Science Experiments

What is the difference between an independent variable and a dependent variable?

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01/05/2012

In an experiment, the independent variable is the variable that can be altered or controlled to produce a change. The result being studied is the dependent variable, which is observed to change as the independent variable is changed.

Example : In an experiment testing the effect of caffeine on reaction times, the amount of caffeine consumed is the independent variable and can be varied. The reaction times are the dependent variable, and a correlation (change in times) with the independent (amount given) is the information being sought.

There are three kinds of variables. These are:

Independent variable: is not affected by any effects in the experiment

Dependent variable: its reaction does depend on other variables

Controlled variable: variable that you can control throughout the entire experiment

To put it simply, the independent variable tries to manipulate the dependent variable in an experiment.
The independent variable (manipulated variable) is a variable that is changed by the experimenter. The dependent variable (responding variable) is what you are trying to determine in an experiment. My 6th grade science teacher taught us a poem

The manipulated is what you control the responding variable is your ultimate goal.