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In my research I'm comparing the variance of a method and I would like to describe the overall variance between individuals and the variance of the replicates of these individuals.

Things like 'comparing the intra-individual variance and between-individual variance' seems to get people confused. I would like to make a short brief notice of this without having to go to much in details about the experiment.

What would be a way of describing this setting more clearly but still within if possible one sentence?

To clarify: I have 10.000 measurements for 60 individuals. For each measurement I could calculate for example the standard deviation as a method of variance. I also have 5 replicate measurements per individual. I could calculate the standard deviation for each of the 10.000 measurement in the replicates. So now I have the variance of the measurement when looking in a population AND I have the variance when looking at replicates. When you would now have to describe these 2 types of variance in a single sentence how would you do that without going into to much details?

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  • $\begingroup$ Hello Sander. I'm sorry but I don't really understand what you're exactly asking, I'm voting to close it as not a real question. You can edit the question (even when already closed) and if it gets within the standards, it will be voted to be reopened. $\endgroup$ – Alenanno Jul 21 '11 at 10:41
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry to hear that Alennano, in what way should I try to make myself more clear? I was hoping that within the English language there would be a better way to define variance within an entity and between entities without having to use to much details. $\endgroup$ – Sander Jul 21 '11 at 10:57
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure, you could try schematising your question. But let's see if others agree with me or not, maybe it's just me. :) $\endgroup$ – Alenanno Jul 21 '11 at 11:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Sander: perhaps an example for illustration would make your question clearer (for example, a sample of a method)? Is variance as in statistics? If it is, what is it that is measured for each individuals? What is a replicate of an individual? $\endgroup$ – Peter Mortensen Jul 21 '11 at 11:40
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    $\begingroup$ @Kit: Writers? what would they know about statistics? (or here for that matter). This is a question about technical localized vocabulary. It is a great question for statistics.SE (where they 'own' such terminology) $\endgroup$ – Mitch Jul 21 '11 at 13:49
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As I understand the question, it is a matter of comparing the variance of an individual across multiple repeated instances and the variance of one instance across multiple individuals. If so, then I think the terms group variance and individual variance succinctly express the desired meanings.

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In addition to @rubergly's excellent suggestions, which are commonly seen in research fields, you might consider within-subjects variance and between-subjects variance. This terminology was common when I worked in experimental psychology, but may have fallen out of favor with the push to turn human 'subjects' into 'participants.' Of course, if you are talking about non-human subjects, then it would still be very appropriate.

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  • $\begingroup$ While I don't doubt that between-subjects variance is commonly used, I suspect that among-subjects variance is preferred for groups larger than 2. However, this does sound a little unwieldy, so I'm wondering if the normal between/among rule applies here. $\endgroup$ – rubergly Jul 21 '11 at 21:37
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    $\begingroup$ @rubergly I agree that among-subjects would be more grammatically proper, but I have never heard it in an experimental science context. I've only ever heard/used between-subjects. $\endgroup$ – Kit Jul 21 '11 at 23:08

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