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Analysis of Variance (One-Way ANOVA)

COSOPOM2: Quantitative research methods

Aart-Jan Riekhoff

So far we have compared 2 groups with a continuous dependent variable (comparing means and the t-test)
and 2 or more groups with a categorical dependent variable (crosstabulation and Chi-square test). Next, we
will compare more than 2 groups with a continuous dependent variables. So, this test is very similar to the
t-test, only that we are now able to compare more groups. The workings of this test is also a bit different
from the t-test. Whereas with the t-tests we compare means, with Analysis of Variance (or ANOVA) we
compare the variance within groups with that of the variance between groups (hence the name of the
analysis). If these variances differ, we assume that the groups are different as well. With ANOVA we
calculate the F-statistic, which also comes with a degrees of freedom and a p-value.

To start with, we need a dependent variable that is (close to) being continuous. We need an independent
variable that represents our groups, so this is typically a categorical or nominal variable. Although you can
compare as many groups as you like, for the purposes of making sense of your results, its smart not to
have too many groups and not to have too small groups. Usually, 3-5 groups works fine. If you have a
categorical variable that consists of more categories, it might be wise to recode in order to limit the groups.

Ill show here the example that I also used in the lecture. Well analysis whether there are differences in
terms of social trust between different age groups. Social trust and Age groups are the variables that we
have created earlier on during the course (see topic 3).

Of course usually, you want to look at the frequencies and distributions of these variables to see what they
look like and if you detect anything unusual about them. Well skip this part now here, but youre advised
to still use the Explore option in SPSS on the variables before we go to the analysis.

To perform the ANOVA, in SPSS go to Analyze -> Compare Means -> One-Way ANOVA:

In the Dependent List, choose Social trust [Soctrust] (or however you have named this variable) and as a
Factor select Age group [agegroup] (again dependent on how you have named the variable). Click Paste
and run the syntax from your Syntax file.

Lets look at the results for the Netherlands below. Most important for our purposes is to look at the F-
statistic and the accompanying p-value (Sig.). Like with the t-statistic, the higher the F-statistic, the smaller
the p-value usually is (depending on the degrees of freedom). Here we see that the F-statistic is 5,34 and
significant at our of 0,05. So if our null hypothesis would be that there is no difference between the
groups, we would have to reject it and accept an alternative hypothesis that says that there is a significant
difference between the age groups in terms of levels of social trust.

Social trust

Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig.

Between Groups 45,295 4 11,324 5,340 ,000

Within Groups 3891,184 1835 2,121
Total 3936,479 1839
a. Country = Netherlands

If our result had been insignificant, we could have stopped there. As we know that there is a significant
difference between the groups in the Netherlands, but we dont know which groups differ from each other.
There are several ways to find this out. I will show the Bonferroni post hoc test as one method. First go
back to the window for doing ANOVA. On the right-hand side youll see a button that says Post Hoc:

When you click this button, youll get a set of options. Just mark the box next to Bonferroni and press

Next, click Paste again and run the syntax. The Output will run an additional table which shows how the
groups differ from each other and which differences can be considered significant:

Multiple Comparisonsa

Dependent Variable: Social trust


(I) Age group (J) Age group Mean Difference Std. Error Sig. 95% Confidence Interval
Lower Bound Upper Bound

20-34 ,35201 ,16394 ,319 -,1087 ,8127

35-49 ,09039 ,15610 1,000 -,3483 ,5291

Younger than 20
50-64 -,04824 ,15631 1,000 -,4875 ,3911

65+ -,11054 ,16043 1,000 -,5614 ,3403

Younger than 20 -,35201 ,16394 ,319 -,8127 ,1087

35-49 -,26162 ,10347 ,115 -,5524 ,0292

50-64 -,40024* ,10377 ,001 -,6919 -,1086

65+ -,46254* ,10988 ,000 -,7714 -,1537

Younger than 20 -,09039 ,15610 1,000 -,5291 ,3483

20-34 ,26162 ,10347 ,115 -,0292 ,5524

50-64 -,13862 ,09089 1,000 -,3941 ,1168

65+ -,20092 ,09781 ,401 -,4758 ,0740

Younger than 20 ,04824 ,15631 1,000 -,3911 ,4875

20-34 ,40024* ,10377 ,001 ,1086 ,6919

35-49 ,13862 ,09089 1,000 -,1168 ,3941

65+ -,06230 ,09813 1,000 -,3381 ,2135

Younger than 20 ,11054 ,16043 1,000 -,3403 ,5614

20-34 ,46254* ,10988 ,000 ,1537 ,7714

35-49 ,20092 ,09781 ,401 -,0740 ,4758

50-64 ,06230 ,09813 1,000 -,2135 ,3381

*. The mean difference is significant at the 0.05 level.

a. Country = Netherlands

How to interpret this table? In the most left column there is the group that is the basis for comparison,
indicated with (I). The next column shows the other groups for one-on-one comparing, indicated with (J).
The third column then shows the difference between the means of I and J and indicates with a * whether
the mean difference is significant at the 0,05 level. Lets look, for example at the group of 20-34 years old,
which is the group standing out most from the others. As you can see all of the mean differences (I-J) are
negative. This indicates that the mean of the 20-34 years old is lower than that of all the other groups (in
other terms: I<J, resulting in a negative value for the difference). Or, again in other words, social trust is
lower among 20-34 years old than among any other age group. This difference is not significant, however,
when comparing 20-34 years old with those younger than 20 and those in the age group 35-49 (not marked
with *). This difference IS significant with the older age groups 50-64 and 65+ (marked with *).

When you report your results, always report the F-statistic, the total df and the p-value. If your F-Statistic is
significant, you can do the post hoc test. You dont have to present all the results for the post hoc test, but
just describe in your interpretation which of the groups are different. And of course, remember to interpret
and explain these results! Why is it that some groups are different than others?