Data analysis using multiple regression analysis is a fairly common tool used in statistics. Many people find this too complicated to understand. In reality, however, this is not that difficult to do especially with the use of computers.
How is multiple regression analysis done? This article explains this very useful statistical test when dealing with multiple variables then provides an example to demonstrate how it works.
Multiple regression analysis is a powerful statistical test used in finding the relationship between a given dependent variable and a set of independent variables. The use of multiple regression analysis requires a dedicated statistical software like the popular Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), Statistica, Microstat, among other sophisticated statistical packages. It will be near impossible to do the calculations manually.
However, a common spreadsheet application like Microsoft Excel can help you compute and model the relationship between the dependent variable and a set of predictor or independent variables. But you cannot do this without activating first the set of statistical tools that ship with MS Excel. To activate the add-in for multiple regression analysis in MS Excel, view the Youtube tutorial below.
Example of a Research Using Multiple Regression Analysis
I will illustrate the use of multiple regression by citing the actual research activity that my graduate students undertook two years ago. The study pertains to the identification of the factors predicting a current problem among high school students, that is, the long hours they spend online for a variety of reasons. The purpose is to address the concern of many parents on their difficulty of weaning their children away from the lures of online gaming, social networking, and other interesting virtual activities.
Upon reviewing the literature, the graduate students discovered that there were very few studies conducted on the subject matter. Studies on problems associated with internet use are still in its infancy.
The brief study using multiple regression is a broad study or analysis of the reasons or underlying factors that significantly relate to the number of hours devoted by high school students in using the Internet. The regression analysis is broad in the sense that it only focuses on the total number of hours devoted by high school students to activities online. The time they spent online was correlated with their personal profile. The students’ profile consisted of more than two independent variables; hence the term “multiple”. The independent variables are age, gender, relationship with the mother, and relationship with the father.
The statement of the problem in this study is:
“Is there a significant relationship between the total number of hours spent online and the students’ age, gender, relationship with their mother, and relationship with their father?”
The relationship with their parents was gauged using a scale of 1 to 10; 1 being a poor relationship, and 10 being the best experience with parents. The figure below shows the paradigm of the study.
Notice that in multiple regression studies such as this, there is only one dependent variable involved. That is the total number of hours spent by high school students online. Although many studies have identified factors that influence the use of the internet, it is standard practice to include the profile of the respondents among the set of predictor or independent variables.
Hence, the common variables age and gender are included in the multiple regression analysis. Also, among the set of variables that may influence internet use, only the relationship between children and their parents were tested. The intention is to find out if parents spend quality time to establish strong emotional bonds between them and their children.
Findings of the Study
What are the findings of this exploratory study? The multiple regression analysis revealed an interesting finding.
The number of hours spent online relates significantly to the number of hours spent by a parent, specifically the mother, with her child. These two factors are inversely or negatively correlated. The relationship means that the greater the number of hours spent by the mother with her child to establish a closer emotional bond, the lesser the number of hours spent by her child in using the internet. The number of hours spent online relates significantly to the number of hours spent by the mother with her child
The number of hours spent online relates significantly to the number of hours spent by the mother with her child
While this may be a significant finding, the mother-child bond accounts for only a small percentage of the variance in total hours spent by the child online. This observation means that there are other factors that need to be addressed to resolve the problem of long waking hours and abandonment of serious study of lessons by children. But establishing a close bond between mother and child is a good start.
The above example of multiple regression analysis demonstrates that the statistical tool is useful in predicting the behavior of dependent variables. In the above case, this is the number of hours spent by students online.
The identification of significant predictors can help determine the correct intervention resolve the problem. The use of multiple regression approaches prevents unnecessary costs for remedies that do not address an issue or a problem.
Thus, in general, research employing multiple regression analysis streamlines solutions and brings into focus those influential factors that must be given attention.
©2012 November 11 Patrick Regoniel