Environmental Variable – A variable that (may) exert influence on the behavior of a person in a specific situation. Environmental variables are not studied, unless the study specifically concerns just these variables.
Exogenous Variable – Exo (Greek) = outside. A variable that exerts influence on the results of a study. This variable falls outside the actual research situation and usually involves influences that are undesirable or disturbing –for example, a question is poorly comprehended because people are talking loudly nearby. See also: Endogenous Variable/ Source of Error
Independent Variable – Syn: Stimulus Variable A variable that is being manipulated by the experimentor. (The dependent variable is not manipulated.) One determines what influence is exerted on the dependent variable by intervening in the independent variable. For example: what is the influence of a specific light strength on the reading of a billboard text? What is this influence when the source of light is twice as strong? See also: Dependent variable
Intervening Variable – A hypothetical assumption: everything that occurs between the stimulus and the response. (An attitude is frequently an intervening variable.) It has no independent existence but can observed during experiments. What, in fact, is implied is that the investigator does not know what is happening; he postulates that a process is taking place. See also: Stimulus/Response/Hypothetical construct/Attitude
Irrelevant Variable – All variable in a study that are demonstrated to have no influence (on the dependent variable). See also: Relevant variable/Dependent variable
Latent Variable – Latens (Latin) = hidden, invisible. A non-perceptible variable that, nevertheless, is considered to be present in a structure or system under study. For example, “demand” in the economy. Nonperceptible quantities, such as errors, as a rule are not considered latent. See also: Demand
Moderator Variable – Moderator (Latin) = leader, administrator. A variable that exerts influence on the correlation (coherence) of the two other variables. A moderator variable may be age, specific personality traits, education, sex, etc. See also: Correlation
Potential Variable – All variable in a study or experiment of which it is not as yet established what, if any, influence they exert on the dependent variable. See also: Dependent Variable
Relevant Variable – All variables in a study or experiment which are known, along with independent variables, to exert influence on the dependent variable. See also: Irrelevant Variable/Independent Variable/Dependent Variable
Response Variable – Syn: Dependent Variable See: Dependent Variable
Single Variable – Syn: Univariable Consisting of one variable only (e.g., age, income, purchase frequency).
Stimulus Variable – Syn: Independent Variable See: Independent Variable
Subject Variable – Every variable peculiar to a particular subject (person) – for example, income, age, reaction time, etc.
Variable – Syn: Variate – A quantity capable of assuming each and every value within a set. All that is capable of varying in a research measurement. Variables may be: age, income, duration of illness, ownership of a vehicle. A variable always requires expression in quantitative terms. See also: Attribute/Dependent Variable/Independent Variable
Variate – Syn: Variable This term is used practically every instance as a synonym for variable; however, from the mathematical viewpoint, such usage is not entirely correct. See also: Variable
Ad Hoc Hypotheses – Ad hoc (Latin) = to this, to this matter, to research project or during the interpretation of results of such a project. It is not a hypothesis that was started prior to the start of the research project, for purposes of testing.
Ad Hoc Theory – Syn: Ad hoc hypothesis See: Ad hoc hypothesis
Alternative Hypothesis – Each and every hypothesis that might possibly serve as a suitable alternative to a proposed and/or already tested hypothesis.
Confirmation of a Theory – Syn: Confirmation of a hypothesis – To lend support or proof to a theory by means of research. The original theory is not being refuted; it remains in existence.
Deterministic Existence Hypothesis – The kind of hypothesis that has its fundamental form that there is at least one A that equals B. For example, here is at least one American who watches television at least 10 hours per day. This kind of hypothesis is not difficult to confirm: it requires the evidence of only one person in a sample.
Empirical Reference – The framework to which a theory relates must be described and already defined by the proponent of that theory, so that the proponent of the theory cannot claim afterwards, “this is not what I had in mind”.
Error of this Kind – The refutation of a hypothesis that is in fact correct.
Error of the Second Kind – Failure to reject a false hypothesis.
Falsification of a Hypothesis – To prove that a theory or hypothesis is wrong.
Frame of Reference – Every study or theory has a context in which it occurs. A frame of reference for a research project may be: an election, purchase of new automobile, etc.
H – Statistical symbol for the null hypothesis. See also: Null hypothesis
Hypothesis – 1. A clear and concise assumption, formulated in a manner that can be tested. It is, as rule, part of a theory of greater magnitude.
2. A statement concerning the relation between two or more phenomena.