Statistics How To

Criterion Variable: Definition, Use and Examples

Types of Variables > Criterion Variable

Criterion Variable in Statistical Modeling

criterion variable

Criterion variables are used in regression analysis.

A criterion variable is another name for a dependent variable. However, the terms aren’t exactly interchangeable: a criterion variable is usually only used in non-experimental situations. For example, in statistical modeling applications like multiple regression and canonical correlation which use existing experimental data to make predictions.

Use in Modeling

In statistical modeling, the predictor variable is analogous to an independent variable and is used to predict an outcome (the criterion variable). One of the main differences between independent/dependent and criterion/predictor variables is the concept of causation. You can manipulate independent variables in experimental research and imply that manipulation causes some kind of change in the dependent variable. However, in statistical modeling, correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation. All the correlation means is that there is some relationship between the two variables. Therefore, a change in the predictor variable may correlate with a change in the criterion variable but it does not mean the change caused anything!

For example, let’s suppose SAT scores are a predictor variable and college GPA is a criterion variable. You may find through regression analysis that there seems to be a strong correlation between SAT scores and college GPA. However, strong SAT scores do not cause high college GPAs! (more likely it has something to do with a number of factors including hours spent studying, time spent working off-campus, socio-economic status etc. etc.).

So, if you are conducting experimental research, use the terms independent variable and dependent variable. When you perform further studies on that experimental data (in other words, non-experimental research like correlation), the terms criterion and predictor variables should be used.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Need help with a homework or test question? With Chegg Study, you can get step-by-step solutions to your questions from an expert in the field. If you'd rather get 1:1 study help, Chegg Tutors offers 30 minutes of free tutoring to new users, so you can try them out before committing to a subscription.

If you prefer an online interactive environment to learn R and statistics, this free R Tutorial by Datacamp is a great way to get started. If you're are somewhat comfortable with R and are interested in going deeper into Statistics, try this Statistics with R track.

Comments? Need to post a correction? Please post a comment on our Facebook page.

Check out our updated Privacy policy and Cookie Policy

Criterion Variable: Definition, Use and Examples was last modified: August 14th, 2018 by Stephanie