## Hypothesis Testing

Hypothesis testing is a tool for making statistical inferences about the population data. It is an analysis tool that tests assumptions and determines how likely something is within a given standard of accuracy. Hypothesis testing provides a way to verify whether the results of an experiment are valid.

A null hypothesis and an alternative hypothesis are set up before performing the hypothesis testing. This helps to arrive at a conclusion regarding the sample obtained from the population. In this article, we will learn more about hypothesis testing, its types, steps to perform the testing, and associated examples.

## What is Hypothesis Testing in Statistics?

Hypothesis testing uses sample data from the population to draw useful conclusions regarding the population probability distribution . It tests an assumption made about the data using different types of hypothesis testing methodologies. The hypothesis testing results in either rejecting or not rejecting the null hypothesis.

## Hypothesis Testing Definition

Hypothesis testing can be defined as a statistical tool that is used to identify if the results of an experiment are meaningful or not. It involves setting up a null hypothesis and an alternative hypothesis. These two hypotheses will always be mutually exclusive. This means that if the null hypothesis is true then the alternative hypothesis is false and vice versa. An example of hypothesis testing is setting up a test to check if a new medicine works on a disease in a more efficient manner.

## Null Hypothesis

The null hypothesis is a concise mathematical statement that is used to indicate that there is no difference between two possibilities. In other words, there is no difference between certain characteristics of data. This hypothesis assumes that the outcomes of an experiment are based on chance alone. It is denoted as \(H_{0}\). Hypothesis testing is used to conclude if the null hypothesis can be rejected or not. Suppose an experiment is conducted to check if girls are shorter than boys at the age of 5. The null hypothesis will say that they are the same height.

## Alternative Hypothesis

The alternative hypothesis is an alternative to the null hypothesis. It is used to show that the observations of an experiment are due to some real effect. It indicates that there is a statistical significance between two possible outcomes and can be denoted as \(H_{1}\) or \(H_{a}\). For the above-mentioned example, the alternative hypothesis would be that girls are shorter than boys at the age of 5.

## Hypothesis Testing P Value

In hypothesis testing, the p value is used to indicate whether the results obtained after conducting a test are statistically significant or not. It also indicates the probability of making an error in rejecting or not rejecting the null hypothesis.This value is always a number between 0 and 1. The p value is compared to an alpha level, \(\alpha\) or significance level. The alpha level can be defined as the acceptable risk of incorrectly rejecting the null hypothesis. The alpha level is usually chosen between 1% to 5%.

## Hypothesis Testing Critical region

All sets of values that lead to rejecting the null hypothesis lie in the critical region. Furthermore, the value that separates the critical region from the non-critical region is known as the critical value.

## Hypothesis Testing Formula

Depending upon the type of data available and the size, different types of hypothesis testing are used to determine whether the null hypothesis can be rejected or not. The hypothesis testing formula for some important test statistics are given below:

- z = \(\frac{\overline{x}-\mu}{\frac{\sigma}{\sqrt{n}}}\). \(\overline{x}\) is the sample mean, \(\mu\) is the population mean, \(\sigma\) is the population standard deviation and n is the size of the sample.
- t = \(\frac{\overline{x}-\mu}{\frac{s}{\sqrt{n}}}\). s is the sample standard deviation.
- \(\chi ^{2} = \sum \frac{(O_{i}-E_{i})^{2}}{E_{i}}\). \(O_{i}\) is the observed value and \(E_{i}\) is the expected value.

We will learn more about these test statistics in the upcoming section.

## Types of Hypothesis Testing

Selecting the correct test for performing hypothesis testing can be confusing. These tests are used to determine a test statistic on the basis of which the null hypothesis can either be rejected or not rejected. Some of the important tests used for hypothesis testing are given below.

## Hypothesis Testing Z Test

A z test is a way of hypothesis testing that is used for a large sample size (n ≥ 30). It is used to determine whether there is a difference between the population mean and the sample mean when the population standard deviation is known. It can also be used to compare the mean of two samples. It is used to compute the z test statistic. The formulas are given as follows:

- One sample: z = \(\frac{\overline{x}-\mu}{\frac{\sigma}{\sqrt{n}}}\).
- Two samples: z = \(\frac{(\overline{x_{1}}-\overline{x_{2}})-(\mu_{1}-\mu_{2})}{\sqrt{\frac{\sigma_{1}^{2}}{n_{1}}+\frac{\sigma_{2}^{2}}{n_{2}}}}\).

## Hypothesis Testing t Test

The t test is another method of hypothesis testing that is used for a small sample size (n < 30). It is also used to compare the sample mean and population mean. However, the population standard deviation is not known. Instead, the sample standard deviation is known. The mean of two samples can also be compared using the t test.

- One sample: t = \(\frac{\overline{x}-\mu}{\frac{s}{\sqrt{n}}}\).
- Two samples: t = \(\frac{(\overline{x_{1}}-\overline{x_{2}})-(\mu_{1}-\mu_{2})}{\sqrt{\frac{s_{1}^{2}}{n_{1}}+\frac{s_{2}^{2}}{n_{2}}}}\).

## Hypothesis Testing Chi Square

The Chi square test is a hypothesis testing method that is used to check whether the variables in a population are independent or not. It is used when the test statistic is chi-squared distributed.

## One Tailed Hypothesis Testing

One tailed hypothesis testing is done when the rejection region is only in one direction. It can also be known as directional hypothesis testing because the effects can be tested in one direction only. This type of testing is further classified into the right tailed test and left tailed test.

Right Tailed Hypothesis Testing

The right tail test is also known as the upper tail test. This test is used to check whether the population parameter is greater than some value. The null and alternative hypotheses for this test are given as follows:

\(H_{0}\): The population parameter is ≤ some value

\(H_{1}\): The population parameter is > some value.

If the test statistic has a greater value than the critical value then the null hypothesis is rejected

Left Tailed Hypothesis Testing

The left tail test is also known as the lower tail test. It is used to check whether the population parameter is less than some value. The hypotheses for this hypothesis testing can be written as follows:

\(H_{0}\): The population parameter is ≥ some value

\(H_{1}\): The population parameter is < some value.

The null hypothesis is rejected if the test statistic has a value lesser than the critical value.

## Two Tailed Hypothesis Testing

In this hypothesis testing method, the critical region lies on both sides of the sampling distribution. It is also known as a non - directional hypothesis testing method. The two-tailed test is used when it needs to be determined if the population parameter is assumed to be different than some value. The hypotheses can be set up as follows:

\(H_{0}\): the population parameter = some value

\(H_{1}\): the population parameter ≠ some value

The null hypothesis is rejected if the test statistic has a value that is not equal to the critical value.

## Hypothesis Testing Steps

Hypothesis testing can be easily performed in five simple steps. The most important step is to correctly set up the hypotheses and identify the right method for hypothesis testing. The basic steps to perform hypothesis testing are as follows:

- Step 1: Set up the null hypothesis by correctly identifying whether it is the left-tailed, right-tailed, or two-tailed hypothesis testing.
- Step 2: Set up the alternative hypothesis.
- Step 3: Choose the correct significance level, \(\alpha\), and find the critical value.
- Step 4: Calculate the correct test statistic (z, t or \(\chi\)) and p-value.
- Step 5: Compare the test statistic with the critical value or compare the p-value with \(\alpha\) to arrive at a conclusion. In other words, decide if the null hypothesis is to be rejected or not.

## Hypothesis Testing Example

The best way to solve a problem on hypothesis testing is by applying the 5 steps mentioned in the previous section. Suppose a researcher claims that the mean average weight of men is greater than 100kgs with a standard deviation of 15kgs. 30 men are chosen with an average weight of 112.5 Kgs. Using hypothesis testing, check if there is enough evidence to support the researcher's claim. The confidence interval is given as 95%.

Step 1: This is an example of a right-tailed test. Set up the null hypothesis as \(H_{0}\): \(\mu\) = 100.

Step 2: The alternative hypothesis is given by \(H_{1}\): \(\mu\) > 100.

Step 3: As this is a one-tailed test, \(\alpha\) = 100% - 95% = 5%. This can be used to determine the critical value.

1 - \(\alpha\) = 1 - 0.05 = 0.95

0.95 gives the required area under the curve. Now using a normal distribution table, the area 0.95 is at z = 1.645. A similar process can be followed for a t-test. The only additional requirement is to calculate the degrees of freedom given by n - 1.

Step 4: Calculate the z test statistic. This is because the sample size is 30. Furthermore, the sample and population means are known along with the standard deviation.

z = \(\frac{\overline{x}-\mu}{\frac{\sigma}{\sqrt{n}}}\).

\(\mu\) = 100, \(\overline{x}\) = 112.5, n = 30, \(\sigma\) = 15

z = \(\frac{112.5-100}{\frac{15}{\sqrt{30}}}\) = 4.56

Step 5: Conclusion. As 4.56 > 1.645 thus, the null hypothesis can be rejected.

## Hypothesis Testing and Confidence Intervals

Confidence intervals form an important part of hypothesis testing. This is because the alpha level can be determined from a given confidence interval. Suppose a confidence interval is given as 95%. Subtract the confidence interval from 100%. This gives 100 - 95 = 5% or 0.05. This is the alpha value of a one-tailed hypothesis testing. To obtain the alpha value for a two-tailed hypothesis testing, divide this value by 2. This gives 0.05 / 2 = 0.025.

