## Dependent Variable

**Definition:**

**A dependent variable is a variable that is being measured or tested in an experiment.** The dependent variable is the variable that is affected by the independent variable. The dependent variable is also known as the **outcome variable**.

### Dependent Variable in Research

In research, a dependent variable is a variable that is being affected by an independent variable. The independent variable is the one that is causing the change in the dependent variable. In order to study the effects of the independent variable on the dependent variable, researchers need to control all other variables. This is so they can be sure that it is only the independent variable that is causing any changes in the dependent variable.

Dependent variables can be measured in many ways. They can be observed, such as in experiments, or they can be measured through surveys and questionnaires. In some cases, researchers might use existing data sets to measure dependent variables.

### Dependent Variable in Psychology

In psychology, a dependent variable is a variable that represents the effect of an independent variable. The dependent variable is the outcome of interest, and the independent variable is the predictor. For example, in a study looking at how anxiety affects test performance, anxiety would be the independent variable and test performance would be the dependent variable. In this example, anxiety is manipulated by the researcher (independent variable) and test performance is measured (dependent variable).

### Example of Dependent Variable

An example of a dependent variable would be how much a plant grows in different types of soil. The type of soil would be the independent variable and the amount the plant grows would be the dependent variable.

### When to use Dependent Variable

The independent variable(s) are denoted by X and are the variables that are thought to influence the dependent variable. In order to understand when to use a dependent variable, it is important to understand what type of data you are working with and what your research objectives are.

If you are working with experimental data, then your dependent variable will be the outcome of interest that you are measuring. For example, if you are conducting a study on the effect of a new drug on blood pressure, then your dependent variable would be blood pressure. On the other hand, if you are working with observational data, then your dependent variable will be some characteristics or trait that you are interested in studying.

### Purpose of Dependent Variable

The purpose of the dependent variable is to show how the independent variable affects it. In other words, the dependent variable is the outcome of the experiment.

The purpose of a dependent variable is twofold: to be affected by an independent variable and to affect the results of an experiment. By its very definition, a dependent variable is at the mercy of an independent one. In an experiment, this means that changes to the independent variable directly influence changes to the dependent one. Secondly, a dependent variable affects results. This happens in two ways: by affecting other variables and by being affected by them.

#### Advantages of Dependent Variable

There are some advantages of using a dependent variable:

- By using a dependent variable, researchers can more accurately control for extraneous variables that might impact the results of the experiment.
- Dependent variables allow for more precise measurement of the effect of the independent variable on the outcome of interest.
- Using a dependent variable allows researchers to test for causality between the independent and dependent variables.
- Experiments with only one dependent variable are less likely to be confounded by other factors than experiments with multiple independent variables.
- Manipulating the level of the dependent variable allows researchers to explore how different levels of the independent variable impact the outcome of interest.

#### Limitations of Dependent Variable

There are some limitations that must be considered when using the dependent variable approach to research.

- Dependent variable is often confounded with other variables. This means that it is difficult to isolate the impact of the dependent variable on the outcome of interest.
- The dependent variable may not be representative of the population of interest. This can lead to biased results.
- It may be subject to measurement error. This can introduce error into the results and make them less reliable.