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Statistics LibreTexts

15.2: ANOVA Designs

Learning Objectives

  1. Be able to identify the factors and levels of each factor from a description of an experiment
  2. Determine whether a factor is a between-subjects or a within-subjects factor
  3. Define factorial design

There are many types of experimental designs that can be analyzed by ANOVA. This section discusses many of these designs and defines several key terms used.

Factors and Levels

The section on variables defined an independent variable as a variablemanipulated by the experimenter. In the case study "Smiles and Leniency," the effect of different types of smiles on the leniency shown to a person was investigated. Four different types of smiles (neutral, false, felt, and miserable) were shown. In this experiment, "Type of Smile" is the independent variable. In describing an ANOVA design, the term factor is a synonym of independent variable. Therefore, "Type of Smile" is the factor in this experiment. Since four types of smiles were compared, the factor "Type of Smile" has four levels.

An ANOVA conducted on a design in which there is only one factor is called a one-way ANOVA. If an experiment has two factors, then the ANOVA is called a two-way ANOVA. For example, suppose an experiment on the effects of age and gender on reading speed were conducted using three age groups (8 years, 10 years, and 12 years) and the two genders (male and female). The factors would be age and gender. Age would have three levels and gender would have two levels.

Between- and Within-Subjects Factors

In the "Smiles and Leniency" study, the four levels of the factor "Type of Smile" were represented by four separate groups of subjects. When different subjects are used for the levels of a factor, the factor is called a between-subjects factor or a between-subjects variable. The term "between subjects" reflects the fact that comparisons are between different groups of subjects.

In the "ADHD Treatment" study, every subject was tested with each of four dosage levels (0, 0.15, 0.30, 0.60 mg/kg) of a drug. Therefore there was only one group of subjects, and comparisons were not between different groups of subjects but between conditions within the same subjects. When the same subjects are used for the levels of a factor, the factor is called a within-subjects factor or a within-subjects variable. Within-subjects variables are sometimes referred to as repeated-measures variables since there are repeated measurements of the same subjects.

Multi-Factor Designs

It is common for designs to have more than one factor. For example, consider a hypothetical study of the effects of age and gender on reading speed in which males and females from the age levels of 8 years, 10 years, and 12 years are tested. There would be a total of six different groups as shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Gender x Age Design.

Group Gender Age
1 Female 8
2 Female 10
3 Female 12
4 Male 8
5 Male 10
6 Male 12

This design has two factors: age and gender. Age has three levels and gender has two levels. When all combinations of the levels are included (as they are here), the design is called a factorial design. A concise way of describing this design is as a Gender (2) x Age (3) factorial design where the numbers in parentheses indicate the number of levels. Complex designs frequently have more than two factors and may have combinations of between- and within-subjects factors.