Related Articles:

- Probability and Statistics
- Data Handling

Important Notes on Hypothesis Testing

- Hypothesis testing is a technique that is used to verify whether the results of an experiment are statistically significant.
- It involves the setting up of a null hypothesis and an alternate hypothesis.
- There are three types of tests that can be conducted under hypothesis testing - z test, t test, and chi square test.
- Hypothesis testing can be classified as right tail, left tail, and two tail tests.

## Examples on Hypothesis Testing

- Example 1: The average weight of a dumbbell in a gym is 90lbs. However, a physical trainer believes that the average weight might be higher. A random sample of 5 dumbbells with an average weight of 110lbs and a standard deviation of 18lbs. Using hypothesis testing check if the physical trainer's claim can be supported for a 95% confidence level. Solution: As the sample size is lesser than 30, the t-test is used. \(H_{0}\): \(\mu\) = 90, \(H_{1}\): \(\mu\) > 90 \(\overline{x}\) = 110, \(\mu\) = 90, n = 5, s = 18. \(\alpha\) = 0.05 Using the t-distribution table, the critical value is 2.132 t = \(\frac{\overline{x}-\mu}{\frac{s}{\sqrt{n}}}\) t = 2.484 As 2.484 > 2.132, the null hypothesis is rejected. Answer: The average weight of the dumbbells may be greater than 90lbs
- Example 2: The average score on a test is 80 with a standard deviation of 10. With a new teaching curriculum introduced it is believed that this score will change. On random testing, the score of 38 students, the mean was found to be 88. With a 0.05 significance level, is there any evidence to support this claim? Solution: This is an example of two-tail hypothesis testing. The z test will be used. \(H_{0}\): \(\mu\) = 80, \(H_{1}\): \(\mu\) ≠ 80 \(\overline{x}\) = 88, \(\mu\) = 80, n = 36, \(\sigma\) = 10. \(\alpha\) = 0.05 / 2 = 0.025 The critical value using the normal distribution table is 1.96 z = \(\frac{\overline{x}-\mu}{\frac{\sigma}{\sqrt{n}}}\) z = \(\frac{88-80}{\frac{10}{\sqrt{36}}}\) = 4.8 As 4.8 > 1.96, the null hypothesis is rejected. Answer: There is a difference in the scores after the new curriculum was introduced.
- Example 3: The average score of a class is 90. However, a teacher believes that the average score might be lower. The scores of 6 students were randomly measured. The mean was 82 with a standard deviation of 18. With a 0.05 significance level use hypothesis testing to check if this claim is true. Solution: The t test will be used. \(H_{0}\): \(\mu\) = 90, \(H_{1}\): \(\mu\) < 90 \(\overline{x}\) = 110, \(\mu\) = 90, n = 6, s = 18 The critical value from the t table is -2.015 t = \(\frac{\overline{x}-\mu}{\frac{s}{\sqrt{n}}}\) t = \(\frac{82-90}{\frac{18}{\sqrt{6}}}\) t = -1.088 As -1.088 > -2.015, we fail to reject the null hypothesis. Answer: There is not enough evidence to support the claim.

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## FAQs on Hypothesis Testing

What is hypothesis testing.

Hypothesis testing in statistics is a tool that is used to make inferences about the population data. It is also used to check if the results of an experiment are valid.

## What is the z Test in Hypothesis Testing?

The z test in hypothesis testing is used to find the z test statistic for normally distributed data . The z test is used when the standard deviation of the population is known and the sample size is greater than or equal to 30.

## What is the t Test in Hypothesis Testing?

The t test in hypothesis testing is used when the data follows a student t distribution . It is used when the sample size is less than 30 and standard deviation of the population is not known.

## What is the formula for z test in Hypothesis Testing?

The formula for a one sample z test in hypothesis testing is z = \(\frac{\overline{x}-\mu}{\frac{\sigma}{\sqrt{n}}}\) and for two samples is z = \(\frac{(\overline{x_{1}}-\overline{x_{2}})-(\mu_{1}-\mu_{2})}{\sqrt{\frac{\sigma_{1}^{2}}{n_{1}}+\frac{\sigma_{2}^{2}}{n_{2}}}}\).

## What is the p Value in Hypothesis Testing?

The p value helps to determine if the test results are statistically significant or not. In hypothesis testing, the null hypothesis can either be rejected or not rejected based on the comparison between the p value and the alpha level.

## What is One Tail Hypothesis Testing?

When the rejection region is only on one side of the distribution curve then it is known as one tail hypothesis testing. The right tail test and the left tail test are two types of directional hypothesis testing.

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7.4.1 - hypothesis testing, five step hypothesis testing procedure section .

In the remaining lessons, we will use the following five step hypothesis testing procedure. This is slightly different from the five step procedure that we used when conducting randomization tests.

- Check assumptions and write hypotheses. The assumptions will vary depending on the test. In this lesson we'll be confirming that the sampling distribution is approximately normal by visually examining the randomization distribution. In later lessons you'll learn more objective assumptions. The null and alternative hypotheses will always be written in terms of population parameters; the null hypothesis will always contain the equality (i.e., \(=\)).
- Calculate the test statistic. Here, we'll be using the formula below for the general form of the test statistic.
- Determine the p-value. The p-value is the area under the standard normal distribution that is more extreme than the test statistic in the direction of the alternative hypothesis.
- Make a decision. If \(p \leq \alpha\) reject the null hypothesis. If \(p>\alpha\) fail to reject the null hypothesis.
- State a "real world" conclusion. Based on your decision in step 4, write a conclusion in terms of the original research question.

## General Form of a Test Statistic Section

When using a standard normal distribution (i.e., z distribution), the test statistic is the standardized value that is the boundary of the p-value. Recall the formula for a z score: \(z=\frac{x-\overline x}{s}\). The formula for a test statistic will be similar. When conducting a hypothesis test the sampling distribution will be centered on the null parameter and the standard deviation is known as the standard error.

This formula puts our observed sample statistic on a standard scale (e.g., z distribution). A z score tells us where a score lies on a normal distribution in standard deviation units. The test statistic tells us where our sample statistic falls on the sampling distribution in standard error units.

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## 9.1: Introduction to Hypothesis Testing

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- Kyle Siegrist
- University of Alabama in Huntsville via Random Services

## Basic Theory

Preliminaries.

As usual, our starting point is a random experiment with an underlying sample space and a probability measure \(\P\). In the basic statistical model, we have an observable random variable \(\bs{X}\) taking values in a set \(S\). In general, \(\bs{X}\) can have quite a complicated structure. For example, if the experiment is to sample \(n\) objects from a population and record various measurements of interest, then \[ \bs{X} = (X_1, X_2, \ldots, X_n) \] where \(X_i\) is the vector of measurements for the \(i\)th object. The most important special case occurs when \((X_1, X_2, \ldots, X_n)\) are independent and identically distributed. In this case, we have a random sample of size \(n\) from the common distribution.

The purpose of this section is to define and discuss the basic concepts of statistical hypothesis testing . Collectively, these concepts are sometimes referred to as the Neyman-Pearson framework, in honor of Jerzy Neyman and Egon Pearson, who first formalized them.

A statistical hypothesis is a statement about the distribution of \(\bs{X}\). Equivalently, a statistical hypothesis specifies a set of possible distributions of \(\bs{X}\): the set of distributions for which the statement is true. A hypothesis that specifies a single distribution for \(\bs{X}\) is called simple ; a hypothesis that specifies more than one distribution for \(\bs{X}\) is called composite .

In hypothesis testing , the goal is to see if there is sufficient statistical evidence to reject a presumed null hypothesis in favor of a conjectured alternative hypothesis . The null hypothesis is usually denoted \(H_0\) while the alternative hypothesis is usually denoted \(H_1\).

An hypothesis test is a statistical decision ; the conclusion will either be to reject the null hypothesis in favor of the alternative, or to fail to reject the null hypothesis. The decision that we make must, of course, be based on the observed value \(\bs{x}\) of the data vector \(\bs{X}\). Thus, we will find an appropriate subset \(R\) of the sample space \(S\) and reject \(H_0\) if and only if \(\bs{x} \in R\). The set \(R\) is known as the rejection region or the critical region . Note the asymmetry between the null and alternative hypotheses. This asymmetry is due to the fact that we assume the null hypothesis, in a sense, and then see if there is sufficient evidence in \(\bs{x}\) to overturn this assumption in favor of the alternative.

An hypothesis test is a statistical analogy to proof by contradiction, in a sense. Suppose for a moment that \(H_1\) is a statement in a mathematical theory and that \(H_0\) is its negation. One way that we can prove \(H_1\) is to assume \(H_0\) and work our way logically to a contradiction. In an hypothesis test, we don't prove anything of course, but there are similarities. We assume \(H_0\) and then see if the data \(\bs{x}\) are sufficiently at odds with that assumption that we feel justified in rejecting \(H_0\) in favor of \(H_1\).

Often, the critical region is defined in terms of a statistic \(w(\bs{X})\), known as a test statistic , where \(w\) is a function from \(S\) into another set \(T\). We find an appropriate rejection region \(R_T \subseteq T\) and reject \(H_0\) when the observed value \(w(\bs{x}) \in R_T\). Thus, the rejection region in \(S\) is then \(R = w^{-1}(R_T) = \left\{\bs{x} \in S: w(\bs{x}) \in R_T\right\}\). As usual, the use of a statistic often allows significant data reduction when the dimension of the test statistic is much smaller than the dimension of the data vector.

The ultimate decision may be correct or may be in error. There are two types of errors, depending on which of the hypotheses is actually true.

Types of errors:

- A type 1 error is rejecting the null hypothesis \(H_0\) when \(H_0\) is true.
- A type 2 error is failing to reject the null hypothesis \(H_0\) when the alternative hypothesis \(H_1\) is true.

