To use, or not to use, ANOVA?

Written by: Trent Lalonde & Jamie Riggs


What do you do when faced with analyzing student ratings from 1 to 5 for 3 instructors in 3 classes? Aside from questioning the validity of students assessing instructor capability other than for the income generated by high enrollments, and that this is but a toy example, many naive analysts turn to the well-known analysis of variance (ANOVA) using score as a response and instructor and class (eg., time series, linear models, etc.) as in uencing variables to make comparisons among the instructors and classes. While each instructor may teach more than one class, no two instructors share the same class.

This model appears perfectly reasonable, so why do seasoned analysts turn to methods such as those presented in Handbook for Applied Modeling: Non-Gaussian and Correlated Data?

Authors Jamie Riggs and Trent Lalonde explore these models and when they are appropriate.

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About the Author: Trent Lalonde

Trent L. Lalonde is Associate Professor of Applied Statistics at the University of Northern Colorado, and Director of the University's Research Consulting Lab. He has spent a number of years designing and teaching graduate courses covering statistical methods for students in diverse areas such as special education, psychological sciences, and publi...

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About the Author: Jamie Riggs

Jamie D. Riggs is an adjunct lecturer in the Predictive Analytics program at Northwestern University, Illinois. She specializes in the statistical issues of solar system cratering processes, solar physics, and galactic dynamics, and has collaborated with researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico and the Southwest Research Instit...

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