Determining Significant Effects in 2^{k} Designs with a
Single Replicate
[Editor's Note: This article has been updated
since its original publication to reflect a more recent
version of the software interface.]
Design of Experiments (DOE) is a systematic approach to
experimentation that is used to investigate how various
inputs (or factors) affect an output (or response) of
interest. One of the useful results of the statistical
analysis performed in a DOE is whether an investigated factor's
effect on the response is
significant. In order to do that, replicated runs are
required. That means that all the combinations of factor
levels (treatments) should be performed more than once.
However, in many experiments running replicates of an experiment is not
feasible due to a lack of time or resources.
In this article we will present three methodologies
that can be applied in the case of 2^{k}
designs (where each factor has only two levels) to allow us to test for the significance of an effect
without replicated runs.
Those methodologies are:
 Normal probability plot of
effects
 Pooling higher order interactions
 Using center point replicates
Introduction
In order to test for the significance of a factor or
an effect, we use Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and
hypothesis tests. ANOVA is the procedure of splitting
the variance of the response measurements into the
variance caused by each factor and the variance caused
by noise. The variance caused by factor A, for example, is
represented by the factor sum of squares (SSA) and the
variance caused by noise is represented by the error sum
of squares (SSE). Once we have these two variances, we
can calculate a test statistic that will be used in
performing the hypothesis tests. The test
statistic is based on the F distribution and is given
by:
In the case of experiments with a single replicate,
we do not have enough observations to calculate the
error sum of squares. This is because we are essentially
fitting a line to two observations, as shown in Figure
1.
Figure 1: Fitting a
Line to
Observations With and Without Replicates
Since we cannot calculate SSE, we also cannot
calculate the test statistic; as a result, we cannot
perform the hypothesis test in order to determine the
significance of the factor.
Method 1: Normal Probability Plot of Effects
One methodology for identifying significant effects is
constructing the normal probability plot of effects. The
idea behind this methodology is that all nonsignificant
effects will fall along the straight line representative
of the normal distribution, N(0,σ^{2}/2^{k}∙m), where
m is the number of
replicates. However, in the case of unreplicated 2^{k}
designs, σ^{2} is unknown since SSE cannot be computed. In
this case, we use Lenth’s method to estimate the variance
of the effects. Under this methodology the estimated
variance or the pseudo standard error (PSE) is
calculated as 1.5 times the median value of all effects
that are less than 2.5∙s_{0}:
where s_{0} is 1.5 times the median of all effects.
Now given this estimate of variance, the normal
probability line is the line N(0,PSE) and all the effects that
show large deviations from this line will be
significant.
Example 1
A team of engineers in a semiconductor fab that manufactures
wafers is setting up a DOE to determine which factors
affect the thickness of the wafers. Four factors are
suspected to have a significant effect on the thickness,
therefore a 2^{4} design is chosen. Table 1 shows the four
factors and the chosen levels for each factor.*
Table 1: The Four Factors and
their Levels
Factor 
Low 
High 
Temperature 
450 
500 
Time 
5 
8 
Pressure 
10 
20 
Gas Flow 
100 
150 
Because of time constraints, only one replicate of the
experiment can be run. Figure 2 shows the experiment
design and the measured response values as entered in
DOE++.
Figure 2: Experiment Design
Since the experiment contains only one replicate, the
significance of the effects to the response cannot be
determined. Figure 3 shows the results of the analysis
with all the individual terms selected to be displayed,
where it can be seen that no hypothesis tests were
performed (i.e., the F Ratio and P Value columns
are not populated).
Figure 3: ANOVA Table of
the Experiment Data
However, using Lenth’s method, a normal probability
plot can be constructed and the effects that do not fall
on the normal probability line can be deemed significant. Figure 4 shows the normal probability plot
of the effects.
Figure 4: Normal
Probability Plot of Effects
As the plot shows, the three main
effects Temperature, Time and Pressure, as well as the
interaction effects of Temperature/Pressure and
Temperature/Time are determined to be significant.
Method 2: Pooling Higher Order Interactions
In general, higher order interactions can be assumed
to be insignificant. Therefore, interactions between
three or more factors can be dropped from the model. As
a result, the sum of squares of those higher order
interactions can be used as the error sum of squares.
Example 2
Consider the same experiment that was described in
the previous example. The team of engineers has made the
assumption that only effects up to twoway interactions
are important and that higher order interactions can be
dropped from the model. Figure 5 shows how the higher
order interactions can be excluded from the model in
DOE++.
Figure 5: Selecting Effects to Be Included in the Model
Once the higher order interactions have been removed,
their sum of squares can be used as the error sum of
squares and the hypothesis tests can be performed.
Figure 6 shows the results of the analysis.
Figure 6: ANOVA Table After
Removing Higher Order Interactions
Removing the higher
order interactions from the model introduces a Lack
of Fit error, since the model is now not a
complete model. The sum of squares of the lack of fit
error is now used to perform the hypothesis tests and
calculate the p values that determine whether an effect
is significant or not. The ANOVA table indicates that
the Temperature, Time and Pressure, as well as the
interactions between Temperature/Time and
Temperature/Pressure are the significant effects (shown in red).
Method 3: Using Center Point Replicates
Another method that can be used to estimate the error
sum of squares is to perform a few runs at the center
point. The center point is a treatment where all factors
are set exactly midway between their two levels.
Obviously, in order to have runs at the center point,
all factors need to be quantitative since there is no
midpoint for a qualitative factor. The replicates at
the center point can then provide an estimate of the
pure error used to perform the hypothesis tests. The sum
of squares of pure error is calculated as:
where:

is the measured response at each center point.

is the average of all responses at the center point.
Another benefit of using center point replicates
is the ability to test for the presence of curvature. If curvature
is found to be present, it would indicate that a higher
order model might be necessary to accurately represent the
response.
Example 3
Consider again
the same scenario described in Example 1. The team of
engineers has now decided to perform five runs at the
center point. The design of the experiment and the
measured response values are shown in Figure 7.
Figure 7: Experiment Design with
Center Points
The
center points are indicated with a zero in the Point Type
column and each factor is set at the midpoint of its two
levels. The results of the analysis are shown in Figure
8.
Figure 8: ANOVA Table
for Experiment with Center Points
The measurements at the center point
have introduced a pure error that is used in the
calculation of the p value. In addition, the ANOVA table
indicates that the curvature is not significant, so the
order of the model that is being used is appropriate.
Again, the significant effects are found to be
Temperature, Time and Pressure, as well as the interactions between
Temperature/Time and Temperature/Pressure.
* The figures in this example are
for demonstration purposes only and are not intended to
be realistic.
References
[1]
ReliaSoft Corporation, Experiment Design and Analysis
Reference, Tucson, AZ: ReliaSoft Publishing, 2008.
