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Johannes Ledolter, Oliver W. Gramlich, Randy H. Kardon; Parametric Statistical Inference for Comparing Means and Variances. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2020;61(8):25. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.61.8.25.
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The purpose of this tutorial is to provide visual scientists with various approaches for comparing two or more groups of data using parametric statistical tests, which require that the distribution of data within each group is normal (Gaussian). Non-parametric tests are used for inference when the sample data are not normally distributed or the sample is too small to assess its true distribution.
Methods are reviewed using retinal thickness, as measured by optical coherence tomography (OCT), as an example for comparing two or more group means. The following parametric statistical approaches are presented for different situations: two-sample t-test, Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), paired t-test, and the analysis of repeated measures data using a linear mixed-effects model approach.
Analyzing differences between means using various approaches is demonstrated, and follow-up procedures to analyze pairwise differences between means when there are more than two comparison groups are discussed. The assumption of equal variance between groups and methods to test for equal variances are examined. Examples of repeated measures analysis for right and left eyes on subjects, across spatial segments within the same eye (e.g. quadrants of each retina), and over time are given.
This tutorial outlines parametric inference tests for comparing means of two or more groups and discusses how to interpret the output from statistical software packages. Critical assumptions made by the tests and ways of checking these assumptions are discussed. Efficient study designs increase the likelihood of detecting differences between groups if such differences exist. Situations commonly encountered by vision scientists involve repeated measures from the same subject over time, measurements on both right and left eyes from the same subject, and measurements from different locations within the same eye. Repeated measurements are usually correlated, and the statistical analysis needs to account for the correlation. Doing this the right way helps to ensure rigor so that the results can be repeated and validated.
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