Two sample t test  equal variances not assumed  overview
This page offers structured overviews of one or more selected methods. Add additional methods for comparisons by clicking on the dropdown button in the righthand column. To practice with a specific method click the button at the bottom row of the table
Two sample $t$ test  equal variances not assumed  MannWhitneyWilcoxon test 


Independent/grouping variable  Independent/grouping variable  
One categorical with 2 independent groups  One categorical with 2 independent groups  
Dependent variable  Dependent variable  
One quantitative of interval or ratio level  One of ordinal level  
Null hypothesis  Null hypothesis  
H_{0}: $\mu_1 = \mu_2$
Here $\mu_1$ is the population mean for group 1, and $\mu_2$ is the population mean for group 2.  If the dependent variable is measured on a continuous scale and the shape of the distribution of the dependent variable is the same in both populations:
Formulation 1:
 
Alternative hypothesis  Alternative hypothesis  
H_{1} two sided: $\mu_1 \neq \mu_2$ H_{1} right sided: $\mu_1 > \mu_2$ H_{1} left sided: $\mu_1 < \mu_2$  If the dependent variable is measured on a continuous scale and the shape of the distribution of the dependent variable is the same in both populations:
Formulation 1:
 
Assumptions  Assumptions  

 
Test statistic  Test statistic  
$t = \dfrac{(\bar{y}_1  \bar{y}_2)  0}{\sqrt{\dfrac{s^2_1}{n_1} + \dfrac{s^2_2}{n_2}}} = \dfrac{\bar{y}_1  \bar{y}_2}{\sqrt{\dfrac{s^2_1}{n_1} + \dfrac{s^2_2}{n_2}}}$
Here $\bar{y}_1$ is the sample mean in group 1, $\bar{y}_2$ is the sample mean in group 2, $s^2_1$ is the sample variance in group 1, $s^2_2$ is the sample variance in group 2, $n_1$ is the sample size of group 1, and $n_2$ is the sample size of group 2. The 0 represents the difference in population means according to the null hypothesis. The denominator $\sqrt{\frac{s^2_1}{n_1} + \frac{s^2_2}{n_2}}$ is the standard error of the sampling distribution of $\bar{y}_1  \bar{y}_2$. The $t$ value indicates how many standard errors $\bar{y}_1  \bar{y}_2$ is removed from 0. Note: we could just as well compute $\bar{y}_2  \bar{y}_1$ in the numerator, but then the left sided alternative becomes $\mu_2 < \mu_1$, and the right sided alternative becomes $\mu_2 > \mu_1$.  Two different types of test statistics can be used; both will result in the same test outcome. The first is the Wilcoxon rank sum statistic $W$:
Note: we could just as well base W and U on group 2. This would only 'flip' the right and left sided alternative hypotheses. Also, tables with critical values for $U$ are often based on the smaller of $U$ for group 1 and for group 2.  
Sampling distribution of $t$ if H_{0} were true  Sampling distribution of $W$ and of $U$ if H_{0} were true  
Approximately the $t$ distribution with $k$ degrees of freedom, with $k$ equal to $k = \dfrac{\Bigg(\dfrac{s^2_1}{n_1} + \dfrac{s^2_2}{n_2}\Bigg)^2}{\dfrac{1}{n_1  1} \Bigg(\dfrac{s^2_1}{n_1}\Bigg)^2 + \dfrac{1}{n_2  1} \Bigg(\dfrac{s^2_2}{n_2}\Bigg)^2}$ or $k$ = the smaller of $n_1$  1 and $n_2$  1 First definition of $k$ is used by computer programs, second definition is often used for hand calculations.  Sampling distribution of $W$:
Sampling distribution of $U$: For small samples, the exact distribution of $W$ or $U$ should be used. Note: if ties are present in the data, the formula for the standard deviations $\sigma_W$ and $\sigma_U$ is more complicated.  
Significant?  Significant?  
Two sided:
 For large samples, the table for standard normal probabilities can be used: Two sided:
 
Approximate $C\%$ confidence interval for $\mu_1  \mu_2$  n.a.  
$(\bar{y}_1  \bar{y}_2) \pm t^* \times \sqrt{\dfrac{s^2_1}{n_1} + \dfrac{s^2_2}{n_2}}$
where the critical value $t^*$ is the value under the $t_{k}$ distribution with the area $C / 100$ between $t^*$ and $t^*$ (e.g. $t^*$ = 2.086 for a 95% confidence interval when df = 20). The confidence interval for $\mu_1  \mu_2$ can also be used as significance test.    
Visual representation  n.a.  
  
n.a.  Equivalent to  
  If there are no ties in the data, the two sided MannWhitneyWilcoxon test is equivalent to the KruskalWallis test with an independent variable with 2 levels ($I$ = 2).  
Example context  Example context  
Is the average mental health score different between men and women?  Do men tend to score higher on social economic status than women?  
SPSS  SPSS  
Analyze > Compare Means > IndependentSamples T Test...
 Analyze > Nonparametric Tests > Legacy Dialogs > 2 Independent Samples...
 
Jamovi  Jamovi  
TTests > Independent Samples TTest
 TTests > Independent Samples TTest
 
Practice questions  Practice questions  