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Planning the Methodology - Scientific Terminology

Because quantitative research is rooted in the scientific method, specific terminology for that process must be used.  These terms are defined as:

  • An independent variable is manipulated in a study.  It can be any aspect of the environment that is investigated for the purpose of examining its influence on the dependent variable.
  • A dependent variable is measured in a study.  This variable is not manipulated; measurements are empirical (numerical).
  • An experimental or treatment group is the group that receives the experimental treatment or manipulation, and differs from the control group in the dependent variable.
  • A control group is the group is used to produce comparisons.  They provide a baseline performance with which to compare the experimental or treatment group’s performance.
  • In a random assignment for a study, each subject has an equal probability of being selected for either the treatment or control group
  • In a double blind assignment for a study, neither the subject nor the experimenter knows whether the subject is the treatment or control group.

Click here for additional information on the scientific method. 

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