Fisher and the Analysis of Variance

  • William G. Cochran
Part of the Lecture Notes in Statistics book series (LNS, volume 1)


The development of the analysis of variance and many of its applications is one of the main evidences of Fisher’s genius. In this lecture I have described some of Fisher’s papers on analysis of variance that particularly interested me. The first paper on this topic (with W.A. Mackenzie) appeared in 1923 [CP 32]. Two aspects of this paper are of historical interest. At that time Fisher did not fully understand the rules of the analysis of variance — his analysis is wrong — nor the role of randomization. Secondly, although the analysis of variance is closely tied to additive models, Fisher rejects the additive model in his first analysis of variance, proceeding to a multiplicative model as more reasonable.


Null Distribution Potassium Sulphate Binomial Data Sulphate Chloride Root Scale 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1980

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  • William G. Cochran

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