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independent variable

Definition of Independent Variable

(noun) In statistical analysis, the variable that is changed in an experiment.

Example of Independent Variable

Independent Variable Pronunciation

  • Syllabification: (in·de·pen·dent var·i·a·ble)

Usage Notes

  • Plural: independent variables
  • In a mathematical equation, the independent variable is typically represented by the letter “X.”
  • Sociologists typically cannot manipulate the independent variable because of ethical concerns and rely on variations that occur naturally.
  • Also called:
    • causal variable
    • experimental variable
    • explanatory variable
    • predictor variable

Additional Information

Related Terms

Contributor: C. E. Seaman


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Cite the Definition of Independent Variable

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Seaman, C. E. 2015. “independent variable.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary, edited by Kenton Bell. Retrieved September 22, 2019 (https://sociologydictionary.org/independent-variable/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

Seaman, C. E. (2015). independent variable. In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/independent-variable/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Seaman, C. E. 2015. “independent variable.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary, edited by Kenton Bell. Accessed September 22, 2019. https://sociologydictionary.org/independent-variable/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

Seaman, C. E. “independent variable.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2015. Web. 22 Sep. 2019. <https://sociologydictionary.org/independent-variable/>.