Identifying Variables Used in Research Studies and Cases Suggested subject: Research and Ethics

Essay by tdetchHigh School, 11th gradeA+, December 2008

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Taylor D'Etcheverry


Chapter Five Summary: Identifying Variables


While formulating a research problem (as read in Chapter 5), the next important step is to prepare your hypothesis and variables that will guide your experiment. Consider two important aspects of developing your problem: the use of concepts and construction of your hypothesis (Kumar). Concepts cannot be accurately measured because they vary in opinion from person to person. For example, one man may think a woman walking down the street with long, blonde hair is beautiful. Another man may think she is not so attractive because he is drawn to short haired brunettes. In this case, if you find yourself to be using concepts in your work, you can mold them into becoming measurable variables. The learning of this process to change concepts into variables plays a vital role in developing your problem; thus, it is important to be educated about this subject.

The Definition of a Variable

A variable is a concept that can be measured. Quantitative qualities can easily be measured and collected as data; where as, feelings and opinions cannot be measured directly on a scale. However, it is possible for them to be measured, but it is very difficult to do so. For example, it is easy to measure a person's height because all standards of measurement have set guidelines in which are not changed from person to person. On the other hand, it is difficult to measure the quality of a person's personality because each person has their own definition of a generosity and cruelty.

The Difference Between a Concept and a Variable

The main difference between variable and a concept is measurability (Kumar). Variables are facts measured with accuracy. They can be distinguished physically and proven with evidence why the measure is the way it...