question about identifying the IV in an experiment

AFTER you've done your research and concluded your experiments, it is time to prepare for the science fair. Ask specific questions about preparing for a science fair, including how to set up your display board, how to prepare a presentation, etc. (Please post questions about selecting a project or conducting your experiment by posting in the appropriate "area of science" forum.)

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question about identifying the IV in an experiment

Postby hollyg » Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:36 am

I am trying to find the correct answer to this question about IV.

In an experiment to determine how much nitrogen best supports oil production by microalgae, which factor is the independent variable?
A) the size of each experimental group
B) the amount of nitrogen added to each group
C) the rate of oil production by the microalgae
D) the temperature of the water in which the microalgae are grown

Any help and reasoning would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: question about identifying the IV in an experiment

Postby vysarge » Sat Oct 13, 2012 3:21 pm

Hello hollyg!

In any experiment, there are several kinds of variables, explained more closely [here].

The independent variable is whatever you change to produce an effect. It's the variable that you change from trial to trial to produce a change in the dependent variable; by contrast, the dependent variable is what you measure.

In an experiment looking to determine how the amount of salt dissolved in water affects boiling point, for example, the independent variable would be the amount of salt dissolved.

So, in an experiment determining how the amount of nitrogen affects oil production by microalgae, the independent variable would be the amount of nitrogen added, because that is what is varied by the experimenter. The rate of oil production would be the dependent variable, because that is what is measured and analyzed, and all other choices would be controlled variables.

Hope this helped!

Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry.
-Richard Feynman
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