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One-way ANOVA: What is this test for?


The one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) is used to determine whether there are any significant differences between the means of three or more independent (unrelated) groups. This guide will provide a brief introduction to the one-way ANOVA, including the assumptions of the test and when you should use this test. If you are familiar with the one-way ANOVA, you can skip this guide and go straight to how to run this test in SPSS Statistics by clicking here.


What does this test do?


The one-way ANOVA compares the means between the groups you are interested in and determines whether any of those means are significantly different from each other. Specifically, it tests the null hypothesis:


One-way ANOVA Null Hypothesis


Where µ = group mean and k = number of groups. If, however, the one-way ANOVA returns a significant result, we accept the alternative hypothesis (HA), which is that there are at least 2 group means that are significantly different from each other.


At this point, it is important to realize that the one-way ANOVA is an omnibus test statistic and cannot tell you which specific groups were significantly different from each other, only that at least two groups were. To determine which specific groups differed from each other, you need to use a post hoc test. Post hoc tests are described later in this guide.


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