In general,
the purpose of analysis of variance (ANOVA) is to test for significant
differences between means. Elementary Concepts provides
a brief introduction into the basics of statistical significance testing. If we
are only comparing two means, then ANOVA will give the same results as the ttest
for independent samples (if we are comparing two different groups of cases or
observations), or the ttest for dependent samples (if we are comparing two
variables in one set of cases or observations).
Why the name analysis of variance? It may seem odd to you
that a procedure that compares means is called analysis of variance. However,
this name is derived from the fact that in order to test for statistical
significance between means, we are actually comparing (i.e., analyzing)
variances.
