For instance, I have such data:

PatientID    marker1 marker2 marker3 marker4
1             10%      25%    25%     40%
2             20%      15%    10%     45%
3             15%      20%    25%     40%
4             25%      25%    20%     30%

Each patient tissue is tested for four different but markers. The data points for each marker is the percentage of it among the four markers. So, each four data points add up to 100%.

Given such data, for instance, I might compare these four groups using ANOVA or T-test for each of them combined with Bonferroni correction? But what to do to deal with the dependent observations as four percentages added up to 100% for each individual.

The reason I did not write my goal or specific research question regarding these data points is not because I don't have any one, is only because I don't want to limit the freedom of thinking of data due to my fixed problem question (for instance, I only want to see the differences between marker1 and marker2, etc.) Therefore, any good idea to play with data is welcome.

  • $\begingroup$ One use ANOVA and t-test usually in a situation when comparing few groups of cases. It seems that here you don't have groups, but four continuous variables. I believe it is rather linear model that you should use. Could you clarify this, please? $\endgroup$
    – PtrZlnk
    Apr 14 '17 at 13:00
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ "Deal with" is rather vague. Some clarity on what your hypothesis is would be helpful. $\endgroup$
    – Ashe
    Apr 14 '17 at 13:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You should not ask "I have this data, what can I do with it?" Instead, you should tell us what you want to do and what your specific question is. $\endgroup$
    – Peter Flom
    Apr 14 '17 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ @PeterFlom Why I start my question like this is only because I suppose if I have such data in my future project, and I need to work out a story based on these data in order to complete a manuscript if possible. So, just to play with it to think of some good ideas how to use these data and how to analyze correctly. Is my point clear for you? Of course, thank you for your comment and your time. $\endgroup$
    – juanli
    Apr 14 '17 at 15:01
  • $\begingroup$ @PeterFlom Now I am wondering if it will be very fun and brainstorming as well to make up a good story about a group of data (some strange data probably). It's my routine research work daily. Very enjoyable. $\endgroup$
    – juanli
    Apr 14 '17 at 15:10

This kind of data is known as compositional data, and you might find this interesting summary of transformation techniques to be helpful. You designate one of the markers as the baseline and it won't be used directly in any analysis, though you can back out its results in the end.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I will definitely look into this so-called "compositional data". Many thanks. $\endgroup$
    – juanli
    Apr 14 '17 at 15:07

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