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MB0050 Q2.b. Briefly explain Independent dependent and extraneous variables in a research design.

Answer: b. Dependent and Independent variables: A magnitude that varies is known as a variable. The concept may assume different quantitative values, like height, weight, income, etc. Qualitative variables are not quantifiable in the strictest sense of objectivity. However, the qualitative phenomena may also be quantified in terms of the presence or absence of the attribute considered. Phenomena that assume different
values quantitatively even in decimal points are known as ‘continuous variables’. But, all variables need not be continuous. Values that can be expressed only in integer values are called ‘non-continuous variables’. In statistical term, they are also known as ‘discrete variable’. For example, age is a continuous variable; where as the number of children is a noncontinuous variable. When changes in one variable depends upon the changes in one or more other variables, it is known as a dependent or endogenous variable, and the variables that cause the changes in the dependent variable are known as the independent or explanatory or exogenous variables. For example, if demand depends upon price, then demand is a dependent variable, while price is the independent variable. And if, more variables determine demand, like income and prices of substitute commodity, then demand also depends upon them in addition to the own price. Then, demand is a dependent variable which is determined by the independent variables like own price, income and price of substitute.

2. Extraneous variable: The independent variables which are not directly related to the purpose of the study but affect the dependent variable are known as extraneous variables. For instance, assume that a researcher wants to test the hypothesis that there is relationship between children’s school performance and their self-concepts, in which case the latter is an independent variable and the former, the dependent variable. In this context, intelligence may also influence the school performance.
However, since it is not directly related to the purpose of the study undertaken by the researcher, it would be known as an extraneous variable. The influence caused by the extraneous variable on the dependent variable is technically called as an ‘experimental error’. Therefore, a research study should always be framed in such a manner that the dependent variable completely influences the change in the independent variable and any other extraneous variable or variables.

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