Independent variable


The independent variable is the one that determines the value of the dependent variable. This, in a model or statistical study.

Another way of defining the independent variable, also called explanatory, is one whose variation also causes a change in the dependent variable or explained variable.

It is worth clarifying that there can be more than one independent variable in an investigation, each one having a different weight. That is, some explanatory variables may be more important than others.

From the researcher's point of view, what he usually seeks is to explain how one variable is formed from another (or others), which will be the independent variables.

For example, the quantity supplied of a good may be one of the independent variables that influences the market price.

Characteristics of the independent variable

Among the characteristics of the independent variable, the following stand out:

  • It usually corresponds to the abscissa axis, that is, to the horizontal or x axis. In turn, the dependent variable is placed on the y-axis.
  • The more independent variables that are included, the better explanation the dependent variable will have.
  • The independent variable does not require another variable to be included in the investigation, so your data is simply incorporated without having to explain how it originated.
  • The researcher defines the independent variables based on a theoretical framework. That is, it cannot determine without support that the number of red cars in a city determines the productivity of the inhabitants of that community.

Examples of independent variables

Some examples of independent variables are:

  • Suppose you are trying to explain what factors define the purchase amount of a group of consumers in a supermarket.Among the independent variables we will have the price of the products, the age of the individual, whether the user lives alone or with someone (and may be the head of the family), and the time of purchase could even influence.
  • Another example of a dependent variable could be observed in an investigation on the spread of a disease. Thus, transmission could be favored by a lack of access to drinking water, lack of compliance with basic hygiene rules, low levels of certain vitamins due to poor diet, etc. All these factors would be the independent variables.

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