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Types of Variables

For these 4 questions below what would be the independent and dependent variables, the level of measurement and whether or not the variable is discrete or continuous.

1)A graduate student is studying sexual harassment on college campuses and asks 500 female students if they personally have experienced any such incidents
each student is asked to estimate the frequency of the incidents as either 'often, sometimes, rarely or never' The researcher also gathers data on age and major to see if there is any connection between these variables and frequency of sexual harassment.

what would the independent variable, dependent variable be? and their classification(nominal ordinal or interval-ratio) and finally are they discrete, continuous or neither.

2)A supervisor in the solid waste management division of a city government is attempting to assess 2 methods of trash collection. One area of the city is served by trucks with two-man crews who do 'backyard' pickups and the rest of the city is served by 'hi-tech' single person trucks with curbside pickup. The assessment measures include the number of complaints received from the 2 different areas over a 6 month period, the amount of time per day required to serve each area, and the cost per ton of cash collected.

3)The adult bookstore near campus has been raided and closed by the police Your social research class has decided to poll the student body to get their opinions. The class decides to ask each student if he or she supports or opposes the closing of the store, how many times each one has visited the store, and if he or she agrees or disagrees that 'pornography is a direct cause of sexual assaults on women' The class also collects information on the sex, age, religious and political philosophy and major of each student to see if opinions are related to these characteristics.

4)For a research project in a political science course, a student has collected information about the quality of life and the degree of political democracy in 50 nations. Specifically she used infant morality rates to measure quality of life, and the percentage of all adults who are permitted to vote in national elections was the measure of democratization. Her hypothesis is that quality of life is higher in more democratic nations.

Please help me answer these 4 questions in terms of a) the independent and dependent variable b) their level of measurement(ordinal, nominal, interval-ratio)and c) if they are discrete or continuous or neither.

Solution Preview

First, definitions:

The independent variable is the x variable. It is the one that you can control either directly or indirectly, in the way you choose your data. The dependent variable is the y variable. It is the one you think depends on the independent variable.

There are 4 levels of measurement:
? nominal (names or categories)
? ordinal (ranks)
? interval (dates, scales, etc. - you can add or subtract, but not multiply or divide)
? ratio (ages, lengths, etc. - you can multiply and divide)

Variables are discrete if they are distinct groups that don't overlap or flow into each other (like different categories). They are continuous if they are not discrete (measurements of height or weight, for example).

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1)A graduate student is studying sexual harassment on college campuses and asks 500 female students if they personally have experienced any such incidents each student is asked to estimate the frequency of the incidents as ...

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