Similarly, there are two ways to make a correct decision: we could reject \(H_0\) when \(H_1\) is true or we could fail to reject \(H_0\) when \(H_0\) is true. The possibilities are summarized in the following table:

Of course, when we observe \(\bs{X} = \bs{x}\) and make our decision, either we will have made the correct decision or we will have committed an error, and usually we will never know which of these events has occurred. Prior to gathering the data, however, we can consider the probabilities of the various errors.

If \(H_0\) is true (that is, the distribution of \(\bs{X}\) is specified by \(H_0\)), then \(\P(\bs{X} \in R)\) is the probability of a type 1 error for this distribution. If \(H_0\) is composite, then \(H_0\) specifies a variety of different distributions for \(\bs{X}\) and thus there is a set of type 1 error probabilities.

The maximum probability of a type 1 error, over the set of distributions specified by \( H_0 \), is the significance level of the test or the size of the critical region.

The significance level is often denoted by \(\alpha\). Usually, the rejection region is constructed so that the significance level is a prescribed, small value (typically 0.1, 0.05, 0.01).

If \(H_1\) is true (that is, the distribution of \(\bs{X}\) is specified by \(H_1\)), then \(\P(\bs{X} \notin R)\) is the probability of a type 2 error for this distribution. Again, if \(H_1\) is composite then \(H_1\) specifies a variety of different distributions for \(\bs{X}\), and thus there will be a set of type 2 error probabilities. Generally, there is a tradeoff between the type 1 and type 2 error probabilities. If we reduce the probability of a type 1 error, by making the rejection region \(R\) smaller, we necessarily increase the probability of a type 2 error because the complementary region \(S \setminus R\) is larger.

The extreme cases can give us some insight. First consider the decision rule in which we never reject \(H_0\), regardless of the evidence \(\bs{x}\). This corresponds to the rejection region \(R = \emptyset\). A type 1 error is impossible, so the significance level is 0. On the other hand, the probability of a type 2 error is 1 for any distribution defined by \(H_1\). At the other extreme, consider the decision rule in which we always rejects \(H_0\) regardless of the evidence \(\bs{x}\). This corresponds to the rejection region \(R = S\). A type 2 error is impossible, but now the probability of a type 1 error is 1 for any distribution defined by \(H_0\). In between these two worthless tests are meaningful tests that take the evidence \(\bs{x}\) into account.

If \(H_1\) is true, so that the distribution of \(\bs{X}\) is specified by \(H_1\), then \(\P(\bs{X} \in R)\), the probability of rejecting \(H_0\) is the power of the test for that distribution.

Thus the power of the test for a distribution specified by \( H_1 \) is the probability of making the correct decision.

Suppose that we have two tests, corresponding to rejection regions \(R_1\) and \(R_2\), respectively, each having significance level \(\alpha\). The test with region \(R_1\) is uniformly more powerful than the test with region \(R_2\) if \[ \P(\bs{X} \in R_1) \ge \P(\bs{X} \in R_2) \text{ for every distribution of } \bs{X} \text{ specified by } H_1 \]

Naturally, in this case, we would prefer the first test. Often, however, two tests will not be uniformly ordered; one test will be more powerful for some distributions specified by \(H_1\) while the other test will be more powerful for other distributions specified by \(H_1\).

If a test has significance level \(\alpha\) and is uniformly more powerful than any other test with significance level \(\alpha\), then the test is said to be a uniformly most powerful test at level \(\alpha\).

Clearly a uniformly most powerful test is the best we can do.

## \(P\)-value

In most cases, we have a general procedure that allows us to construct a test (that is, a rejection region \(R_\alpha\)) for any given significance level \(\alpha \in (0, 1)\). Typically, \(R_\alpha\) decreases (in the subset sense) as \(\alpha\) decreases.

The \(P\)-value of the observed value \(\bs{x}\) of \(\bs{X}\), denoted \(P(\bs{x})\), is defined to be the smallest \(\alpha\) for which \(\bs{x} \in R_\alpha\); that is, the smallest significance level for which \(H_0\) is rejected, given \(\bs{X} = \bs{x}\).

Knowing \(P(\bs{x})\) allows us to test \(H_0\) at any significance level for the given data \(\bs{x}\): If \(P(\bs{x}) \le \alpha\) then we would reject \(H_0\) at significance level \(\alpha\); if \(P(\bs{x}) \gt \alpha\) then we fail to reject \(H_0\) at significance level \(\alpha\). Note that \(P(\bs{X})\) is a statistic . Informally, \(P(\bs{x})\) can often be thought of as the probability of an outcome as or more extreme than the observed value \(\bs{x}\), where extreme is interpreted relative to the null hypothesis \(H_0\).

## Analogy with Justice Systems

There is a helpful analogy between statistical hypothesis testing and the criminal justice system in the US and various other countries. Consider a person charged with a crime. The presumed null hypothesis is that the person is innocent of the crime; the conjectured alternative hypothesis is that the person is guilty of the crime. The test of the hypotheses is a trial with evidence presented by both sides playing the role of the data. After considering the evidence, the jury delivers the decision as either not guilty or guilty . Note that innocent is not a possible verdict of the jury, because it is not the point of the trial to prove the person innocent. Rather, the point of the trial is to see whether there is sufficient evidence to overturn the null hypothesis that the person is innocent in favor of the alternative hypothesis of that the person is guilty. A type 1 error is convicting a person who is innocent; a type 2 error is acquitting a person who is guilty. Generally, a type 1 error is considered the more serious of the two possible errors, so in an attempt to hold the chance of a type 1 error to a very low level, the standard for conviction in serious criminal cases is beyond a reasonable doubt .

## Tests of an Unknown Parameter

Hypothesis testing is a very general concept, but an important special class occurs when the distribution of the data variable \(\bs{X}\) depends on a parameter \(\theta\) taking values in a parameter space \(\Theta\). The parameter may be vector-valued, so that \(\bs{\theta} = (\theta_1, \theta_2, \ldots, \theta_n)\) and \(\Theta \subseteq \R^k\) for some \(k \in \N_+\). The hypotheses generally take the form \[ H_0: \theta \in \Theta_0 \text{ versus } H_1: \theta \notin \Theta_0 \] where \(\Theta_0\) is a prescribed subset of the parameter space \(\Theta\). In this setting, the probabilities of making an error or a correct decision depend on the true value of \(\theta\). If \(R\) is the rejection region, then the power function \( Q \) is given by \[ Q(\theta) = \P_\theta(\bs{X} \in R), \quad \theta \in \Theta \] The power function gives a lot of information about the test.

The power function satisfies the following properties:

- \(Q(\theta)\) is the probability of a type 1 error when \(\theta \in \Theta_0\).
- \(\max\left\{Q(\theta): \theta \in \Theta_0\right\}\) is the significance level of the test.
- \(1 - Q(\theta)\) is the probability of a type 2 error when \(\theta \notin \Theta_0\).
- \(Q(\theta)\) is the power of the test when \(\theta \notin \Theta_0\).

If we have two tests, we can compare them by means of their power functions.

Suppose that we have two tests, corresponding to rejection regions \(R_1\) and \(R_2\), respectively, each having significance level \(\alpha\). The test with rejection region \(R_1\) is uniformly more powerful than the test with rejection region \(R_2\) if \( Q_1(\theta) \ge Q_2(\theta)\) for all \( \theta \notin \Theta_0 \).

Most hypothesis tests of an unknown real parameter \(\theta\) fall into three special cases:

Suppose that \( \theta \) is a real parameter and \( \theta_0 \in \Theta \) a specified value. The tests below are respectively the two-sided test , the left-tailed test , and the right-tailed test .

- \(H_0: \theta = \theta_0\) versus \(H_1: \theta \ne \theta_0\)
- \(H_0: \theta \ge \theta_0\) versus \(H_1: \theta \lt \theta_0\)
- \(H_0: \theta \le \theta_0\) versus \(H_1: \theta \gt \theta_0\)

Thus the tests are named after the conjectured alternative. Of course, there may be other unknown parameters besides \(\theta\) (known as nuisance parameters ).

## Equivalence Between Hypothesis Test and Confidence Sets

There is an equivalence between hypothesis tests and confidence sets for a parameter \(\theta\).

Suppose that \(C(\bs{x})\) is a \(1 - \alpha\) level confidence set for \(\theta\). The following test has significance level \(\alpha\) for the hypothesis \( H_0: \theta = \theta_0 \) versus \( H_1: \theta \ne \theta_0 \): Reject \(H_0\) if and only if \(\theta_0 \notin C(\bs{x})\)

By definition, \(\P[\theta \in C(\bs{X})] = 1 - \alpha\). Hence if \(H_0\) is true so that \(\theta = \theta_0\), then the probability of a type 1 error is \(P[\theta \notin C(\bs{X})] = \alpha\).

Equivalently, we fail to reject \(H_0\) at significance level \(\alpha\) if and only if \(\theta_0\) is in the corresponding \(1 - \alpha\) level confidence set. In particular, this equivalence applies to interval estimates of a real parameter \(\theta\) and the common tests for \(\theta\) given above .

In each case below, the confidence interval has confidence level \(1 - \alpha\) and the test has significance level \(\alpha\).

