variable

1. (noun) A set of attributes or values.

2. (noun) Any characteristic, number, or quantity that can vary among a sample or population that can be measured.

3. (noun) The symbol like X or Y that represents a measurable characteristic.

Example: Ethnicity, occupation, political view

Audio Pronunciation: (var·i·able)

Download Audio Pronunciation: variable.mp3

Usage Notes:

  • Plural: variables
  • A variable must have at least two attributes.
  • A variable is contrasted with a constant, which is a characteristic or value that does not change.
  • The variables of ethnicity, occupation, political view correlate to the attributes or values of Native American, lawyer, and liberal.
  • A variable must be observable and measurable to be studied.
  • Social constructed variables such as class and ethnicity are measurable through operationalization.
  • Also called:
    • value
    • variable quantity
  • Variables are (adjective) variable and vary (adverb) variably by exhibiting (noun) variableness and (noun) variablity.

Additional Information:

Related Terms: 

 


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How to Cite the Definition of Variable

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Seaman, C. E. 2015. “variable.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary, edited by Kenton Bell. Retrieved November 14, 2018 (https://sociologydictionary.org/variable/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

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

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

Seaman, C. E. 2015. “variable.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary, edited by Kenton Bell. Accessed November 14, 2018. https://sociologydictionary.org/variable/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

Seaman, C. E. “variable.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2015. Web. 14 Nov. 2018. <https://sociologydictionary.org/variable/>.