Chapter two deals with Research methods. When working with a hypothesis, data from research is collected and the findings are applied to the theory. There are many ways to conduct an experiment but “all scientific research involves the manipulation and or measurement of certain variables”. It is important therefore, to understand what a variable is and how to manipulate or measure it in order to get usable results.
A variable is a “characteristic of a person place or thing” that is possible to change over time or circumstance. The book cites marital status as an example of a variable since there is a possibility for change. Over time, a person may go from single to married or perhaps from married to divorced.
“Two types of variables are particularly important in setting up an experiment.” An independent variable is autonomous, meaning it is not affected by the other variables in an experiment. It is the variable that we have control over and we are most often able to manipulate it in order to create different results. A dependent variable is left alone in order to view its reactions to the change in the independent variable. The book wants us to remember this by thinking that “changes in the dependent variable are dependent upon changes in the independent variable.” In an experiment, the dependent variable is what is being measured.
Hypothesis: Studying results in good grades.
To conduct the experiment the person would manipulate the independent variable (time spent studying) and measure the dependent variable (grades) in order to see if the hypothesis was plausible.
Try out this fun Worksheet to see if you understand the terms independent variable and dependent variable!