- Suppose that \(\left[L(\bs{X}, U(\bs{X})\right]\) is a two-sided confidence interval for \(\theta\). Reject \(H_0: \theta = \theta_0\) versus \(H_1: \theta \ne \theta_0\) if and only if \(\theta_0 \lt L(\bs{X})\) or \(\theta_0 \gt U(\bs{X})\).
- Suppose that \(L(\bs{X})\) is a confidence lower bound for \(\theta\). Reject \(H_0: \theta \le \theta_0\) versus \(H_1: \theta \gt \theta_0\) if and only if \(\theta_0 \lt L(\bs{X})\).
- Suppose that \(U(\bs{X})\) is a confidence upper bound for \(\theta\). Reject \(H_0: \theta \ge \theta_0\) versus \(H_1: \theta \lt \theta_0\) if and only if \(\theta_0 \gt U(\bs{X})\).

## Pivot Variables and Test Statistics

Recall that confidence sets of an unknown parameter \(\theta\) are often constructed through a pivot variable , that is, a random variable \(W(\bs{X}, \theta)\) that depends on the data vector \(\bs{X}\) and the parameter \(\theta\), but whose distribution does not depend on \(\theta\) and is known. In this case, a natural test statistic for the basic tests given above is \(W(\bs{X}, \theta_0)\).

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## 7 Chapter 7: Introduction to Hypothesis Testing

alternative hypothesis

critical value

effect size

null hypothesis

probability value

rejection region

significance level

statistical power

statistical significance

test statistic

Type I error

Type II error

This chapter lays out the basic logic and process of hypothesis testing. We will perform z tests, which use the z score formula from Chapter 6 and data from a sample mean to make an inference about a population.

## Logic and Purpose of Hypothesis Testing

A hypothesis is a prediction that is tested in a research study. The statistician R. A. Fisher explained the concept of hypothesis testing with a story of a lady tasting tea. Here we will present an example based on James Bond who insisted that martinis should be shaken rather than stirred. Let’s consider a hypothetical experiment to determine whether Mr. Bond can tell the difference between a shaken martini and a stirred martini. Suppose we gave Mr. Bond a series of 16 taste tests. In each test, we flipped a fair coin to determine whether to stir or shake the martini. Then we presented the martini to Mr. Bond and asked him to decide whether it was shaken or stirred. Let’s say Mr. Bond was correct on 13 of the 16 taste tests. Does this prove that Mr. Bond has at least some ability to tell whether the martini was shaken or stirred?

This result does not prove that he does; it could be he was just lucky and guessed right 13 out of 16 times. But how plausible is the explanation that he was just lucky? To assess its plausibility, we determine the probability that someone who was just guessing would be correct 13/16 times or more. This probability can be computed to be .0106. This is a pretty low probability, and therefore someone would have to be very lucky to be correct 13 or more times out of 16 if they were just guessing. So either Mr. Bond was very lucky, or he can tell whether the drink was shaken or stirred. The hypothesis that he was guessing is not proven false, but considerable doubt is cast on it. Therefore, there is strong evidence that Mr. Bond can tell whether a drink was shaken or stirred.

Let’s consider another example. The case study Physicians’ Reactions sought to determine whether physicians spend less time with obese patients. Physicians were sampled randomly and each was shown a chart of a patient complaining of a migraine headache. They were then asked to estimate how long they would spend with the patient. The charts were identical except that for half the charts, the patient was obese and for the other half, the patient was of average weight. The chart a particular physician viewed was determined randomly. Thirty-three physicians viewed charts of average-weight patients and 38 physicians viewed charts of obese patients.

The mean time physicians reported that they would spend with obese patients was 24.7 minutes as compared to a mean of 31.4 minutes for normal-weight patients. How might this difference between means have occurred? One possibility is that physicians were influenced by the weight of the patients. On the other hand, perhaps by chance, the physicians who viewed charts of the obese patients tend to see patients for less time than the other physicians. Random assignment of charts does not ensure that the groups will be equal in all respects other than the chart they viewed. In fact, it is certain the groups differed in many ways by chance. The two groups could not have exactly the same mean age (if measured precisely enough such as in days). Perhaps a physician’s age affects how long the physician sees patients. There are innumerable differences between the groups that could affect how long they view patients. With this in mind, is it plausible that these chance differences are responsible for the difference in times?

To assess the plausibility of the hypothesis that the difference in mean times is due to chance, we compute the probability of getting a difference as large or larger than the observed difference (31.4 − 24.7 = 6.7 minutes) if the difference were, in fact, due solely to chance. Using methods presented in later chapters, this probability can be computed to be .0057. Since this is such a low probability, we have confidence that the difference in times is due to the patient’s weight and is not due to chance.

## The Probability Value

It is very important to understand precisely what the probability values mean. In the James Bond example, the computed probability of .0106 is the probability he would be correct on 13 or more taste tests (out of 16) if he were just guessing. It is easy to mistake this probability of .0106 as the probability he cannot tell the difference. This is not at all what it means.

The probability of .0106 is the probability of a certain outcome (13 or more out of 16) assuming a certain state of the world (James Bond was only guessing). It is not the probability that a state of the world is true. Although this might seem like a distinction without a difference, consider the following example. An animal trainer claims that a trained bird can determine whether or not numbers are evenly divisible by 7. In an experiment assessing this claim, the bird is given a series of 16 test trials. On each trial, a number is displayed on a screen and the bird pecks at one of two keys to indicate its choice. The numbers are chosen in such a way that the probability of any number being evenly divisible by 7 is .50. The bird is correct on 9/16 choices. We can compute that the probability of being correct nine or more times out of 16 if one is only guessing is .40. Since a bird who is only guessing would do this well 40% of the time, these data do not provide convincing evidence that the bird can tell the difference between the two types of numbers. As a scientist, you would be very skeptical that the bird had this ability. Would you conclude that there is a .40 probability that the bird can tell the difference? Certainly not! You would think the probability is much lower than .0001.

To reiterate, the probability value is the probability of an outcome (9/16 or better) and not the probability of a particular state of the world (the bird was only guessing). In statistics, it is conventional to refer to possible states of the world as hypotheses since they are hypothesized states of the world. Using this terminology, the probability value is the probability of an outcome given the hypothesis. It is not the probability of the hypothesis given the outcome.

This is not to say that we ignore the probability of the hypothesis. If the probability of the outcome given the hypothesis is sufficiently low, we have evidence that the hypothesis is false. However, we do not compute the probability that the hypothesis is false. In the James Bond example, the hypothesis is that he cannot tell the difference between shaken and stirred martinis. The probability value is low (.0106), thus providing evidence that he can tell the difference. However, we have not computed the probability that he can tell the difference.

## The Null Hypothesis

The hypothesis that an apparent effect is due to chance is called the null hypothesis , written H 0 (“ H -naught”). In the Physicians’ Reactions example, the null hypothesis is that in the population of physicians, the mean time expected to be spent with obese patients is equal to the mean time expected to be spent with average-weight patients. This null hypothesis can be written as:

The null hypothesis in a correlational study of the relationship between high school grades and college grades would typically be that the population correlation is 0. This can be written as

Although the null hypothesis is usually that the value of a parameter is 0, there are occasions in which the null hypothesis is a value other than 0. For example, if we are working with mothers in the U.S. whose children are at risk of low birth weight, we can use 7.47 pounds, the average birth weight in the U.S., as our null value and test for differences against that.

For now, we will focus on testing a value of a single mean against what we expect from the population. Using birth weight as an example, our null hypothesis takes the form:

Keep in mind that the null hypothesis is typically the opposite of the researcher’s hypothesis. In the Physicians’ Reactions study, the researchers hypothesized that physicians would expect to spend less time with obese patients. The null hypothesis that the two types of patients are treated identically is put forward with the hope that it can be discredited and therefore rejected. If the null hypothesis were true, a difference as large as or larger than the sample difference of 6.7 minutes would be very unlikely to occur. Therefore, the researchers rejected the null hypothesis of no difference and concluded that in the population, physicians intend to spend less time with obese patients.

In general, the null hypothesis is the idea that nothing is going on: there is no effect of our treatment, no relationship between our variables, and no difference in our sample mean from what we expected about the population mean. This is always our baseline starting assumption, and it is what we seek to reject. If we are trying to treat depression, we want to find a difference in average symptoms between our treatment and control groups. If we are trying to predict job performance, we want to find a relationship between conscientiousness and evaluation scores. However, until we have evidence against it, we must use the null hypothesis as our starting point.

## The Alternative Hypothesis

If the null hypothesis is rejected, then we will need some other explanation, which we call the alternative hypothesis, H A or H 1 . The alternative hypothesis is simply the reverse of the null hypothesis, and there are three options, depending on where we expect the difference to lie. Thus, our alternative hypothesis is the mathematical way of stating our research question. If we expect our obtained sample mean to be above or below the null hypothesis value, which we call a directional hypothesis, then our alternative hypothesis takes the form

based on the research question itself. We should only use a directional hypothesis if we have good reason, based on prior observations or research, to suspect a particular direction. When we do not know the direction, such as when we are entering a new area of research, we use a non-directional alternative:

We will set different criteria for rejecting the null hypothesis based on the directionality (greater than, less than, or not equal to) of the alternative. To understand why, we need to see where our criteria come from and how they relate to z scores and distributions.

## Critical Values, p Values, and Significance Level

The significance level is a threshold we set before collecting data in order to determine whether or not we should reject the null hypothesis. We set this value beforehand to avoid biasing ourselves by viewing our results and then determining what criteria we should use. If our data produce values that meet or exceed this threshold, then we have sufficient evidence to reject the null hypothesis; if not, we fail to reject the null (we never “accept” the null).

Figure 7.1. The rejection region for a one-tailed test. (“ Rejection Region for One-Tailed Test ” by Judy Schmitt is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 .)

