Use of Statistical Tools in a Development Context. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)

Case study is not yet available.

Dr. Maribel Ortego, Department of Applied Mathematics III, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

Enric Lloret, Civil engineer consultant, MSc in Technologies for Human Development candidate

Water,  sanitation  and  hygiene  (WASH)  are  essential for  health,  welfare  and  livelihoods. Increased  access  and  better  services  lead  to  higher  levels  of  school  achievement  and improved economic productivity. Yet too many people do not have these basic human rights.

Today in our world there are already 2.5 billion people lacking access to improved sanitation and 748 million people lacking access to an improved source of drinking water.  This  situation  has  been  recognized  for  many  years  and  since  2000  when  Millennium Development Goals (MDG) were set up important improvements have been done. To do so, defining and monitoring parameters and indicators has been necessary through the years. Managing that  information has  a huge  importance for  decision  making  since  undesirable tendencies could be identified and measures against those tendencies could be set up. Working with huge amounts of data requires the use of statistical tools in order to make the analysis affordable and to use these data as a decision making-tool.

In this context, the aim of this case study is that students be familiar with a statistical tool such as Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and a specific software in statistics working with real data from a survey in Mozambique.


As a result of this case study, students are expected to be able to:

Understand  the  problem  of  the  lack  of  access  to  a safe  drinking  water  source worldwide and its consequences on human development-  

Be aware of the water quantity standards needed for human development and the relationship between consummation and distance to the source of water   

Know the difference between a safe and an unsafe drinking water source   

Know and use the Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and Regression techniques as a statistical tools to be applied to analyze data   

Apply statistics analysis to a real survey of data by using a specialized statistics software


ANOVA is one of the basic statistical tools. ANOVA can be used in different ways (for a single or multiple factors).  The proposed two activities allow students to understand how ANOVA for a single factor works. In the class activity students will work in groups of 3-4 people after some basic theoretical concepts are introduced by the lecturer. After this group work, a discussion will be set up and results and conclusions put in common. An individual activity is proposed as homework in order to consolidate learning.

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