Learning about statistics is a lot like learning about science: the learning is more meaningful if you can actively explore. This tenth installment of Explorations in Statistics explores the analysis of a potential change in some physiological response. As researchers, we often express absolute change as percent change so we can account for different initial values of the response. But this creates a problem: percent change is really just a ratio, and a ratio is infamous for its ability to mislead. This means we may fail to find a group difference that does exist, or we may find a group difference that does not exist. What kind of an approach to science is that? In contrast, analysis of covariance is versatile: it can accommodate an analysis of the relationship between absolute change and initial value when percent change is useless.
Keywords: absolute change; analysis of covariance; ordinary least-squares regression; percent change; symmetrized percent change.
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