Data methods in optometry. Part 6: fitting a regression line to data

Richard A. Armstrong, Frank Eperjesi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


1. Fitting a linear regression to data provides much more information about the relationship between two variables than a simple correlation test. A goodness of fit test of the line should always be carried out. Hence, r squared estimates the strength of the relationship between Y and X, ANOVA whether a statistically significant line is present, and the ‘t’ test whether the slope of the line is significantly different from zero. 2. Always check whether the data collected fit the assumptions for regression analysis and, if not, whether a transformation of the Y and/or X variables is necessary. 3. If the regression line is to be used for prediction, it is important to determine whether the prediction involves an individual y value or a mean. Care should be taken if predictions are made close to the extremities of the data and are subject to considerable error if x falls beyond the range of the data. Multiple predictions require correction of the P values. 3. If several individual regression lines have been calculated from a number of similar sets of data, consider whether they should be combined to form a single regression line. 4. If the data exhibit a degree of curvature, then fitting a higher-order polynomial curve may provide a better fit than a straight line. In this case, a test of whether the data depart significantly from a linear regression should be carried out.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-51
Number of pages4
JournalOptometry Today
Issue numberJune
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2006


  • correlation methods
  • analysis of clinical problems
  • optometry
  • Pearson’s correlation coefficient
  • linear relationship
  • regression line


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