# Test to determine significance for non normal data with different variance and unequal n?

How can I find out if the differences in length and width of cut marks left in fabric are significantly different between groups (knife types)?

Groups:

KnifeType1 n=15
KnifeType2 n=15
KnifeType3 n=11
KnifeType4 n=15
KnifeType5 n=6
KnifeType6 n=4
KnifeType7 n=4
KnifeType8 n=5

I want to test length and width separately, and all measurements are in mm.

The data is not normally distributed, and the groups have very different variances; do I have to rely on Welch's t test?

I'm trying to determine if the lengths and widths of cut marks would help you determine what type of knife was used-possibly by seeing if the mean lengths and widths are sig different from each other. I'm using SPSS, and have a year of undergraduate stats.

Update I read that Welch's t test was pretty robust agains nonnormality, would it be okay to use that one and state that the normality assumption was violated?

• Can you say more about your situation? Are your variables your groups? Do you have different numbers of measurements for each study unit? Are length & width 2 different response variables? You may find it helpful to read this blog post in formulating your question. Commented Aug 22, 2012 at 17:21
• Sorry about that. I thought it was a straightforward thing, but after reading about it... Commented Aug 28, 2012 at 10:51
• After your recent edit you start your post with a question that is considerably different than the one you end up with. Whether a variable differs significantly between different groups is a very from trying to predict the group by your variables. Is the last one where you want to go?
– Erik
Commented Aug 28, 2012 at 14:52
• I see what you're saying. I just assumed that significant difference would allow me to tentatively say if one knife type goes with a length or width than the others. My question would probably be predicting groups based on variables, like you said, but that seems like it would be very complex and outside the range of what I can feasibly do on my own. Commented Aug 28, 2012 at 14:56