BMJ Qual Saf 21:529-532 doi:10.1136/bmjqs-2011-000477
  • Research and reporting methodology

Introducing analysis of means to medical statistics

  1. Roger Holder
  1. Primary Care Clinical Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Mohammed A Mohammed, Primary Care Clinical Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK; m.a.mohammed{at}
  1. Contributors MAM conceived the idea and RH jointly wrote and agreed the text.

  • Accepted 10 January 2012
  • Published Online First 17 April 2012


Statistical hypothesis testing involving the comparison of three or more means and/or proportions is a frequent undertaking in medical statistics. For comparison of means, analysis of variance is a common choice and for comparison of proportions, χ2 tests are common. However, both these approaches have important limitations which include the need for post hoc testing to identify the unusual group(s) without an integral graphical device to present the final results. These limitations are elegantly overcome by the analysis of means, which is widely used in industrial statistics, and illustrated here using means and proportions.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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