This table will help you understand which test you should use for your analysis using parametric data. Note that this is not a comprehensive list. Please see the glossary if you want to know the definition of a term.
Test | Description | Variables |
Single-sample t test |
Compare the mean of your sample to a known mean Ex: How does your community's health index compare to the national average? |
Dependent variable (the variable you are testing): ratio or interval |
Independent-samples t test |
Compares the means of two groups for a single dependent variable Ex: Do people who drink milk weigh less than people who don't? |
Independent variable (the groups): two levels Dependent variable (the variable you are testing): ratio or interval |
Paired-samples t test |
Compares means of two scores from related samples Ex: Student scores on a pre-test and a post-test |
Independent variable: one group Dependent variable: the same scale for both times measured, interval or ratio |
One-way ANOVA |
Compares the means of groups that vary for a single independent variable Ex: How does the weight of those who drink no milk, those who drink 2%, and those who drink skim milk compare? |
Independent variable: can have many groups; must be independent Dependent variable: interval or ratio |
Factorial ANOVA |
Compares the means for multiple independent variables with multiple levels Ex: How does course format (online or face-to-face) and instructor experience (novice or experienced) impact student grades? (This is a 2 x 2 ANOVA, there are two independent variables with two levels) |
Independent variable: can have many groups with different levels, should be independent Dependent variable: interval or ratio |
Repeated-Measures ANOVA |
Compares means for related groups for more than one level of an independent variable Ex: How do the exam scores of students compare at the beginning of the course, on the midterm, and with the final exam? |
Dependent variable: measures should be from same or similar group, interval or ratio |
MANOVA |
Compare the means for multiple dependent variables at once Ex: How do students who live on or off campus compare for GPA and satisfaction scores? |
Dependent variables: should be related to each other, interval or ratio |
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