We consider a difference in two population means, µ1 − µ2, under the condition that the data are not paired. Just as with a single sample, we identify conditions to ensure we can use the t-distribution with a point estimate of the difference, x̄1− x̄2, and a new standard error formula. Other than these two differences, the details are almost identical to the one-mean procedures.
We apply these methods in three contexts: determining whether stem cells can improve heart function, exploring the relationship between pregnant womens’ smoking habits and birth weights of newborns, and exploring whether there is statistically significant evidence that one variation of an exam is harder than another variation. This section is motivated by questions like “Is there convincing evidence that newborns from mothers who smoke have a different average birth weight than newborns from mothers who don’t smoke?”