Geography Fieldwork

A Level

Methods

1. Variables

The things that you are interested in measuring are called variables. There are two types:

  • Independent variable is not affected by other things. It is independent of other variables.
  • Dependent variable is affected by other things. It is dependent on other variables.

An independent variable causes a change in a dependent variable. A dependent variable cannot cause a change in an independent variable.

There are four measurement scales for variables:

  • Nominal: variables that are not numerical,
    e.g.
    categories like gender and ethnicity.
  • Ordinal: variables where order has meaning, but the difference between values is not important,
    e.g.
    ranks like 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
  • Interval: variables where the difference between values is important,
    e.g.
    actual numbers like the temperature in °C.
  • Ratio: Iinterval data with a natural (absolute) zero point.
    Time in seconds has a ratio scale, but temperature in °C does not (since 0°C does not mean no heat).