The rejection region is bounded by a specific z value, as is any area under the curve. In hypothesis testing, the value corresponding to a specific rejection region is called the critical value , z crit (“ z crit”), or z * (hence the other name “critical region”). Finding the critical value works exactly the same as finding the z score corresponding to any area under the curve as we did in Unit 1 . If we go to the normal table, we will find that the z score corresponding to 5% of the area under the curve is equal to 1.645 ( z = 1.64 corresponds to .0505 and z = 1.65 corresponds to .0495, so .05 is exactly in between them) if we go to the right and −1.645 if we go to the left. The direction must be determined by your alternative hypothesis, and drawing and shading the distribution is helpful for keeping directionality straight.

Suppose, however, that we want to do a non-directional test. We need to put the critical region in both tails, but we don’t want to increase the overall size of the rejection region (for reasons we will see later). To do this, we simply split it in half so that an equal proportion of the area under the curve falls in each tail’s rejection region. For a = .05, this means 2.5% of the area is in each tail, which, based on the z table, corresponds to critical values of z * = ±1.96. This is shown in Figure 7.2 .

Figure 7.2. Two-tailed rejection region. (“ Rejection Region for Two-Tailed Test ” by Judy Schmitt is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 .)

Thus, any z score falling outside ±1.96 (greater than 1.96 in absolute value) falls in the rejection region. When we use z scores in this way, the obtained value of z (sometimes called z obtained and abbreviated z obt ) is something known as a test statistic , which is simply an inferential statistic used to test a null hypothesis. The formula for our z statistic has not changed:

Figure 7.3. Relationship between a , z obt , and p . (“ Relationship between alpha, z-obt, and p ” by Judy Schmitt is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 .)

When the null hypothesis is rejected, the effect is said to have statistical significance , or be statistically significant. For example, in the Physicians’ Reactions case study, the probability value is .0057. Therefore, the effect of obesity is statistically significant and the null hypothesis that obesity makes no difference is rejected. It is important to keep in mind that statistical significance means only that the null hypothesis of exactly no effect is rejected; it does not mean that the effect is important, which is what “significant” usually means. When an effect is significant, you can have confidence the effect is not exactly zero. Finding that an effect is significant does not tell you about how large or important the effect is.

Do not confuse statistical significance with practical significance. A small effect can be highly significant if the sample size is large enough.

Why does the word “significant” in the phrase “statistically significant” mean something so different from other uses of the word? Interestingly, this is because the meaning of “significant” in everyday language has changed. It turns out that when the procedures for hypothesis testing were developed, something was “significant” if it signified something. Thus, finding that an effect is statistically significant signifies that the effect is real and not due to chance. Over the years, the meaning of “significant” changed, leading to the potential misinterpretation.

## The Hypothesis Testing Process

A four-step procedure.

The process of testing hypotheses follows a simple four-step procedure. This process will be what we use for the remainder of the textbook and course, and although the hypothesis and statistics we use will change, this process will not.

## Step 1: State the Hypotheses

Your hypotheses are the first thing you need to lay out. Otherwise, there is nothing to test! You have to state the null hypothesis (which is what we test) and the alternative hypothesis (which is what we expect). These should be stated mathematically as they were presented above and in words, explaining in normal English what each one means in terms of the research question.

## Step 2: Find the Critical Values

Step 3: calculate the test statistic and effect size.

Once we have our hypotheses and the standards we use to test them, we can collect data and calculate our test statistic—in this case z . This step is where the vast majority of differences in future chapters will arise: different tests used for different data are calculated in different ways, but the way we use and interpret them remains the same. As part of this step, we will also calculate effect size to better quantify the magnitude of the difference between our groups. Although effect size is not considered part of hypothesis testing, reporting it as part of the results is approved convention.

## Step 4: Make the Decision

Finally, once we have our obtained test statistic, we can compare it to our critical value and decide whether we should reject or fail to reject the null hypothesis. When we do this, we must interpret the decision in relation to our research question, stating what we concluded, what we based our conclusion on, and the specific statistics we obtained.

Example A Movie Popcorn

Our manager is looking for a difference in the mean weight of popcorn bags compared to the population mean of 8. We will need both a null and an alternative hypothesis written both mathematically and in words. We’ll always start with the null hypothesis:

In this case, we don’t know if the bags will be too full or not full enough, so we do a two-tailed alternative hypothesis that there is a difference.

Our critical values are based on two things: the directionality of the test and the level of significance. We decided in Step 1 that a two-tailed test is the appropriate directionality. We were given no information about the level of significance, so we assume that a = .05 is what we will use. As stated earlier in the chapter, the critical values for a two-tailed z test at a = .05 are z * = ±1.96. This will be the criteria we use to test our hypothesis. We can now draw out our distribution, as shown in Figure 7.4 , so we can visualize the rejection region and make sure it makes sense.

Figure 7.4. Rejection region for z * = ±1.96. (“ Rejection Region z+-1.96 ” by Judy Schmitt is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 .)

Now we come to our formal calculations. Let’s say that the manager collects data and finds that the average weight of this employee’s popcorn bags is M = 7.75 cups. We can now plug this value, along with the values presented in the original problem, into our equation for z :

So our test statistic is z = −2.50, which we can draw onto our rejection region distribution as shown in Figure 7.5 .

Figure 7.5. Test statistic location. (“ Test Statistic Location z-2.50 ” by Judy Schmitt is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 .)

## Effect Size

When we reject the null hypothesis, we are stating that the difference we found was statistically significant, but we have mentioned several times that this tells us nothing about practical significance. To get an idea of the actual size of what we found, we can compute a new statistic called an effect size. Effect size gives us an idea of how large, important, or meaningful a statistically significant effect is. For mean differences like we calculated here, our effect size is Cohen’s d :

This is very similar to our formula for z , but we no longer take into account the sample size (since overly large samples can make it too easy to reject the null). Cohen’s d is interpreted in units of standard deviations, just like z . For our example:

Cohen’s d is interpreted as small, moderate, or large. Specifically, d = 0.20 is small, d = 0.50 is moderate, and d = 0.80 is large. Obviously, values can fall in between these guidelines, so we should use our best judgment and the context of the problem to make our final interpretation of size. Our effect size happens to be exactly equal to one of these, so we say that there is a moderate effect.

Effect sizes are incredibly useful and provide important information and clarification that overcomes some of the weakness of hypothesis testing. Any time you perform a hypothesis test, whether statistically significant or not, you should always calculate and report effect size.

Looking at Figure 7.5 , we can see that our obtained z statistic falls in the rejection region. We can also directly compare it to our critical value: in terms of absolute value, −2.50 > −1.96, so we reject the null hypothesis. We can now write our conclusion:

Reject H 0 . Based on the sample of 25 bags, we can conclude that the average popcorn bag from this employee is smaller ( M = 7.75 cups) than the average weight of popcorn bags at this movie theater, and the effect size was moderate, z = −2.50, p < .05, d = 0.50.

Example B Office Temperature

Let’s do another example to solidify our understanding. Let’s say that the office building you work in is supposed to be kept at 74 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months but is allowed to vary by 1 degree in either direction. You suspect that, as a cost saving measure, the temperature was secretly set higher. You set up a formal way to test your hypothesis.

You start by laying out the null hypothesis:

Next you state the alternative hypothesis. You have reason to suspect a specific direction of change, so you make a one-tailed test:

You know that the most common level of significance is a = .05, so you keep that the same and know that the critical value for a one-tailed z test is z * = 1.645. To keep track of the directionality of the test and rejection region, you draw out your distribution as shown in Figure 7.6 .

Figure 7.6. Rejection region. (“ Rejection Region z1.645 ” by Judy Schmitt is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 .)

Now that you have everything set up, you spend one week collecting temperature data:

This value falls so far into the tail that it cannot even be plotted on the distribution ( Figure 7.7 )! Because the result is significant, you also calculate an effect size:

The effect size you calculate is definitely large, meaning someone has some explaining to do!

Figure 7.7. Obtained z statistic. (“ Obtained z5.77 ” by Judy Schmitt is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 .)

You compare your obtained z statistic, z = 5.77, to the critical value, z * = 1.645, and find that z > z *. Therefore you reject the null hypothesis, concluding:

Reject H 0 . Based on 5 observations, the average temperature ( M = 76.6 degrees) is statistically significantly higher than it is supposed to be, and the effect size was large, z = 5.77, p < .05, d = 2.60.

Example C Different Significance Level

Finally, let’s take a look at an example phrased in generic terms, rather than in the context of a specific research question, to see the individual pieces one more time. This time, however, we will use a stricter significance level, a = .01, to test the hypothesis.

We will use 60 as an arbitrary null hypothesis value:

We will assume a two-tailed test:

We have seen the critical values for z tests at a = .05 levels of significance several times. To find the values for a = .01, we will go to the Standard Normal Distribution Table and find the z score cutting off .005 (.01 divided by 2 for a two-tailed test) of the area in the tail, which is z * = ±2.575. Notice that this cutoff is much higher than it was for a = .05. This is because we need much less of the area in the tail, so we need to go very far out to find the cutoff. As a result, this will require a much larger effect or much larger sample size in order to reject the null hypothesis.

We can now calculate our test statistic. We will use s = 10 as our known population standard deviation and the following data to calculate our sample mean:

The average of these scores is M = 60.40. From this we calculate our z statistic as:

The Cohen’s d effect size calculation is:

Our obtained z statistic, z = 0.13, is very small. It is much less than our critical value of 2.575. Thus, this time, we fail to reject the null hypothesis. Our conclusion would look something like:

Fail to reject H 0 . Based on the sample of 10 scores, we cannot conclude that there is an effect causing the mean ( M = 60.40) to be statistically significantly different from 60.00, z = 0.13, p > .01, d = 0.04, and the effect size supports this interpretation.

