What statistical analysis should I use?

The following table shows general guidelines for choosing a statistical analysis. We emphasize that these are general guidelines and should not be construed as hard and fast rules.  Usually your data could be analyzed in multiple ways, each of which could yield legitimate answers. The table below covers a number of common analyses and helps you choose among them based on the number of dependent variables (sometimes referred to as outcome variables), the nature of your independent variables (sometimes referred to as predictors).  You also want to consider the nature of your dependent variable, namely whether it is an interval variable, ordinal or categorical variable, and whether it is normally distributed (see What is the difference between categorical, ordinal and interval variables? for more information on this).  The table then shows one or more statistical tests commonly used given these types of variables (but not necessarily the only type of test that could be used) and links showing how to do such tests using SAS, Stata and SPSS.

Number of
Dependent
Variables

Nature of 
Independent
Variables

Nature of Dependent
Variable(s)

Test(s)

How to
SAS
How to
Stata
How to
SPSS

1

 0 IVs
(1 population)

interval & normal

one-sample t-test

SAS Stata SPSS

ordinal or interval

one-sample median

SAS Stata SPSS

categorical
 (2 categories)

binomial test

SAS Stata SPSS
categorical

 Chi-square goodness-of-fit

SAS Stata SPSS

 1 IV with 2 levels 
(independent groups)

interval & normal

2 independent sample t-test

SAS Stata SPSS

 ordinal or interval

Wilcoxon-Mann Whitney test SAS Stata SPSS

 categorical

 Chi- square test

SAS Stata SPSS
Fisher's exact test SAS Stata SPSS

1 IV with 2 or more levels (independent groups)

interval & normal

one-way ANOVA

SAS Stata SPSS

ordinal or interval

Kruskal Wallis

SAS Stata SPSS

categorical

Chi- square test

SAS Stata SPSS

1 IV with 2 levels
(dependent/matched groups)

interval & normal

paired t-test 

SAS Stata SPSS

 ordinal or interval

Wilcoxon signed ranks test 

SAS Stata SPSS

 categorical

McNemar

SAS Stata SPSS

1 IV with 2 or more levels
(dependent/matched groups)

interval & normal

one-way repeated measures ANOVA

SAS Stata SPSS

ordinal or interval

Friedman test

SAS Stata SPSS

categorical

repeated measures logistic regression

SAS Stata SPSS

2 or more IVs
(independent groups)

interval & normal

factorial ANOVA

SAS Stata SPSS

ordinal or interval

ordered logistic regression

SAS Stata SPSS

categorical

factorial 
logistic regression

SAS Stata SPSS

1 interval IV

interval & normal

correlation 

SAS Stata SPSS

simple linear regression

SAS Stata SPSS

ordinal or interval

 non-parametric correlation

SAS Stata SPSS

categorical

simple logistic regression

SAS Stata SPSS
1 or more interval IVs and/or
1 or more categorical IVs
interval & normal

multiple regression

SAS Stata SPSS
analysis of covariance SAS Stata SPSS

categorical

multiple logistic regression

SAS Stata SPSS
discriminant analysis SAS Stata SPSS

2 or more

1 IV with 2 or more levels
(independent groups)

interval & normal one-way MANOVA SAS Stata SPSS

2 or more

2 or more

interval & normal

multivariate multiple linear regression

SAS Stata SPSS

2 sets of 
2 or more

0

interval & normal

canonical correlation

SAS Stata SPSS

2 or more

0

interval & normal

factor analysis

SAS Stata SPSS

Number of
Dependent
Variables

Nature of 
Independent
Variables

Nature of Dependent
Variable(s)

Test(s)

How to
SAS
How to
Stata
How to
SPSS

This page was adapted from Choosing the Correct Statistic developed by James D. Leeper, Ph.D.  We thank Professor Leeper for permission to adapt and distribute this page from our site.

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