As a coach, there are few exam topics I hear people express greater distaste for than the dreaded topic of research & the differences between independent variables vs dependent variables (which you will almost always see show up on the exams). For most of us social workers pursuing clinical licensure in the states, research isn’t something we are engaged in on a day-to-day basis, and those terms we learned in our research methods or statistics courses become less than fresh in our minds as the years go by. While it is unlikely you will see more than a few research questions on your master’s ASWB exam or clinical ASWB exam, you definitely want to be prepared to quickly and efficiently answer these questions when they do show up. Today we're going to do a quick refresher on the difference between the independent variable and dependent variable.
Independent Variable vs. Dependent Variable
When performing an experiment, we look at the effect the independent variable has on the dependent variable. The independent variable is the variable changed (or controlled/manipulated) in a scientific experiment.
The dependent variable is the variable tested and measured in a scientific experiment. I think the easiest way to remember this is that the dependent variable is dependent on the independent variable. As the experimenter changes the independent variable, the effect on the dependent variable is observed and recorded.
Dependent Variable Example
Here is an independent vs dependent variable example: a researcher wants to look at how the amount of time spent studying effects exam scores. In this scenario, the amount of time spent studying is the independent variable (the variable we change) and the exam scores are the dependent variable (the variable we measure). The exam scores are dependent on how much time is spent studying.
Let’s see how you do on a practice question regarding the differences between independent vs dependent variables.
ASWB Practice Question
A social worker is studying the effects of how different doses of an SSRI affect levels of depression as measured by the Beck Depression Inventory. Which of the following is the dependent variable?
A. Type of SSRI
B. Dosage of the SSRI
C. Levels of Depression
D. Beck Depression Inventory
The correct answer is C.
- The type of SSRI (A) is not discussed in the question stem.
- The dosage of the SSRI (B) is the independent variable (remember, this is the variable being manipulated that will then impact the dependent variable).
- Levels of depression (C) are dependent on the dosage of the SSRI, making this the dependent variable.
- The Beck Depression Inventory (D) is the type of scale being used to measure levels of depression but is neither the independent variable nor the dependent variable.
To learn more of the research terms you need to know for your ASWB social work licensing exams, sign up for one of TDC’s ASWB exam study guides to help you prepare for your LMSW or LCSW exams today! Amanda Rowan has helped thousands of social workers pass their ASWB social work exams-are you our next success story? Check out our ASWB practice exam for more free study questions.
Depression is the dependent variable. It’s what is being measured and the one stable. The Ssris would be the independent variable.
Depression. It’s “dependent” on the levels of SSRI dosages that will tested.
C; the levele of depression
C: Level of depression
C levels of depression n can be measured
C Levels of Depression
C. Levels of depression
I agree, it's C. The level of depression is dependent on how well the SSRI works.
C_Levels of depression is the dependent variable as it is dependent upon amounts of SSRI (independent variable) administered
Levels of depression ( c) is the dependent variable.