## Other Considerations in Hypothesis Testing

There are several other considerations we need to keep in mind when performing hypothesis testing.

## Errors in Hypothesis Testing

In the Physicians’ Reactions case study, the probability value associated with the significance test is .0057. Therefore, the null hypothesis was rejected, and it was concluded that physicians intend to spend less time with obese patients. Despite the low probability value, it is possible that the null hypothesis of no true difference between obese and average-weight patients is true and that the large difference between sample means occurred by chance. If this is the case, then the conclusion that physicians intend to spend less time with obese patients is in error. This type of error is called a Type I error. More generally, a Type I error occurs when a significance test results in the rejection of a true null hypothesis.

The second type of error that can be made in significance testing is failing to reject a false null hypothesis. This kind of error is called a Type II error . Unlike a Type I error, a Type II error is not really an error. When a statistical test is not significant, it means that the data do not provide strong evidence that the null hypothesis is false. Lack of significance does not support the conclusion that the null hypothesis is true. Therefore, a researcher should not make the mistake of incorrectly concluding that the null hypothesis is true when a statistical test was not significant. Instead, the researcher should consider the test inconclusive. Contrast this with a Type I error in which the researcher erroneously concludes that the null hypothesis is false when, in fact, it is true.

A Type II error can only occur if the null hypothesis is false. If the null hypothesis is false, then the probability of a Type II error is called b (“beta”). The probability of correctly rejecting a false null hypothesis equals 1 − b and is called statistical power . Power is simply our ability to correctly detect an effect that exists. It is influenced by the size of the effect (larger effects are easier to detect), the significance level we set (making it easier to reject the null makes it easier to detect an effect, but increases the likelihood of a Type I error), and the sample size used (larger samples make it easier to reject the null).

## Misconceptions in Hypothesis Testing

Misconceptions about significance testing are common. This section lists three important ones.

- Misconception: The probability value ( p value) is the probability that the null hypothesis is false. Proper interpretation: The probability value ( p value) is the probability of a result as extreme or more extreme given that the null hypothesis is true. It is the probability of the data given the null hypothesis. It is not the probability that the null hypothesis is false.
- Misconception: A low probability value indicates a large effect. Proper interpretation: A low probability value indicates that the sample outcome (or an outcome more extreme) would be very unlikely if the null hypothesis were true. A low probability value can occur with small effect sizes, particularly if the sample size is large.
- Misconception: A non-significant outcome means that the null hypothesis is probably true. Proper interpretation: A non-significant outcome means that the data do not conclusively demonstrate that the null hypothesis is false.
- In your own words, explain what the null hypothesis is.
- What are Type I and Type II errors?
- Why do we phrase null and alternative hypotheses with population parameters and not sample means?
- Why do we state our hypotheses and decision criteria before we collect our data?
- Why do you calculate an effect size?
- z = 1.99, two-tailed test at a = .05
- z = 0.34, z * = 1.645
- p = .03, a = .05
- p = .015, a = .01

## Answers to Odd-Numbered Exercises

Your answer should include mention of the baseline assumption of no difference between the sample and the population.

Alpha is the significance level. It is the criterion we use when deciding to reject or fail to reject the null hypothesis, corresponding to a given proportion of the area under the normal distribution and a probability of finding extreme scores assuming the null hypothesis is true.

We always calculate an effect size to see if our research is practically meaningful or important. NHST (null hypothesis significance testing) is influenced by sample size but effect size is not; therefore, they provide complimentary information.

“ Null Hypothesis ” by Randall Munroe/xkcd.com is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.5 .)

Introduction to Statistics in the Psychological Sciences Copyright © 2021 by Linda R. Cote Ph.D.; Rupa G. Gordon Ph.D.; Chrislyn E. Randell Ph.D.; Judy Schmitt; and Helena Marvin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

## Share This Book

## 9.1 Null and Alternative Hypotheses

The actual test begins by considering two hypotheses . They are called the null hypothesis and the alternative hypothesis . These hypotheses contain opposing viewpoints.

H 0 , the — null hypothesis: a statement of no difference between sample means or proportions or no difference between a sample mean or proportion and a population mean or proportion. In other words, the difference equals 0.

H a —, the alternative hypothesis: a claim about the population that is contradictory to H 0 and what we conclude when we reject H 0 .

Since the null and alternative hypotheses are contradictory, you must examine evidence to decide if you have enough evidence to reject the null hypothesis or not. The evidence is in the form of sample data.

After you have determined which hypothesis the sample supports, you make a decision. There are two options for a decision. They are reject H 0 if the sample information favors the alternative hypothesis or do not reject H 0 or decline to reject H 0 if the sample information is insufficient to reject the null hypothesis.

Mathematical Symbols Used in H 0 and H a :

H 0 always has a symbol with an equal in it. H a never has a symbol with an equal in it. The choice of symbol depends on the wording of the hypothesis test. However, be aware that many researchers use = in the null hypothesis, even with > or < as the symbol in the alternative hypothesis. This practice is acceptable because we only make the decision to reject or not reject the null hypothesis.

## Example 9.1

H 0 : No more than 30 percent of the registered voters in Santa Clara County voted in the primary election. p ≤ 30 H a : More than 30 percent of the registered voters in Santa Clara County voted in the primary election. p > 30

A medical trial is conducted to test whether or not a new medicine reduces cholesterol by 25 percent. State the null and alternative hypotheses.

## Example 9.2

We want to test whether the mean GPA of students in American colleges is different from 2.0 (out of 4.0). The null and alternative hypotheses are the following: H 0 : μ = 2.0 H a : μ ≠ 2.0

We want to test whether the mean height of eighth graders is 66 inches. State the null and alternative hypotheses. Fill in the correct symbol (=, ≠, ≥, <, ≤, >) for the null and alternative hypotheses.

- H 0 : μ __ 66
- H a : μ __ 66

## Example 9.3

We want to test if college students take fewer than five years to graduate from college, on the average. The null and alternative hypotheses are the following: H 0 : μ ≥ 5 H a : μ < 5

We want to test if it takes fewer than 45 minutes to teach a lesson plan. State the null and alternative hypotheses. Fill in the correct symbol ( =, ≠, ≥, <, ≤, >) for the null and alternative hypotheses.

- H 0 : μ __ 45
- H a : μ __ 45

## Example 9.4

An article on school standards stated that about half of all students in France, Germany, and Israel take advanced placement exams and a third of the students pass. The same article stated that 6.6 percent of U.S. students take advanced placement exams and 4.4 percent pass. Test if the percentage of U.S. students who take advanced placement exams is more than 6.6 percent. State the null and alternative hypotheses. H 0 : p ≤ 0.066 H a : p > 0.066

On a state driver’s test, about 40 percent pass the test on the first try. We want to test if more than 40 percent pass on the first try. Fill in the correct symbol (=, ≠, ≥, <, ≤, >) for the null and alternative hypotheses.

- H 0 : p __ 0.40
- H a : p __ 0.40

## Collaborative Exercise

Bring to class a newspaper, some news magazines, and some internet articles. In groups, find articles from which your group can write null and alternative hypotheses. Discuss your hypotheses with the rest of the class.

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## How to Write a Great Hypothesis

Hypothesis Definition, Format, Examples, and Tips

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

Amy Morin, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk, "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.

Verywell / Alex Dos Diaz

- The Scientific Method

## Hypothesis Format

Falsifiability of a hypothesis.

- Operationalization

## Hypothesis Types

Hypotheses examples.

- Collecting Data

A hypothesis is a tentative statement about the relationship between two or more variables. It is a specific, testable prediction about what you expect to happen in a study. It is a preliminary answer to your question that helps guide the research process.

Consider a study designed to examine the relationship between sleep deprivation and test performance. The hypothesis might be: "This study is designed to assess the hypothesis that sleep-deprived people will perform worse on a test than individuals who are not sleep-deprived."

## At a Glance

A hypothesis is crucial to scientific research because it offers a clear direction for what the researchers are looking to find. This allows them to design experiments to test their predictions and add to our scientific knowledge about the world. This article explores how a hypothesis is used in psychology research, how to write a good hypothesis, and the different types of hypotheses you might use.

## The Hypothesis in the Scientific Method

In the scientific method , whether it involves research in psychology, biology, or some other area, a hypothesis represents what the researchers think will happen in an experiment. The scientific method involves the following steps:

- Forming a question
- Performing background research
- Creating a hypothesis
- Designing an experiment
- Collecting data
- Analyzing the results
- Drawing conclusions
- Communicating the results

The hypothesis is a prediction, but it involves more than a guess. Most of the time, the hypothesis begins with a question which is then explored through background research. At this point, researchers then begin to develop a testable hypothesis.

Unless you are creating an exploratory study, your hypothesis should always explain what you expect to happen.

In a study exploring the effects of a particular drug, the hypothesis might be that researchers expect the drug to have some type of effect on the symptoms of a specific illness. In psychology, the hypothesis might focus on how a certain aspect of the environment might influence a particular behavior.

Remember, a hypothesis does not have to be correct. While the hypothesis predicts what the researchers expect to see, the goal of the research is to determine whether this guess is right or wrong. When conducting an experiment, researchers might explore numerous factors to determine which ones might contribute to the ultimate outcome.

In many cases, researchers may find that the results of an experiment do not support the original hypothesis. When writing up these results, the researchers might suggest other options that should be explored in future studies.

