Conducting Health Research: Principles, Process, and Methods presents an integrated and practical introduction to the principles and strategies for planning, implementing, reporting, and assessing health sciences research. Comprehensive in its breadth and depth, with an accessible writing style, this text prepares students in public health and related fields to be adept researchers and consumers of health research. Through real-world examples and step-by-step guidance, Frederick J. Kviz provides students with the skills they need to: identify and evaluate research strengths and limitations as practitioners; to actually perform the various core aspects of research; and to choose among alternative methods when making decisions about health practice, policy, and future research needs.

Variables and Relationships

Variables and Relationships

Variables and Relationships

A series of bright dots connected by small bright lines form a pattern that resembles a topography, on a dark background.

Learning Objectives

After studying Chapter 3, the reader should be able to:

  • Distinguish between different types of variables
  • Distinguish between different types of relationships among variables
  • Classify variables as independent and dependent
  • Draw and interpret a path diagram model of relationships between variables
  • Identify causal and noncausal relationships
  • Identify and assess mediated and moderated relationships


The general goal of research is to describe, explain, and predict patterns of variation across empirical observations. A variable is an attribute of an observation unit (individual, group, place, event, etc.) whose quality and/or quantity may be different (vary) from one observation to another. Variables may differ in their nature, the ways they may be measured, and how their measurements may be analyzed. Some variables may vary only across observation units, but ...

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