In any investigation in optometry involving more that two treatment or patient groups, an investigator should be using ANOVA to analyse the results assuming that the data conform reasonably well to the assumptions of the analysis. Ideally, specific null hypotheses should be built into the experiment from the start so that the treatments variation can be partitioned to test these effects directly. If 'post-hoc' tests are used, then an experimenter should examine the degree of protection offered by the test against the possibilities of making either a type 1 or a type 2 error. All experimenters should be aware of the complexity of ANOVA. The present article describes only one common form of the analysis, viz., that which applies to a single classification of the treatments in a randomised design. There are many different forms of the analysis each of which is appropriate to the analysis of a specific experimental design. The uses of some of the most common forms of ANOVA in optometry have been described in a further article. If in any doubt, an investigator should consult a statistician with experience of the analysis of experiments in optometry since once embarked upon an experiment with an unsuitable design, there may be little that a statistician can do to help.
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|Published - 12 Mar 2004