 1:55 pm | Reply

  20. relevance of independent and dependent variable in a reseaech

    Comment by kwaku kankam — November 28, 2011 @ 11:14 am | Reply

  21. Awesome blog article.Really thank you! Really Cool.

    Comment by Harry Riordan — January 14, 2012 @ 11:32 pm | Reply

  22. i have seen all of these variables its very good effort but the thing is that plz identify the relationship of dependent and independent variables

    Comment by matiullah — January 30, 2012 @ 6:27 pm | Reply

  23. can you tell me how can I recognize obvious solution and real solution? I am facing horrible difficulties while selecting my research topic for my research methodology course.

    Comment by baloch — January 31, 2012 @ 11:53 am | Reply

  24. it is a simplified way of explaining the differences between independent and dependent variables.thanks alot, it has really helped.

    Comment by kakunda kawilila — March 30, 2012 @ 1:28 am | Reply

  25. Thanx a lot for your explanations, they are very interesting a lot!

    Comment by Gisella Bajumuzi — April 5, 2012 @ 3:47 am | Reply

  26. thanks much.. deeply appreciated.

    Comment by jamjam — April 21, 2012 @ 11:47 pm | Reply

  27. thanks, what a great explanation and exambles. kindly recheck paragraph two sentence two, i thinks it refers to dependent variables there. the rest it is the easiest and the best explanation that i ever came across.

    Comment by tjivekumba — June 30, 2012 @ 12:57 am | Reply

  28. thanks for your good elaboration on dependent and independent variables.B UT please send me separately the significance/importance of these variables.send in my e-mail, .THANKS.

    Comment by BARONGO — June 30, 2012 @ 4:19 am | Reply

  29. Thank you ever so much for the explanation, you made my work easy

    Comment by Stella — July 22, 2012 @ 3:32 pm | Reply


    Comment by brian — August 8, 2012 @ 6:23 pm | Reply

  31. Great indeed. Only I would have appreciated examples in survey type research. Could you please….

    Comment by Okoye Festus — September 16, 2012 @ 8:07 am | Reply

  32. Thanks so much for your clear -cut definition on how I should interpret this info Great Job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Tempie — September 19, 2012 @ 12:45 pm | Reply

  33. Thanks so much it helps me a lot today with my psychology homework!!!!!

    Comment by Jaime Camacho — January 18, 2013 @ 12:39 am | Reply

  34. Pretty nice post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that
    I enjoy reading about the research process
    and how to apply it to business. Keep up the good posts!

    Comment by traits of successful people — May 12, 2013 @ 11:26 am | Reply

    • Thank you.

      Comment by Jagdish Hiray — May 24, 2013 @ 7:40 pm | Reply

  35. It was very helpful. thanks

    Comment by Anees — January 6, 2016 @ 11:44 am | Reply

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