What is Regression Analysis?

What is Regression Analysis?

In statistical modeling, regression analysis is a set of statistical processes for estimating the relationships between a dependent variable (often called the ‘outcome’ or ‘response’ variable, or a ‘label’ in machine learning parlance) and one or more independent variables (often called ‘predictors’, ‘covariates’, ‘explanatory variables’ or ‘features’).

The most common form of regression analysis is linear regression, in which one finds the line (or a more complex linear combination) that most closely fits the data according to a specific mathematical criterion. For example, the method of ordinary least squares computes the unique line (or hyperplane) that minimizes the sum of squared differences between the true data and that line (or hyperplane).

For specific mathematical reasons (see linear regression), this allows the researcher to estimate the conditional expectation (or population average value) of the dependent variable when the independent variables take on a given set of values.

Less common forms of regression use slightly different procedures to estimate alternative location parameters (e.g., quantile regression or Necessary Condition Analysis)or estimate the conditional expectation across a broader collection of non-linear models (e.g., nonparametric regression).

Regression analysis is primarily used for two conceptually distinct purposes.

Regression Analysis – Linear Model Assumptions

Linear regression analysis is based on six fundamental assumptions:

The dependent and independent variables show a linear relationship between the slope and the intercept.

  • The independent variable is not random.
  • The value of the residual (error) is zero.
  • The value of the residual (error) is constant across all observations.
  • The value of the residual (error) is not correlated across all observations.
  • The residual (error) values follow the normal distribution.
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Regression Analysis – Simple Linear Regression

Simple linear regression is a model that assesses the relationship between a dependent variable and an independent variable. The simple linear model is expressed using the following equation:

Y = a + bX + ϵ


  • Y – Dependent variable
  • X – Independent (explanatory) variable
  • a – Intercept
  • b – Slope
  • ϵ – Residual (error)

Regression Analysis – Multiple Linear Regression

Multiple linear regression analysis is essentially similar to the simple linear model, with the exception that multiple independent variables are used in the model. The mathematical representation of multiple linear regression is:

Y = a + bX1 + cX2 + dX3 + ϵ


  • Y – Dependent variable
  • X1, X2, X3 – Independent (explanatory) variables
  • a – Intercept
  • b, c, d – Slopes
  • ϵ – Residual (error)

Multiple linear regression follows the same conditions as the simple linear model. However, since there are several independent variables in multiple linear analysis, there is another mandatory condition for the model:

  • Non-collinearity: Independent variables should show a minimum correlation with each other. If the independent variables are highly correlated with each other, it will be difficult to assess the true relationships between the dependent and independent variables.