# What are dependent variables?

##### 2 Answers

Dependent variables are properties that change in response to a change in another property.

Scientists try to determine if a change to one property causes something else to change in a predictable way.

These changing quantities are the *variables*.

The *independent variables* are the ones that are tested to see if they are the cause.

The *dependent variables* are the properties that change when the independent variables change.

For example, you want to find out if you can use a person’s height to determine arm span.

You collect a sample of people and measure their heights (the independent variable). Then you measure their arm spans (the dependent variable). Is a change in the independent variable related to a change in the dependent variable?

To answer this question, you plot a graph with the independent variable along the x-axis and the dependent variable along the y-axis. Your graph might look like this.

You can draw a “best fit” line through the points. This indicates that the dependent variable (arm span) depends on the person’s height.

Dependent variables are properties that change in response to a change in another property.

Scientists try to determine if a change to one property causes something else to change in a predictable way.

These changing quantities are the *variables*.

The *independent variables* are the ones that are tested to see if they are the cause.

The *dependent variables* are the properties that change when the independent variables change.

For example, you want to find out if you can use a person’s height to determine arm span.

You collect a sample of people and measure their heights (the independent variable). Then you measure their arm spans (the dependent variable). Is a change in the independent variable related to a change in the dependent variable?

To answer this question, you plot a graph with the independent variable along the x-axis and the dependent variable along the y-axis. Your graph might look like this.

You can draw a “best fit” line through the points. This indicates that the dependent variable (arm span) depends on the person’s height.