Optimal contrast analysis with heterogeneous variances and budget concerns

Show Li Jan, Gwowen Shieh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The omnibus test is commonly applied to evaluate the overall disparity between group means in ANOVA. Alternatively, linear contrasts are more informative in detecting specific pattern of mean differences that cannot be obtained via the omnibus test. This article concerns power and sample size calculations for contrast analysis with heterogeneous variances and budget concerns. Optimal allocation procedures for the Welch-Satterthwaite tests of standardized and unstandardized contrasts are presented to minimize the total sample size with the designated ratios, to meet a desirable power level for the least cost, and to attain the maximum power performance under a fixed cost. Currently available methods rely exclusively on simple allocation formula and direct rounding rule. The proposed allocation strategies combine the computing techniques of nonlinear optimization search and iterative screening process. Numerical assessments of a randomized control trial for the overcoming depression on the Internet are conducted to demonstrate and confirm that the approximate procedures do not guarantee optimal solution. The suggested approaches extend and outperform the existing findings in methodological soundness and overall performance. The corresponding computer algorithms are developed to implement the recommended power and sample size calculations for optimal contrast analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0214391
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
StatePublished - 26 Mar 2019

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