Statistics How To

Matched Samples: Definition, Examples

Statistics Definitions > Matched Samples

What are Matched Samples?

matched samplesMatched samples (also called matched pairs, paired samples or dependent samples) are paired up so that the participants share every characteristic except for the one under investigation. A “participant” is a member of the sample, and can be a person, object or thing. A common use for matched pairs is to assign one individual to a treatment group and another to a control group. This process, called “matching” is used in matched pairs design. The “pairs” don’t have to be different people — they could be the same individuals at different time. For example:

  • The same study participants are measured before and after an intervention.
  • The same study participants are measured twice for two different interventions.

The opposite of a matched sample is an independent sample, which deals with unrelated groups. While matched pairs are chosen deliberately, independent samples are usually chosen randomly (through simple random sampling or a similar technique).


The purpose of matched samples is to get better statistics by controlling for the effects of other “unwanted” variables. For example, if you are investigating the health effects of alcohol, you can control for age-related health effects by matching age-similar participants.


When you run a hypothesis test, you have to choose a test specifically for either independent samples or dependent (paired) samples. Paired samples can be analyzed with the following specific tests:


Need help with a homework or test question? With Chegg Study, you can get step-by-step solutions to your questions from an expert in the field. If you rather get 1:1 study help, Chegg Tutors offers 30 minutes of free tutoring to new users, so you can try them out before committing to a subscription.

If you prefer an online interactive environment to learn R and statistics, this free R Tutorial by Datacamp is a great way to get started. If you're are somewhat comfortable with R and are interested in going deeper into Statistics, try this Statistics with R track.

Comments? Need to post a correction? Please post a comment on our Facebook page.

Check out our updated Privacy policy and Cookie Policy

Matched Samples: Definition, Examples was last modified: October 12th, 2017 by Stephanie