Types of Variables in Research

Researchers and statisticians make use of different types of variables in research to describe and measure the items, people, ideas, or places that they are studying. Different types of variables in research exist, and there must be a way to choose the right variable for them to measure when it comes to designing such studies, interpreting results, or selecting tests. A better understanding of variables can lead to greater accurate statistical analyses and results.

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  • Independent Variables – An independent study variable can be defined as a singular characteristic that the other variables in an experiment simply cannot change. For example, age is an example of an independent variable, since the place where someone lives, what they eat & how much they exercise are not directly changed depending on their age.
  • Dependent Variables – A dependent variable, as the name suggests, depends on and can hence be changed by other components. A grade on an exam is an example of a dependent variable since it depends on factors such as how much sleep the person got and how long they studied.
  • Intervening Variables – An intervening variable, also known as a mediator variable, is a theoretical variable the researcher makes use of to explain a cause or connection between other variables – generally dependent and independent ones. 
  • Moderating Variable – A moderating or moderator variable is used when the relationship between dependent and independent variables is required to strengthen or weaken the intervening variable’s effect.
  • Control Variable – Control or controlling variables are those that are constant and do not change within the scope of a study. They do not have an effect on other variables.

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