Simply put, a variable is a measurement of something that holds at least two distinct values [Page 1604]across participants within a study. In contrast, a constant holds the same value across all study participants. Whereas constants such as the speed of light are frequently important for analyses in the natural sciences, the focus of social and behavioral sciences rarely concerns itself with constants. Thus, variables are the basic currency of behavioral research.
Any discussion of variables necessarily must focus on two distinct aspects of these measures: (1) the attributes of variables and how they are measured and (2) the use of variables in scientific analyses. The former refers to the specifics of how the variation of a measure can be described and how ...
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