Dependent and Independent Variables | Overview & Examples

Academic and research works are tenacious studies that include specifics. Therefore, you will come across various terms and phrases that you need to keep in mind while working around. Naturally, it can get overwhelming. However, once you understand the concept, the overall process becomes very easy to work with. This article will focus on dependent and independent variables and discuss what they are, how to determine dependent and independent variables and their uses in academic writing.


Dependent and Independent Variables | Overview & Examples

This brief guide discusses the dependent and independent variables of a research paper. To give you an opportunity to practice proofreading, we have left a few spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors in the text. See if you can spot them! If you spot the errors correctly, you will be entitled to a 10% discount.

Academic and research works are tenacious studies that include specifics. Therefore, you will come across various terms and phrases that you need to keep in mind while working around. Naturally, it can get overwhelming. However, once you understand the concept, the overall process becomes very easy to work with. In this context, we will focus on dependent and independent variables. In this article, we will discuss what they are, how to determine dependent and independent variables and their uses in academic writing.

Dependent and independent variables

To understand dependent and independent variables well, you should understand the nature of research first. Research, especially scientific ones, mostly includes studying the consequences of one variable over another. Now, what exactly are these variables? These are simply factors that can have any given value.

In academic studies, these variables come together in the form of a cause-and-effect relationship, called dependent and independent variables. Dependent variables act as the effect in this relationship, and they vary heavily in the changes in the independent variable. The independent variable, on the other hand, is the cause, and its cause does not depend on other variables.

Together, these variables become the base of a study or research. In a basic concept, the independent variable of a study is the cause. Its value is independent of other variables in the study. However, the dependent variable of a study is the effect, which means, its value depends on changes in the independent variable.

Dependent and independent variables

How to determine dependent and independent variables

In research, determining the different variables can be confusing, especially if it is your first time. However, with time and understanding, it will be easier to determine them immediately.

Think of it in this way— the variable that you need to tinker with is the independent variable. The variable that changes because of the tinkering of the other variable is the dependent variable. That is why, in experimental research, you need to make changes to the independent variable to see the impact on the dependent variable.

Here are some examples for dependent and independent variables:

Research Question

Independent Variable(s)          

Dependent Variable(s)

Are elementary students more successful in online or face-to-face education?

The type of education

· Online education

· Face-to-face education

Elementary students’ success rates

What is the effect of burnout and job-related stress on district managers’ health-related quality of life?

· Burnout

· Job-related stress

District managers’ health-related quality of life

The third variable

Speaking of experimental research, there is another variable— the control variable. Unlike dependent or independent variables, this third type of variable is purposely controlled. That is, they are limited or made constant. The main reason behind this is because otherwise, they may affect the experiment. For example, you want to find out the effect of different fertilizers on the plant. Here, your controlled variable would be the amount of light and water received by the plant. The dependent factor would be the effect on the plant, and the independent factor would be the fertilizers. If you do not control these factors, your dependent factor may vary, thus disrupting your experiment.


By now, it is fairly clear that variables are an important part of the research. In fact, without variables, research would cease to exist. Therefore, understanding the various types of variables is important.

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Dependent and independent variables

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