Definition of Independent Variable
Example of Independent Variable
- To determine the relationship between age and yearly income, age is the independent variable and yearly income is the dependent variable, because an individual’s income cannot change their age but their age can change their income. For example, a 12-year old typically has a lower yearly income than a 30-year old.
Independent Variable Pronunciation
Syllabification: in·de·pen·dent var·i·a·ble
- American English – /in-duh-pEn-duhnt vAIR-ee-uh-buhl/
- British English – /in-di-pEn-duhnt vEUH-riuh-buhl/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /ˌɪndɪˈpɛndənt ˈvɛriəbəl/
- British English – /ˌɪndɪˈpɛndənt ˈveərɪəbl/
- 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
- Quantitative Research Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “independent” and “variable” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- control group
- dependent variable
- descriptive statistics
- empirical evidence
- inferential statistics
- spurious correlation
Contributor: C. E. Seaman
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ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Seaman, C. E. 2015. “independent variable.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary, edited by Kenton Bell. Retrieved September 29, 2023 (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 29, 2023. 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. 29 Sep. 2023. <https://sociologydictionary.org/independent-variable/>.