What is the difference between independent and dependent variables?

Variables are concepts or theoretical ideas that can be described in measurable terms. A variable is a term that describes the qualities, characteristics, and attributes of an object or situation.

Variables are further sub-divided into independent and dependent variables. These variables have some close similarities but they are different.

**The main difference between independent and dependent variables is that the former is a variable that stands alone and not influenced by other variables whereas the latter is a variable that depends on others. **

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## Comparison Table (Independent vs Dependent Variables)

Basic Terms |
Independent Variables |
Dependent Variables |

Meaning | It is a variable that does not depend on others but the variation is affected by the researcher’s experiment. | It is a variable that depends on the variation of others usually independent variable. |

Alternative Name | Predictors or regressors | Predicted variable |

Example | The cost of living is influenced by age, marital status, and salary. | The degree of a learner is influenced by CGPA and rating scale. |

Uses | Used to determine the values of dependent variables | Used to provide a conclusion of an experiment. |

Denoted by | X | Y |

Graph | Plotted on the X-axis | Plotted on the Y-axis |

Dependence | Do not depend on other variables | Depend on independent variables |

Changes Caused by | Changes are brought about by the researcher. | Changes are brought about by independent variables |

Cause-Effect | Result in the cause of an experiment | Make up the effect of an experiment |

Existence | Can exist without dependent variables | Cannot exist without independent variables |

Advantages | Do not involve complex mathematical procedures. | Cannot be manipulated by a researcher |

Disadvantages | Can be manipulated by the researcher | Can be solved using complex mathematical procedures |

Formula | Variables are obtained by respondents | Variables are obtained from the predefined formula. |

## What Is an Independent Variable?

It is a type of variable used in mathematical modeling, statistical modeling, and experimental science. But this variable does not depend on other variables in the scope of the experiment.

The variable can be manipulated by the researcher in an experiment and causes changes in a dependent variable. The Independent variable is denoted as X in a mathematical equation.

Independent variables are also known as manipulated variables, explanatory variables, and controlled variables. These variables are normally plotted on the X-axis.

These variables help to determine the dependent variables in an experiment. Independent variables also help to determine the possible effect of other dependent variables.

Examples of independent variables include:

- Revision time (which is measured in hours)
- Intelligence (which is measured using IQ score)

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## What Is a Dependent Variable?

It is a type of variable which depends on other variables in the scope of an experiment. These variables are used in mathematical modeling, statistical modeling, and experimental science.

These variables cannot be manipulated by researchers since their changes are brought about by independent variables.

Dependent variables are denoted as Y in a mathematical equation. These variables are plotted on the Y-axis of a graph.

Dependent variables are also known as measurable variables, explained variables, and responding variables. The values of these variables are determined under a hypothesis.

Most experiments in determining dependent variables involve observation of the changes or variations. The effect of these variables forms the basis of the experiment.

Examples of dependent variables include:

- Higher Income
- Employees motivation
- Tests marks

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## Main Difference between Independent and Dependent Variables

- An independent variable value is not dependent on other variables but the researcher whereas a dependent variable value depends on another variable.
- An Independent variable is a presumed cause whereas a dependent variable is a presumed effect.
- Independent variable change affects dependent variable whereas a change in a dependent variable will not affect the independent variable.
- Independent variables are predictors and regressors whereas dependent variables are predictable variables.
- Independent variables can be obtained with ease whereas dependent variables can be obtained with complex mathematical equations.
- Independent variables are plotted on X-axis whereas dependent variables are plotted on Y-axis.

## Similarities between Independent and Dependent Variables

- Both values of independent and dependent variables tend to vary.
- Both variables are used alongside each other.
- Both have multiple variations
- Both are used together to solve research problems

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## In Conclusion

Variables are important during scientific experiments. These variables help to tell the cause and effect of something at the end of the research.

The researcher needs to have a proper understanding of dependent and independent variables to carry out research successfully.

We hope the differences and similarities listed in this article will be helpful. The main difference between independent and dependent variables is the dependency of the values.

**More Sources and References**

- https://www.simplypsychology.org/controlled-experiment.html
- https://simplicable.com/new/experiment-variables
- http://www.opentextbooks.org.hk/ditatopic/35412
- https://explorable.com/dependent-variable