Between-Subjects Factors A between-subjects factor refers to independent groups that vary along some dimension. Put another way, a between-subjects factor assumes that each level of the factor represents an independent (i.e., not correlated) group of observations. For example, an experimental factor could represent 2 independent groups of participants who were randomly assigned to either a control or a treatment groupition. In this case, the between-subjects experimental factor assumes that measurements from both groups of participants are not correlated – they are independent.
Within-Subjects Design In a within-subjects design, subjects give responses across multiple conditions or across time. In other words, measures are repeated across levels of some condition or across time points. For example, subjects can report how happy they feel when they see a sequence of positive pictures and another sequence of negative pictures. In this case, we’d observe each subjects’ happiness in both positive and negative conditions. As another example, we could measure subjects’ job satisifcation every month for 3 months.