In many cases, researchers might draw a hypothesis from a specific theory or build on previous research. For example, prior research has shown that stress can impact the immune system. So a researcher might hypothesize: "People with high-stress levels will be more likely to contract a common cold after being exposed to the virus than people who have low-stress levels."

In other instances, researchers might look at commonly held beliefs or folk wisdom. "Birds of a feather flock together" is one example of folk adage that a psychologist might try to investigate. The researcher might pose a specific hypothesis that "People tend to select romantic partners who are similar to them in interests and educational level."

## Elements of a Good Hypothesis

So how do you write a good hypothesis? When trying to come up with a hypothesis for your research or experiments, ask yourself the following questions:

- Is your hypothesis based on your research on a topic?
- Can your hypothesis be tested?
- Does your hypothesis include independent and dependent variables?

Before you come up with a specific hypothesis, spend some time doing background research. Once you have completed a literature review, start thinking about potential questions you still have. Pay attention to the discussion section in the journal articles you read . Many authors will suggest questions that still need to be explored.

## How to Formulate a Good Hypothesis

To form a hypothesis, you should take these steps:

- Collect as many observations about a topic or problem as you can.
- Evaluate these observations and look for possible causes of the problem.
- Create a list of possible explanations that you might want to explore.
- After you have developed some possible hypotheses, think of ways that you could confirm or disprove each hypothesis through experimentation. This is known as falsifiability.

In the scientific method , falsifiability is an important part of any valid hypothesis. In order to test a claim scientifically, it must be possible that the claim could be proven false.

Students sometimes confuse the idea of falsifiability with the idea that it means that something is false, which is not the case. What falsifiability means is that if something was false, then it is possible to demonstrate that it is false.

One of the hallmarks of pseudoscience is that it makes claims that cannot be refuted or proven false.

## The Importance of Operational Definitions

A variable is a factor or element that can be changed and manipulated in ways that are observable and measurable. However, the researcher must also define how the variable will be manipulated and measured in the study.

Operational definitions are specific definitions for all relevant factors in a study. This process helps make vague or ambiguous concepts detailed and measurable.

For example, a researcher might operationally define the variable " test anxiety " as the results of a self-report measure of anxiety experienced during an exam. A "study habits" variable might be defined by the amount of studying that actually occurs as measured by time.

These precise descriptions are important because many things can be measured in various ways. Clearly defining these variables and how they are measured helps ensure that other researchers can replicate your results.

## Replicability

One of the basic principles of any type of scientific research is that the results must be replicable.

Replication means repeating an experiment in the same way to produce the same results. By clearly detailing the specifics of how the variables were measured and manipulated, other researchers can better understand the results and repeat the study if needed.

Some variables are more difficult than others to define. For example, how would you operationally define a variable such as aggression ? For obvious ethical reasons, researchers cannot create a situation in which a person behaves aggressively toward others.

To measure this variable, the researcher must devise a measurement that assesses aggressive behavior without harming others. The researcher might utilize a simulated task to measure aggressiveness in this situation.

## Hypothesis Checklist

- Does your hypothesis focus on something that you can actually test?
- Does your hypothesis include both an independent and dependent variable?
- Can you manipulate the variables?
- Can your hypothesis be tested without violating ethical standards?

The hypothesis you use will depend on what you are investigating and hoping to find. Some of the main types of hypotheses that you might use include:

- Simple hypothesis : This type of hypothesis suggests there is a relationship between one independent variable and one dependent variable.
- Complex hypothesis : This type suggests a relationship between three or more variables, such as two independent and dependent variables.
- Null hypothesis : This hypothesis suggests no relationship exists between two or more variables.
- Alternative hypothesis : This hypothesis states the opposite of the null hypothesis.
- Statistical hypothesis : This hypothesis uses statistical analysis to evaluate a representative population sample and then generalizes the findings to the larger group.
- Logical hypothesis : This hypothesis assumes a relationship between variables without collecting data or evidence.

A hypothesis often follows a basic format of "If {this happens} then {this will happen}." One way to structure your hypothesis is to describe what will happen to the dependent variable if you change the independent variable .

The basic format might be: "If {these changes are made to a certain independent variable}, then we will observe {a change in a specific dependent variable}."

## A few examples of simple hypotheses:

- "Students who eat breakfast will perform better on a math exam than students who do not eat breakfast."
- "Students who experience test anxiety before an English exam will get lower scores than students who do not experience test anxiety."
- "Motorists who talk on the phone while driving will be more likely to make errors on a driving course than those who do not talk on the phone."
- "Children who receive a new reading intervention will have higher reading scores than students who do not receive the intervention."

## Examples of a complex hypothesis include:

- "People with high-sugar diets and sedentary activity levels are more likely to develop depression."
- "Younger people who are regularly exposed to green, outdoor areas have better subjective well-being than older adults who have limited exposure to green spaces."

## Examples of a null hypothesis include:

- "There is no difference in anxiety levels between people who take St. John's wort supplements and those who do not."
- "There is no difference in scores on a memory recall task between children and adults."
- "There is no difference in aggression levels between children who play first-person shooter games and those who do not."

## Examples of an alternative hypothesis:

- "People who take St. John's wort supplements will have less anxiety than those who do not."
- "Adults will perform better on a memory task than children."
- "Children who play first-person shooter games will show higher levels of aggression than children who do not."

## Collecting Data on Your Hypothesis

Once a researcher has formed a testable hypothesis, the next step is to select a research design and start collecting data. The research method depends largely on exactly what they are studying. There are two basic types of research methods: descriptive research and experimental research.

## Descriptive Research Methods

Descriptive research such as case studies , naturalistic observations , and surveys are often used when conducting an experiment is difficult or impossible. These methods are best used to describe different aspects of a behavior or psychological phenomenon.

Once a researcher has collected data using descriptive methods, a correlational study can examine how the variables are related. This research method might be used to investigate a hypothesis that is difficult to test experimentally.

## Experimental Research Methods

Experimental methods are used to demonstrate causal relationships between variables. In an experiment, the researcher systematically manipulates a variable of interest (known as the independent variable) and measures the effect on another variable (known as the dependent variable).

Unlike correlational studies, which can only be used to determine if there is a relationship between two variables, experimental methods can be used to determine the actual nature of the relationship—whether changes in one variable actually cause another to change.

The hypothesis is a critical part of any scientific exploration. It represents what researchers expect to find in a study or experiment. In situations where the hypothesis is unsupported by the research, the research still has value. Such research helps us better understand how different aspects of the natural world relate to one another. It also helps us develop new hypotheses that can then be tested in the future.

Thompson WH, Skau S. On the scope of scientific hypotheses . R Soc Open Sci . 2023;10(8):230607. doi:10.1098/rsos.230607

Taran S, Adhikari NKJ, Fan E. Falsifiability in medicine: what clinicians can learn from Karl Popper [published correction appears in Intensive Care Med. 2021 Jun 17;:]. Intensive Care Med . 2021;47(9):1054-1056. doi:10.1007/s00134-021-06432-z

Eyler AA. Research Methods for Public Health . 1st ed. Springer Publishing Company; 2020. doi:10.1891/9780826182067.0004

Nosek BA, Errington TM. What is replication ? PLoS Biol . 2020;18(3):e3000691. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.3000691

Aggarwal R, Ranganathan P. Study designs: Part 2 - Descriptive studies . Perspect Clin Res . 2019;10(1):34-36. doi:10.4103/picr.PICR_154_18

Nevid J. Psychology: Concepts and Applications. Wadworth, 2013.

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

## Scientific Method: Step 3: HYPOTHESIS

- Step 1: QUESTION
- Step 2: RESEARCH
- Step 3: HYPOTHESIS
- Step 4: EXPERIMENT
- Step 5: DATA
- Step 6: CONCLUSION

## Step 3: State your hypothesis

Now it's time to state your hypothesis . The hypothesis is an educated guess as to what will happen during your experiment.

The hypothesis is often written using the words "IF" and "THEN." For example, " If I do not study, then I will fail the test." The "if' and "then" statements reflect your independent and dependent variables .

The hypothesis should relate back to your original question and must be testable .

A word about variables...

Your experiment will include variables to measure and to explain any cause and effect. Below you will find some useful links describing the different types of variables.

- "What are independent and dependent variables" NCES
- [VIDEO] Biology: Independent vs. Dependent Variables (Nucleus Medical Media) Video explaining independent and dependent variables, with examples.

## Resource Links

- What is and How to Write a Good Hypothesis in Research? (Elsevier)
- Hypothesis brochure from Penn State/Berks

- << Previous: Step 2: RESEARCH
- Next: Step 4: EXPERIMENT >>
- Last Updated: Jan 26, 2024 10:39 AM
- URL: https://harford.libguides.com/scientific_method

## How to Write a Hypothesis

If I [do something], then [this] will happen.

This basic statement/formula should be pretty familiar to all of you as it is the starting point of almost every scientific project or paper. It is a hypothesis – a statement that showcases what you “think” will happen during an experiment. This assumption is made based on the knowledge, facts, and data you already have.

How do you write a hypothesis? If you have a clear understanding of the proper structure of a hypothesis, you should not find it too hard to create one. However, if you have never written a hypothesis before, you might find it a bit frustrating. In this article from EssayPro - custom essay writing services , we are going to tell you everything you need to know about hypotheses, their types, and practical tips for writing them.

