In engineering, science, and statistics, replication is the repetition of an experimental condition so that the variability associated with the phenomenon can be estimated. ASTM, in standard E1847, defines replication as "the repetition of the set of all the treatment combinations to be compared in an experiment. Each of the repetitions is called a replicate."
For proper sampling, a process or batch of products should be in reasonable statistical control; inherent random variation is present but variation due to assignable (special) causes is not. Evaluation or testing of a single item does not allow for item-to-item variation and may not represent the batch or process. Replication is needed to account for this variation among items and treatments.
As an example, consider a continuous process which produces items. Batches of items are then processed or treated. Finally, tests or measurements are conducted. Several options might be available to obtain ten test values. Some possibilities are:
Each option would call for different data analysis methods and yield different conclusions.
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