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# What is a Dependent Variable?

Module by: Lekulana Kolobe. E-mail the author

Summary: This module introduces a dependent variable and gives examples of such variables.

A dependent variable is a variable dependent on another variable: the independent variable. In simple terms, the independent variable is said to cause an apparent change in, or simply affect, the dependent variable [Wikipedia2006D].

## Example 1

1. In a study of how different dosages of a drug are related to the severity of symptoms of a disease, a measure of the severity of the symptoms of the disease is a dependent variable and the administration of the drug in specified doses is the independent variable. [Wikipedia2006D]

2. In a call centre, the number of customers serviced per hour, depends on the number of agents, and average service time per customer. In this case number of customers is a dependent variable, entirely dependent on the other two independent variables namely agents, and average service time.

## Exercise 1

What is the dependent variable in the following function? Briefly explain your choice.

Y = 3X + Z - 5

### Solution

The dependent variable is Y. This is because the value of Y depends on both the values of X and Z changing.

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