What is being measured in a research study
Within applied statistics and research, dependent variables can be measured at a categorical level, an ordinal level, or at a continuous level.
Categorical dependent variables are used when the outcome of interest is an event or occurrence. Non-parametric statistics are used to answer research questions using categorical dependent variables.
Ordinal dependent variables are often LIkert-type scales used to assess human constructs. Non-parametric statistics are also used with ordinal dependent variables.
Continuous dependent variables are numerical values associated with outcomes of interest. Parametric statistics are used with continuous dependent variables, given that a certain set of statistical assumptions are met.
The important thing to remember is that dependent variables are what researchers want to measure. The outcome of interest exists, they want to measure for it, and they want to see if independent variables are associated with the dependent variable (observational research designs) or potentially cause it (experimental research designs).
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