Dependent Variable

Definition of Dependent Variable

A dependent variable (also called the response variable) is a variable whose value is determined by the value of one or more other variables (the independent variables). The dependent variable is usually the focus of a data analysis, since it is the quantity that is being measured or estimated.

What is a Dependent Variable used for?

A Dependent Variable is used to measure the impact that one or more independent variables have on a given phenomenon. It is also referred to as an outcome variable, response variable, and/or predicted variable. A dependent variable can be either continuous (i.e., measureable along a range of values) or categorical (i.e., divided into distinct groupings). For example, in a study of the impact of diet on heart disease risk, weight might be used as a dependent variable, since it is both continuous and measurable along a range of values. In other studies, such as those relating dietary choices to health outcomes like risk for diabetes or cancer, categorical variables such as food groupings may be used instead.

In any experiment or analysis involving dependent variables, the goal is typically to determine whether changes in the independent variables have an effect on the dependent variable — whether there is causation or correlation between them. To do this, data scientists employ various approaches like regression or factor analysis models that help explain how changes in one set of variables affect another set of variables and indicate which factors are most important for predicting outcomes.

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