How to Control Variables in Research Design

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Research design is vital in planning for a reliable experiment based on a hypothesis, as inaccurate planning can lead to wrongly assuming that a correlation demonstrates a cause. Controlling the variables will ensure a higher level of accuracy and help you to reach a valid conclusion.

Things You'll Need

  • Independent variables
  • Dependent variables
  • Identify the independent variable in your experiment. This is the solitary variable that you are planning to change. You will also need to recognize the dependent variables, which are the variables that must remain consistent or else accuracy of the procedure will decrease.

  • Use "operationalization" techniques, such as double blind or randomization experiments, which will isolate the variables of natural fluctuations or chaotic rhythms and help to control them as much as possible. Analyze your results using statistical analysis, which will remove any natural fluctuating variables from the results.

  • Monitor all variables regularly and meticulously throughout your experiment to ensure a high level of reliability. It is also vital to plan to repeat your experiment many times as repetition will improve accuracy of the control of variables.

Tips & Warnings

  • Most statistical tests have a particular error margin incorporated into them; do not ignore these as they can give a good indicator of an unknown variable affecting the dependent variable.
  • If using operationalization techniques is too difficult to do, a control group can be used to provide an average measurement for the variables that are unknown.

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References

  • Photo Credit lab image by Svetlana Gajic from Fotolia.com
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