Manipulated and Responding Variables

Throughout my years of high school, college, and graduate school, I had a hard time with the terms “independent variable” and “dependent variable.” Even now, I have to stop and think: the independent variable is the one I change because I have some independence, and the dependent variable will vary depending on what I do in the experiment.

In preparation for the upcoming school year, I have been looking through my new Biology textbook (Prentice Hall Biology, by Miller and Levine) and am very pleased that they have replaced those terms with manipulated variable and responding variable. I haven’t seen these terms in other texts, but I find them much more intuitive than independent and dependent variables, and hope these newer terms will quickly replace the older, less intuitive terms.

Grace and Peace

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