Nov 20, 2020 in Law

The Nature of Scientific Variables





The Nature of Scientific Variables


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Part A

The Nature of Scientific Variables

For studying causes and effects of different relationships in nature, scientists use experiments. The term scientific variable is associated with the experiment. The experiment is the most important part of the scientific method. It is the logical process that lets scientists learn about the world (Science Made Simple, 2011, n. p.). The scientific method helps to organize thoughts and procedures so that scientists can be confident in the answers they find. This method can be stated in several stages. First, the analyst states the problem, based on assumptions, and makes observations. Next, the scientist brings a hypothesis forward on the ground of educated sources. A hypothesis is a statement for prediction of the effects of changing one variable to another. The analysts test the hypothesis with the help of experiments, which expose changes of variables. These experiments are designed so that the predictable varies appear after starting changes to one item. Such changing quantities are called variables. However, variables can be the result of something that changed, as well. In other words, variables are things, which are measured and controlled as a part of scientific experiment. Some variables can be concrete such as gender, weight, shoe size, or height. Others can be more abstract, vague, and squishy. For example, sense of well-being, self-esteem, strength of belief in religion, or IQ (Price, 2000, n. p.). Temperature, time, and amount of sunlight might be examples of variables, as well. Thus, a variable in social science might be income, ages, population, social activity. A variable in science and math might be a letter (a, b, c), numbers, points (point a, point b) or even a unit of measurement in quantity (3 liters, 4 lbs) and so on.

An experiment or research may include three kinds of variables: independent, dependent, and controlled. The independent variable is the one that a scientist can control, manipulate or only measure. The analyst controls whether or not subjects are exposed to the independent variable. The independent variable may demonstrate how it is related to or influences the dependent variable. Therefore, it can be used to predict the DV and is called sometimes an explanatory variable. The independent variable is considered the presumed cause or, in other words, antecedent. The dependent variable is the one that is measured in order to ascertain whether it is influenced by a change in the IV. In contrast, the dependent variable is a presumed effect of the variation in the independent variable. It refers to a status of the consequence as opposed to IV being the antecedent. In other words, it is what analysts are studying with respect to how it is related to or affected by the independent variable. In addition, scientists consider how the DV can be explained or predicted by the IV. That is why it is sometimes called the response variable. The other variable used in experiments or researches is known as controlled variable. These are the factors, which stay the same in the experiment. Scientists must observe them as carefully as the DV. The following examples of phenomena and lists of corresponding variables will help to understand the differences.

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Issue: Crime and violence in the streets

Examples of variables related to crime and violence might be number of robberies, number of attempted murders, number of prisoners, number of crime victims, number of law enforcers, number of convictions, number of car theft incidents (Regoniel, 2012, n. p.).

In this example, the number of law enforcers may be the independent variable, and the number of robberies is the dependent variable. The definite district or region may be referred to as the controlled variable.

Thus, for establishing causality, the scientists need three important criteria. The first is association, when the IV and DV are related to one another. The second criterion is time order. It should be taken into consideration that IV must precede DV. The third one is determining the constant variable.

Part B

Examples of scientific variables:

1. Suppose that an investigator studies the relation and dependence between the criminal behavior of adolescents and parental guidance performed for preventing crimes. The purpose of this investigation is to find out the best advices to give parents on that matter. The data required for the research fulfillment includes information recorded in the police relatively the group of adolescents and their criminal history (such as being arrested or questioned by the police, etc.). The next what the analysts need in this research is the information from a questionnaire about advices given to each adolescent by the parents. The investigators might study what types of advices, for example, to avoid interpersonal conflicts and walk away, or recommendations to stand up for oneself, influence the crime rating. The independent variable in this example is whether the child has a criminal record or not, and the dependent variable is the type of advice the parents give.

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2. Suppose that the scientist wants to compare the effect of different foods upon hyperactivity in children. Purpose of this study is to postulate that certain foods serve as a contributor to increased hyperactivity. The researcher creates a hypothesis and designs an experiment for establishing solid evidence behind the claim. The type of food, the amount eaten, the gender and age of the child serve as the IV. However, the test groups should eat the same amount of food at the same times. In this experiment, the level of hyperactivity is the dependent variable. The investigator can try to measure a different variable, such as gender or age, through follow up experiment, as well.

3. Suppose that students of different ages are given the same puzzle to put together. They are timed to see how long it takes to finish the puzzle. The students of different ages make out the IV in this example. The DV is how quick they finish puzzle. Controlled variable is the same puzzle given to every student.


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