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Keywords:

  • statistical methods;
  • analysis of variance;
  • analysis of covariance;
  • multivariate analysis of variance

ABSTRACT

Medical research frequently involves the statistical comparison of >2 groups, often using data obtained through the application of complex experimental designs. Fortunately, inferential statistical methodologies exist to address these situations. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) in its many forms is used to simultaneously test the equality of all groups in a study. One-way (with 1 independent variable), 2-way (with 2 independent variables), and repeated-measures (patients serve as their own controls) ANOVAs are forms of this technique. Each form has been developed to analyze data from a specific experimental design. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) allows the researcher to control for confounding variables that may influence the response of the dependent variable. Finally, multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) evaluates the simultaneous responses of multiple dependent variables to s 1 independent variable. Whereas ANOVA is the correct alternative to statistically inappropriate multiple t-tests, MANOVA is the correct alternative to statistically inappropriate multiple uni-variate ANOVA calculations. Use of each of these statistical methods requires an appropriate experimental design and data meeting a number of assumptions. When used properly, each of these methods provides a powerful statistical analysis technique.