GLM Introductory Overview - Between-Subject Designs Overview

The levels or values of the predictor variables in an analysis describe the differences between the n subjects or the n valid cases that are analyzed. Thus, when we speak of the between subject design (or simply the between design) for an analysis, we are referring to the nature, number, and arrangement of the predictor variables.

Concerning the nature or type of predictor variables, between designs which contain only categorical predictor variables can be called ANOVA (analysis of variance) designs, between designs which contain only continuous predictor variables can be called regression designs, and between designs which contain both categorical and continuous predictor variables can be called ANCOVA (analysis of covariance) designs. Further, continuous predictors are always considered to have fixed values, but the levels of categorical predictors can be considered to be fixed or to vary randomly. Designs which contain random categorical factors are called mixed-model designs (see the Introductory Overview of the Variance Components and Mixed Model ANOVA/ANCOVA module).

Between designs may involve only a single predictor variable and therefore be described as simple (e.g., simple regression) or may employ numerous predictor variables (e.g., multiple regression).

Concerning the arrangement of predictor variables, some between designs employ only "main effect" or first-order terms for predictors, that is, the values for different predictor variables are independent and raised only to the first power. Other between designs may employ higher-order terms for predictors by raising the values for the original predictor variables to a power greater than 1 (e.g., in polynomial regression designs), or by forming products of different predictor variables (i.e., interaction terms). A common arrangement for ANOVA designs is the full-factorial design, in which every combination of levels for each of the categorical predictor variables is represented in the design. Designs with some but not all combinations of levels for each of the categorical predictor variables are aptly called fractional factorial designs. Designs with a hierarchy of combinations of levels for the different categorical predictor variables are called nested designs.

These basic distinctions about the nature, number, and arrangement of predictor variables can be used in describing a variety of different types of between designs. Some of the more common between designs can now be described.

Between-subject designs


Within-subject (repeated measures) designs


Multivariate designs


See also GLM - Index.