We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Continuous Variables?

By Victoria Blackburn
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
All The Science is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All The Science, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Variable is a term used to describe something that can be measured and can also vary. The opposite of a variable is a constant. A constant is a quantity that doesn’t change within a specific context. In scientific experiments, variables are used as a way to group the data together. Variables can be grouped as either discrete or continuous variables.

Generally, variables are characteristics of a group of objects or events that can be measured over a number of different numerical values. Discrete variables can have only a certain number of different values between two given points. For example, in a family, there can be one, two, or three children, but there cannot be a continuous scale of 1.1, 1.5, or 1.75 children.

Continuous variables can have an infinite number of different values between two given points. As shown above, there cannot be a continuous scale of children within a family. If height were being measured though, the variables would be continuous as there are an unlimited number of possibilities even if only looking at between 1 and 1.1 meters.

It is important to remember that both kinds of variables are so grouped based on the scale used to measure them and what is being measured. In most scientific experiments, a discrete scale is used to measure both kinds of variables. Because there are an infinite amount of possibilities, this means the measurements of continuous variables are often rounded off to make the data easier to work with.

Both discrete and continuous variables can take on one of two roles in a scientific experiment. During an experiment, the scientist often wants to observe the results of changing one variable. Only one variable is often changed, as it would be difficult to determine what had caused the relevant response if multiple variables were influenced.

The variable that is manipulated by the scientist is the independent variable, while the dependent variable is the one that responds to the change. In other words, the response of one variable is dependent on the changes to the other variable. If there were no change initially to any of the variables, then there wouldn’t be a response by the dependent variable.

For example, during an experiment, the amount of light shining on a plant is changed. The amount of light would be the independent variable. To make measurements that can be repeated, the independent variable is likely to be a discrete variable, such as one hour, two hours, or three hours of light. The response of the plant, how much it grows or the direction it grows, will be the dependent variable. As the amount the plant grows can be an infinite number of results, it is a dependent continuous variable.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon161471 — On Mar 19, 2011

this article gave me lots of understanding on the subject matter! Thanks to you.

By anon154233 — On Feb 20, 2011

quite good advice although i didn't understand some of the terms used, but thanks.

By anon142999 — On Jan 14, 2011

literally the clearest explanation I've found. many thanks.

By anon116549 — On Oct 07, 2010

This article helped me a lot. Thanks

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.