A one-way ANOVA is an analysis technique for determining whether any mean is significantly different from other means, and for evaluating single-factor experiments. In statistics, one-way analysis of variance (abbreviated one-way ANOVA) is a technique that can be used to compare whether two samples means are significantly different or not (using the F distribution). This technique can be used only for numerical response data, the “Y”, usually one variable, and numerical or (usually) categorical input data, the “X”, always one variable, hence “one-way”.
The ANOVA tests the null hypothesis, which states that samples in all groups are drawn from populations with the same mean values. To do this, two estimates are made of the population variance. These estimates rely on various assumptions. The ANOVA produces an F-statistic, the ratio of the variance calculated among the means to the variance within the samples. If the group means are drawn from populations with the same mean values, the variance between the group means should be lower than the variance of the samples, following the central limit theorem. A higher ratio therefore implies that the samples were drawn from populations with different mean values.
Typically, however, the one-way ANOVA is used to test for differences among at least three groups, since the two-group case can be covered by a t-test (Gosset, 1908). When there are only two means to compare, the t-test and the F-test are equivalent; the relation between ANOVA and t is given by F = t2. An extension of one-way ANOVA is a two-way analysis of variance that examines the influence of two different categorical independent variables on one dependent variable.