A control variable (or scientific constant) in scientific experimentation is an experimental element which is constant and unchanged throughout the course of the investigation. Control variables could strongly influence experimental results, were they not held constant during the experiment in order to test the relative relationship of the dependent and independent variables. The control variables themselves are not of primary interest to the experimenter.
A variable in an experiment which is held constant in order to assess the relationship between multiple variables, is a control variable.^{ [1] }^{ [2] } A control variable is an element that is not changed throughout an experiment, because its unchanging state allows the relationship between the other variables being tested to be better understood.^{ [3] }
Essentially, a control variable is what is kept the same throughout the experiment, and it is not of primary concern in the experimental outcome.^{ [3] }^{ [2] } Any change in a control variable in an experiment would invalidate the correlation of dependent variables (DV) to the independent variable (IV), thus skewing the results.^{ [3] }
In any system existing in a natural state, many variables may be interdependent, with each affecting the other. Scientific experiments test the relationship of an IV –that element that is manipulated by the experimenter– to the DV –that element affected by the manipulation of the IV. Any additional independent variable can be a control variable.^{ [1] }
Take, for example, the combined gas law, which is stated mathematically as:
where:
In an experimental verification of parts of the combined gas law, (P * V = T), where Pressure, Temperature, and Volume are all variables, to test the resultant changes to any of these variables requires at least one to be kept constant.^{ [2] } This is in order to see comparable experimental results in the remaining variables.
If Temperature is made the control variable and it is not allowed to change throughout the course of the experiment, the relationship between the dependent variables, Pressure, and Volume, can quickly be established by changing the value for one or the other, and this is Boyle's law. For instance, if the Pressure is raised then the Volume must decrease.
If, however, Volume is made the control variable and it is not allowed to change throughout the course of the experiment, the relationship between dependent variables, Pressure, and Temperature, can quickly be established by changing the value for one or the other, and this is Gay-Lussac's Law. For instance, if the Pressure is raised then the Temperature must increase.
The design of experiments is the design of any task that aims to describe and explain the variation of information under conditions that are hypothesized to reflect the variation. The term is generally associated with experiments in which the design introduces conditions that directly affect the variation, but may also refer to the design of quasi-experiments, in which natural conditions that influence the variation are selected for observation.
Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. In applying statistics to a scientific, industrial, or social problem, it is conventional to begin with a statistical population or a statistical model to be studied. Populations can be diverse groups of people or objects such as "all people living in a country" or "every atom composing a crystal". Statistics deals with every aspect of data, including the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments.
A calorimeter is an object used for calorimetry, or the process of measuring the heat of chemical reactions or physical changes as well as heat capacity. Differential scanning calorimeters, isothermal micro calorimeters, titration calorimeters and accelerated rate calorimeters are among the most common types. A simple calorimeter just consists of a thermometer attached to a metal container full of water suspended above a combustion chamber. It is one of the measurement devices used in the study of thermodynamics, chemistry, and biochemistry.
Ohm's law states that the current through a conductor between two points is directly proportional to the voltage across the two points. Introducing the constant of proportionality, the resistance, one arrives at the usual mathematical equation that describes this relationship:
An experiment is a procedure carried out to support or refute a hypothesis. Experiments provide insight into cause-and-effect by demonstrating what outcome occurs when a particular factor is manipulated. Experiments vary greatly in goal and scale, but always rely on repeatable procedure and logical analysis of the results. There also exist natural experimental studies.
The ideal gas law, also called the general gas equation, is the equation of state of a hypothetical ideal gas. It is a good approximation of the behavior of many gases under many conditions, although it has several limitations. It was first stated by Benoît Paul Émile Clapeyron in 1834 as a combination of the empirical Boyle's law, Charles's law, Avogadro's law, and Gay-Lussac's law. The ideal gas law is often written in an empirical form:
Boyle's law, also referred to as the Boyle–Mariotte law, or Mariotte's law, is an experimental gas law that describes how the pressure of a gas tends to decrease as the volume of the container increases. A modern statement of Boyle's law is:
The absolute pressure exerted by a given mass of an ideal gas is inversely proportional to the volume it occupies if the temperature and amount of gas remain unchanged within a closed system.
Thermodynamic equilibrium is an axiomatic concept of thermodynamics. It is an internal state of a single thermodynamic system, or a relation between several thermodynamic systems connected by more or less permeable or impermeable walls. In thermodynamic equilibrium there are no net macroscopic flows of matter or of energy, either within a system or between systems.
In thermodynamics, the phase rule is a general principle governing "pVT" systems in thermodynamic equilibrium. If F is the number of degrees of freedom, C is the number of components and P is the number of phases, then
Experimental psychology refers to work done by those who apply experimental methods to psychological study and the processes that underlie it. Experimental psychologists employ human participants and animal subjects to study a great many topics, including sensation & perception, memory, cognition, learning, motivation, emotion; developmental processes, social psychology, and the neural substrates of all of these.
Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) is a general linear model which blends ANOVA and regression. ANCOVA evaluates whether the means of a dependent variable (DV) are equal across levels of a categorical independent variable (IV) often called a treatment, while statistically controlling for the effects of other continuous variables that are not of primary interest, known as covariates (CV) or nuisance variables. Mathematically, ANCOVA decomposes the variance in the DV into variance explained by the CV(s), variance explained by the categorical IV, and residual variance. Intuitively, ANCOVA can be thought of as 'adjusting' the DV by the group means of the CV(s).
Dependent and independent variables are variables in mathematical modeling, statistical modeling and experimental sciences. Dependent variables receive this name because, in an experiment, their values are studied under the supposition or demand that they depend, by some law or rule, on the values of other variables. Independent variables, in turn, are not seen as depending on any other variable in the scope of the experiment in question. In this sense, some common independent variables are time, space, density, mass, fluid flow rate, and previous values of some observed value of interest to predict future values.
In statistics, an interaction may arise when considering the relationship among three or more variables, and describes a situation in which the effect of one causal variable on an outcome depends on the state of a second causal variable. Although commonly thought of in terms of causal relationships, the concept of an interaction can also describe non-causal associations. Interactions are often considered in the context of regression analyses or factorial experiments.
Internal validity is the extent to which a piece of evidence supports a claim about cause and effect, within the context of a particular study. It is one of the most important properties of scientific studies and is an important concept in reasoning about evidence more generally. Internal validity is determined by how well a study can rule out alternative explanations for its findings. It contrasts with external validity, the extent to which results can justify conclusions about other contexts.
In the statistical theory of the design of experiments, blocking is the arranging of experimental units in groups (blocks) that are similar to one another.
In mathematics, a variable is a symbol which works as a placeholder for expression or quantities that may vary or change; is often used to represent the argument of a function or an arbitrary element of a set. In addition to numbers, variables are commonly used to represent vectors, matrices and functions.
A quasi-experiment is an empirical interventional study used to estimate the causal impact of an intervention on target population without random assignment. Quasi-experimental research shares similarities with the traditional experimental design or randomized controlled trial, but it specifically lacks the element of random assignment to treatment or control. Instead, quasi-experimental designs typically allow the researcher to control the assignment to the treatment condition, but using some criterion other than random assignment.
Gas is one of the four fundamental states of matter.
Temperature is a physical quantity that expresses hot and cold. It is the manifestation of thermal energy, present in all matter, which is the source of the occurrence of heat, a flow of energy, when a body is in contact with another that is colder or hotter.
Psychological research refers to research that psychologists conduct for systematic study and for analysis of the experiences and behaviors of individuals or groups. Their research can have educational, occupational and clinical applications.