Variables in Research – Definition, Types

Variables in Research

Variables in Research


In Research, A Variable is defined as a characteristic, number, or quantity that may assume different values. The values that a variable takes on can be determined by the researcher and can be either measured or not measured

Types of Variables in Research

Following are types of variables in Research:

  • Independent variables
  • Dependent variables
  • Intervening variables
  • Moderating variables
  • Control variables
  • Extraneous variables
  • Quantitative variables
  • Qualitative variables
  • Confounding variables
  • Composite variables

Independent variables

An independent variable is a variable that is not influenced by any other variables in an experiment. It is the variable that the experimenter changes to test its effects on the dependent variable. In other words, the independent variable is the cause, while the dependent variable is the effect.

Dependent variables

A dependent variable is a variable that is being affected by an independent variable. In an experiment, the dependent variable is the variable that is being measured or observed. The dependent variable responds to the independent variable. It is also known as the outcome variable.

Intervening variables

An intervening variable is a third variable that affects the relationship between an independent and dependent variable. In other words, it is a variable that “intervenes” or comes between the two main variables.

Moderating variables

In social science research, a moderator is an independent variable that affects the strength and direction of the relationship between two other variables, known as the dependent variable and the independent variable.

Control variables

A control variable is a variable that is held constant in an experiment. The purpose of a control variable is to isolate the effect of the independent variable on the dependent variable. Without a control variable, it would be impossible to know whether the change in the dependent variable was due to the independent variable or some other factor.

Extraneous variables

An extraneous variable is a factor that can influence the results of an experiment without being one of the variables that the experiment is designed to test. In other words, it’s a variable that wasn’t accounted for in the experimental design. Extraneous variables can produce confounding results, which means they can make it difficult to interpret the data from an experiment.

Quantitative variables

Quantitative variables are those that can be expressed in terms of a quantity. They can be either discrete or continuous.

  • Discrete quantitative variables are those that can only take on certain values, such as whole numbers.
  • Continuous quantitative variables are those that can take on any value within a certain range.

Qualitative variables

Qualitative variables are those that can be observed and recorded but cannot be measured. The most common type of qualitative data is categorical, which can be further divided into nominal and ordinal data.

Nominal data is where there is no order to the categories, while ordinal data has a specific order. Qualitative data can also be interval or ratio data, but this is less common.

Confounding variables

Confounding variables are extraneous variables in a statistical model that correlate with both the dependent and independent variables, thereby producing inaccurate results. These variables can skews the results of an experiment or study, making it difficult to determine causal relationships.

Composite variables

A composite variable is a type of variable that combines two or more other variables to create a new, distinct variable. Composite variables are often used in research to measure complex phenomena that cannot be adequately captured by a single variable.

Purpose of Variables in Research

Variables are an important part of any research study. They allow researchers to control for different factors that could affect the outcome of the study. Without variables, it would be difficult to isolate the specific causal effect of one factor on another.

Variables are an essential part of any research study. They allow researchers to control for different factors and isolate specific causal effects. Different types of variables can be used depending on the nature of the research question. Using proper control measures is essential to ensuring validity and reliability in research studies.

About the author

Muhammad Hassan

I am Muhammad Hassan, a Researcher, Academic Writer, Web Developer, and Android App Developer. I have worked in various industries and have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience. In my spare time, I enjoy writing blog posts and articles on a variety of Academic topics. I also like to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in the IT industry to share my knowledge with others through my writing.