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The t-test is used to determine if the means of two groups are significantly different (Trochim, 2006).  An independent samples t-test is used to compare the means of two unrelated groups to determine if they are statistically different (Laerd Statistics, 2018).  When using an independent samples t-test, one variable must be categorical and the other variable must be continuous (Laerd Statistics, 2018).  Paired samples t-tests are used to compare the means of two groups are in some way related (Statistics Help for Students, 2008).  Pairs of samples can be related if the researcher is using a repeated measures design.  A repeated measures design is used when the participants in the first group are also the participants used in the second group.  The two groups are related if the participants in the first group are genetically related to participants in the second group.  Groups can also be related if participants in the first group are matched with participants in the second group based on a particular attribute.  The variables used in the study should also be numeric and continuous (Statistics Help for Students, 2008).

-Kaitlin Walmer


Laerd Statistics. (2018). Independent t-test for two samples. Retrieved from:

Statistics Help for Students. (2008). What are t-tests for independent and paired samples?. Retrieved from: http://statistics-help-for-


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