Re-examination of the coefficient of determination (r2) using road materials engineering case studies

Tom J. Waters, Paul J. Vardanega

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

11 Citations (Scopus)


The analysis of scientific data is integral to materials engineering and science. The correlation between measured variables is often quantified by estimating the coefficient of determination or the r2 value. This is the recognised procedure for determining linear relationships. The authors review the derivation of the r2 value and derive an associated quantity, termed the relative deviation (RD), which is the ratio of the root mean square of the deviations about the fitted line to the root mean square of the deviations about the y bar line expressed as a percentage. The relative deviation has an advantage over the coefficient of determination in that it has greater numerical sensitivity to changes in the spread of data about the fitted line, especially when the scatter is small. In addition, the relative deviation is able to define, in percentage terms, the reduction in scatter when different independent variables are correlated with a common dependent variable. Four case studies in the materials field (aggregate crushing value, Atterberg limits, permeability and creep of asphalt) from work carried out at the Queensland Main Roads Department are presented to show the use of the new parameter RD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-11
Number of pages9
JournalRoad and Transport Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009

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