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Inferences Concerning Two Means
If researchers want to compare two samples in terms of the mean scores using inferential statistics,they can utilize a confidence interval approach to the data or an approach that involves setting upand testing a null hypothesis. Whether two samples are considered to be independent or correlated
is tied to the issue of the nature of the groups before data are collected on the study’s dependent
variable. If the two groups have been assembled in such a way that a logical relationship exists between each member of the first sample and one and only one member of the second sample, thenthe two samples are correlated samples. However, if no such relationship exists, the two samplesare independent samples.Correlated samples come into existence in one of three ways. If a single group of people ismeasured twice (e.g., to provide pretest and posttest data), then a relationship exists in the data because each of the pretest scores goes with one and only one of the posttest scores, because bothcome from measuring the same research participant. A second situation that produces correlatedsamples is matching. Here, each person in the second group is recruited for the study because he orshe is a good match for a particular individual in the first group. The matching could be done interms of height, IQ, running speed, or any of a multitude of possible matching variables.The matching variable, however, is never the same as the dependent variable to be measured andthen used to compare the two samples. The third situation that produces correlated samples occurs when biological twins are split up, with one member of each pair going into the first sample and theother member going into the second group. Here, the obvious connection that ties together the twosamples is genetic similarity. When people, animals, or things are measured twice or when twin pairs are split-up, it is fairly easy to sense which scores are paired together and why such pairing exists. When a study involvesmatching, however, things are slightly more complicated, because at least two data-based variablesare involved. The data on one or more of these variables are used to create pairs of people such thatthe two members of any pair are as similar as possible on matching variables. Once the matched