You probably know by now that a variable can be any item that you would like to measure. It can be used for math; it can also be used for science. The variable can be any category that you possibly may think of. There are two types of variables that are available, namely the independent variable and the dependent variable.
The independent variable is a variable that will be able to have its own value without having to rely on anything else. It is able to stand alone and it will not be affected by all the other variables that you may be trying to measure alongside this variable. One example of an independent variable is age because you know that you can never change the year that you are born. Other factors that may be related to you like your hair, taste and clothing can change but your age will still remain the same and unchangeable no matter what you do.
A dependent variable is obviously different from the independent variable. The variable that is dependent should depend on other factors so that you can get its value. For instance, current weight can be a dependent variable because the weight that you have at present time can highly depend on the food that you have eaten over a certain period of time; the exercises that you did as well as the diet that you are currently following.
Even with all the details that are mentioned above, it is only natural that because you have only learned about the difference between independent variable and dependent ones just now, you are a bit confused with how you will be able to distinguish the two. In order to make things simpler, just think about this: the independent variable may be able to affect the dependent one while the dependent one will not be able to affect the independent variable. It is only the dependent variable that will be affected. Just imagine it like this, you know that age can become a factor affecting your current weight but your weight will not be able to affect your age.
If you focus on doing certain scenarios wherein you will try to understand which one is the independent variable and which one is the dependent variable, just think about the things that are mentioned above. It is highly likely that you will get to understand things better.
Most of the time, independent variable can be used for mathematics and statistics. For mathematics, the description mentioned for independent variable remains the same but for statistics; the independent variable is the variable that is changed intentionally to see how it can affect the other variables that are also part of the experiment. It is evident that whether in mathematics or statistics, the independent variable is able to affect all the other variables that are given.
It is evident that the independent variable is the centre of the experiment, without it, the whole experiment will be worthless and will not give the results that you are searching for. If in case you are going to do an experiment soon, you first have to know the difference between independent and dependent variable so that you will be able to formulate the type of scenario needed for the experiment that you are going to do.
If in case there is a change or an effect on the other dependent variables that are being measured in an experiment, it is safe to say that this is because of the manipulation of the independent variable. When doing an experiment, you have to figure out how exactly are you going to manipulate it and what are the changes that you would like to do. Remember that the performance and the effectiveness of the experiment will highly depend on the independent variable.
There are times when the term independent variable becomes confusing for people who have never tackled the subject in detail before. It was mentioned earlier that when it comes to statistics, it is an independent variable that is manipulated to see how it affects the other dependent variables yet some people assume that because it is ‘independent,’ it can never be affected and manipulated by various forms of experimentation.
It has been said that the independent variable has gotten its name mainly because this is a factor that is different from all the other variables. This is the one that can be different, hence its name. Usually, the use of independent variable allows people who are doing experimentation to get valid results.
If in case you are wondering at this point how independent variable has been used throughout history, you may need to know more about Mendel’s Pea Plant experiment. If in case you are wondering about the details of this experiment, you should know that the main goal is to know which characteristics of pea plants are passed on from one generation to another. The independent variable for this one or the one that cannot be changed is the innate characteristics of the pea plant. It is evident that colour is one of the characteristics that is passed on by plants to their future generations which makes this the perfect independent variable.
If the experiment was taken one step further and the independent variable which is the color of the plant will be manipulated; Say, for example, the color of the pea plant is yellow but it will be exposed to different factors that will make the color green, the color will be passed on to the future generations. This goes to show that it can be manipulated, but it will still be inherited. This makes it evident why this is the independent variable.
There are various experiments that have already been done wherein the independent variable has been manipulated. For example, there is one experiment called Bandura Bobo Doll experiment wherein children were exposed to passive or aggressive adults. The idea of exposing them to a passive or aggressive adult is the independent variable while one of the dependent variable is the scenarios that they will be exposed to. This type of experiment is actually controversial not only because of the independent variable used but also because it makes use of real people in the experiment. There are always some concerns about how their exposure to certain adults will change the personality of the children for good. The use of independent variable for this experiment is crucial in order to get to know the results.
The thing about performing experiments is that they are often complicated. For instance, the independent variable must be successfully isolated from the rest of the variables and pre-determined even before the experiment starts. It will also depend on the type of experiment that you want to do. Are you going to do a simple scientific experiment wherein you can easily make time your independent variable and the rest of the factors your dependent variables or do you plan on doing a social experiment wherein you have to make more effort in knowing how you can establish and figure out the real independent variable?
Based on the details that are mentioned above not only about independent variable but also all the other concepts that are related to it, do you think that you have learned enough to truly understand it? Hopefully, the information you have gained will be enough for you to know how you can make the independent variable work well for the type of experiment that you have in mind.