Dependent Variable

The Definition of Independent Variable in Science


The Definition of Independent Variable in Science


There are several confusing terms in science. The definition of independent variable is one of the puzzling terms. For the clear understanding of independent variable, first you have to understand the definition of a variable! A variable is the scientific term that indicates a condition or quantity that can vary. The term variable is divided in to two types like dependent variable and independent variable. Although our confusing term is independent variable, the understanding of both is important since they are co-related.

Dependent and independent variables are scientific factors that used to check the experimental changes. The definition of independent variable says it is the factor that can be controlled or varied during an experiment. For example, consider the growth of a plant in sunlight. Everyone knows the sunlight effect is directly proportional to the plant growth. When you keep the plant in sunlight for 6 hours per day, plant has a relatively low growth rate. When you keep it for 12 hours per day, plant growth increases significantly high. So sunlight is the independent variable here that can be controlled and varied for the plant growth. You can control the exposure to sunlight or even can remove the plant from sunlight, and that affect the plant's growth rate.

The dependent variable is the factor that varies according to the independent variable. It means dependent variable changes according to the result of independent variable. Consider the above example of plant growth and sunlight again. Here the sunlight is the independent variable that changes the plant growth. So the plant growth is the dependent variables which, depend and change according to the independent variable - sunlight. The dependent variable changes with independent variable but not vice-versa. Do not panic! Let us consider the above case once more. When the amount of sunlight varies, plant growth also varies. However, the amount of sunlight is not getting affected by the plant growth in any circumstances. The experimenter can control or vary the sunlight, but not the plant growth can!

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