Statnote 11: the two-factor analysis of variance

Anthony Hilton, Richard A. Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to specialist publication or newspaperArticle


Experiments combining different groups or factors are a powerful method of investigation in applied microbiology. ANOVA enables not only the effect of individual factors to be estimated but also their interactions; information which cannot be obtained readily when factors are investigated separately. In addition, combining different treatments or factors in a single experiment is more efficient and often reduces the number of replications required to estimate treatment effects adequately. Because of the treatment combinations used in a factorial experiment, the degrees of freedom (DF) of the error term in the ANOVA is a more important indicator of the ‘power’ of the experiment than simply the number of replicates. A good method is to ensure, where possible, that sufficient replication is present to achieve 15 DF for each error term of the ANOVA. Finally, in a factorial experiment, it is important to define the design of the experiment in detail because this determines the appropriate type of ANOVA. We will discuss some of the common variations of factorial ANOVA in future statnotes. If there is doubt about which ANOVA to use, the researcher should seek advice from a statistician with experience of research in applied microbiology.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
Specialist publicationMicrobiologist
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007


  • applied microbiology
  • individual factors interactions


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