# Which is the dependent and which is the independent?

I am conducting a lab in my class and was wondering, which is the dependant and independent variable and also which one goes on the y or x axis. It is a net force vs acceleration. I am thinking that net force is the independent variable.

Think about it, which one depends on the other. The equation is F=ma, so which one depends on the other variable in your experiment?

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so force depends on acceleration!

gneill
Mentor
Independent variables are the "inputs" to the experiment, the ones that you have control of. You set up an experiment and vary the independent variables to see what happens.

The dependent variables are the measured effects or results of the settings of the independent variables.

I am confused, I had control of the force. But when I look at the formula F=ma I think that acceleration is the independent variable.

gneill
Mentor
I am confused, I had control of the force. But when I look at the formula F=ma I think that acceleration is the independent variable.

Formulas can be rearranged; it's only math a = F/m is the same relationship.

What matters is what variables you had a "handle on" when you did the experiment (the independent variables), and what values were measured (what depends upon the things you tinkered with).

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