In terms of experimental design, a factor is an independent categorical variable that researchers often manipulate in order to understand its influence on an outcome (dependent) variable. For example, treatment status (whether a participant is placed in the control or experimental group) can be considered a factor. Factors can also be categorical variables that the researcher cannot control, such as the biological sex of a participant. An experimental design can have more than one factor, and these factors can either be crossed or nested. Understanding the difference between crossed and nested factors is key for successful experimental research because it dictates the appropriate analysis. This entry provides an overview of nested factor designs, concluding with considerations for analysis and the benefits of utilizing ...
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