We must differentiate between these two large areas of research because there is
quite a difference. In experimental research an independent variable is manipulated in some way to find out how it will affect the dependent variable. In non-experimental research there is no such manipulation. If you take a moment to look at the words independent, dependent, and variable, and review the example, . A few examples are provided in the book.
The image to the right shows the first stage of an experiment:
- How do contaminants affect organism growth? The independent variable is the thing that the researcher changes, such conducting two experiments, one with no contaminants, and one with contaminants. The dependent variable is the difference in organism growth…the thing that is affected by the change the researcher made.