## Hypothesis Definition

According to the definition, a hypothesis is an assumption one makes based on existing knowledge. To elaborate, it is a statement that translates the initial research question into a logical prediction shaped on the basis of available facts and evidence. To solve a specific problem, one first needs to identify the research problem (research question), conduct initial research, and set out to answer the given question by performing experiments and observing their outcomes. However, before one can move to the experimental part of the research, they should first identify what they expect to see for results. At this stage, a scientist makes an educated guess and writes a hypothesis that he or she is going to prove or refute in the course of their study.

## Get Help With Writing a Hypothesis Now!

Head on over to EssayPro. We can help you with editing and polishing up any of the work you speedwrite.

A hypothesis can also be seen as a form of development of knowledge. It is a well-grounded assumption put forward to clarify the properties and causes of the phenomena being studied.

As a rule, a hypothesis is formed based on a number of observations and examples that confirm it. This way, it looks plausible as it is backed up with some known information. The hypothesis is subsequently proved by turning it into an established fact or refuted (for example, by pointing out a counterexample), which allows it to attribute it to the category of false statements.

As a student, you may be asked to create a hypothesis statement as a part of your academic papers. Hypothesis-based approaches are commonly used among scientific academic works, including but not limited to research papers, theses, and dissertations.

Note that in some disciplines, a hypothesis statement is called a thesis statement. However, its essence and purpose remain unchanged – this statement aims to make an assumption regarding the outcomes of the investigation that will either be proved or refuted.

## Characteristics and Sources of a Hypothesis

Now, as you know what a hypothesis is in a nutshell, let’s look at the key characteristics that define it:

- It has to be clear and accurate in order to look reliable.
- It has to be specific.
- There should be scope for further investigation and experiments.
- A hypothesis should be explained in simple language—while retaining its significance.
- If you are making a relational hypothesis, two essential elements you have to include are variables and the relationship between them.

The main sources of a hypothesis are:

- Scientific theories.
- Observations from previous studies and current experiences.
- The resemblance among different phenomena.
- General patterns that affect people’s thinking process.

## Types of Hypothesis

Basically, there are two major types of scientific hypothesis: alternative and null.

- Alternative Hypothesis

This type of hypothesis is generally denoted as H1. This statement is used to identify the expected outcome of your research. According to the alternative hypothesis definition, this type of hypothesis can be further divided into two subcategories:

- Directional — a statement that explains the direction of the expected outcomes. Sometimes this type of hypothesis is used to study the relationship between variables rather than comparing between the groups.
- Non-directional — unlike the directional alternative hypothesis, a non-directional one does not imply a specific direction of the expected outcomes.

Now, let’s see an alternative hypothesis example for each type:

Directional: Attending more lectures will result in improved test scores among students. Non-directional: Lecture attendance will influence test scores among students.

Notice how in the directional hypothesis we specified that the attendance of more lectures will boost student’s performance on tests, whereas in the non-directional hypothesis we only stated that there is a relationship between the two variables (i.e. lecture attendance and students’ test scores) but did not specify whether the performance will improve or decrease.

- Null Hypothesis

This type of hypothesis is generally denoted as H0. This statement is the complete opposite of what you expect or predict will happen throughout the course of your study—meaning it is the opposite of your alternative hypothesis. Simply put, a null hypothesis claims that there is no exact or actual correlation between the variables defined in the hypothesis.

To give you a better idea of how to write a null hypothesis, here is a clear example: Lecture attendance has no effect on student’s test scores.

Both of these types of hypotheses provide specific clarifications and restatements of the research problem. The main difference between these hypotheses and a research problem is that the latter is just a question that can’t be tested, whereas hypotheses can.

Based on the alternative and null hypothesis examples provided earlier, we can conclude that the importance and main purpose of these hypotheses are that they deliver a rough description of the subject matter. The main purpose of these statements is to give an investigator a specific guess that can be directly tested in a study. Simply put, a hypothesis outlines the framework, scope, and direction for the study. Although null and alternative hypotheses are the major types, there are also a few more to keep in mind:

Research Hypothesis — a statement that is used to test the correlation between two or more variables.

For example: Eating vitamin-rich foods affects human health.

Simple Hypothesis — a statement used to indicate the correlation between one independent and one dependent variable.

For example: Eating more vegetables leads to better immunity.

Complex Hypothesis — a statement used to indicate the correlation between two or more independent variables and two or more dependent variables.

For example: Eating more fruits and vegetables leads to better immunity, weight loss, and lower risk of diseases.

Associative and Causal Hypothesis — an associative hypothesis is a statement used to indicate the correlation between variables under the scenario when a change in one variable inevitably changes the other variable. A causal hypothesis is a statement that highlights the cause and effect relationship between variables.

Be sure to read how to write a DBQ - this article will expand your understanding.

## Add a secret ingredient to your hypothesis

Help of a professional writer.

## Hypothesis vs Prediction

When speaking of hypotheses, another term that comes to mind is prediction. These two terms are often used interchangeably, which can be rather confusing. Although both a hypothesis and prediction can generally be defined as “guesses” and can be easy to confuse, these terms are different. The main difference between a hypothesis and a prediction is that the first is predominantly used in science, while the latter is most often used outside of science.

Simply put, a hypothesis is an intelligent assumption. It is a guess made regarding the nature of the unknown (or less known) phenomena based on existing knowledge, studies, and/or series of experiments, and is otherwise grounded by valid facts. The main purpose of a hypothesis is to use available facts to create a logical relationship between variables in order to provide a more precise scientific explanation. Additionally, hypotheses are statements that can be tested with further experiments. It is an assumption you make regarding the flow and outcome(s) of your research study.

A prediction, on the contrary, is a guess that often lacks grounding. Although, in theory, a prediction can be scientific, in most cases it is rather fictional—i.e. a pure guess that is not based on current knowledge and/or facts. As a rule, predictions are linked to foretelling events that may or may not occur in the future. Often, a person who makes predictions has little or no actual knowledge of the subject matter he or she makes the assumption about.

Another big difference between these terms is in the methodology used to prove each of them. A prediction can only be proven once. You can determine whether it is right or wrong only upon the occurrence or non-occurrence of the predicted event. A hypothesis, on the other hand, offers scope for further testing and experiments. Additionally, a hypothesis can be proven in multiple stages. This basically means that a single hypothesis can be proven or refuted numerous times by different scientists who use different scientific tools and methods.

To give you a better idea of how a hypothesis is different from a prediction, let’s look at the following examples:

Hypothesis: If I eat more vegetables and fruits, then I will lose weight faster.

This is a hypothesis because it is based on generally available knowledge (i.e. fruits and vegetables include fewer calories compared to other foods) and past experiences (i.e. people who give preference to healthier foods like fruits and vegetables are losing weight easier). It is still a guess, but it is based on facts and can be tested with an experiment.

Prediction: The end of the world will occur in 2023.

This is a prediction because it foretells future events. However, this assumption is fictional as it doesn’t have any actual grounded evidence supported by facts.

Based on everything that was said earlier and our examples, we can highlight the following key takeaways:

- A hypothesis, unlike a prediction, is a more intelligent assumption based on facts.
- Hypotheses define existing variables and analyze the relationship(s) between them.
- Predictions are most often fictional and lack grounding.
- A prediction is most often used to foretell events in the future.
- A prediction can only be proven once – when the predicted event occurs or doesn’t occur.
- A hypothesis can remain a hypothesis even if one scientist has already proven or disproven it. Other scientists in the future can obtain a different result using other methods and tools.

We also recommend that you read about some informative essay topics .

Now, as you know what a hypothesis is, what types of it exist, and how it differs from a prediction, you are probably wondering how to state a hypothesis. In this section, we will guide you through the main stages of writing a good hypothesis and provide handy tips and examples to help you overcome this challenge:

## 1. Define Your Research Question

Here is one thing to keep in mind – regardless of the paper or project you are working on, the process should always start with asking the right research question. A perfect research question should be specific, clear, focused (meaning not too broad), and manageable.

Example: How does eating fruits and vegetables affect human health?

## 2. Conduct Your Basic Initial Research

As you already know, a hypothesis is an educated guess of the expected results and outcomes of an investigation. Thus, it is vital to collect some information before you can make this assumption.

At this stage, you should find an answer to your research question based on what has already been discovered. Search for facts, past studies, theories, etc. Based on the collected information, you should be able to make a logical and intelligent guess.

## 3. Formulate a Hypothesis

Based on the initial research, you should have a certain idea of what you may find throughout the course of your research. Use this knowledge to shape a clear and concise hypothesis.

Based on the type of project you are working on, and the type of hypothesis you are planning to use, you can restate your hypothesis in several different ways:

Non-directional: Eating fruits and vegetables will affect one’s human physical health. Directional: Eating fruits and vegetables will positively affect one’s human physical health. Null: Eating fruits and vegetables will have no effect on one’s human physical health.

## 4. Refine Your Hypothesis

Finally, the last stage of creating a good hypothesis is refining what you’ve got. During this step, you need to define whether your hypothesis:

- Has clear and relevant variables;
- Identifies the relationship between its variables;
- Is specific and testable;
- Suggests a predicted result of the investigation or experiment.

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## Hypothesis Examples

Following a step-by-step guide and tips from our essay writers for hire , you should be able to create good hypotheses with ease. To give you a starting point, we have also compiled a list of different research questions with one hypothesis and one null hypothesis example for each:

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Sometimes, coping with a large academic load is just too much for a student to handle. Papers like research papers and dissertations can take too much time and effort to write, and, often, a hypothesis is a necessary starting point to get the task on track. Writing or editing a hypothesis is not as easy as it may seem. However, if you need help with forming it, the team at EssayPro is always ready to come to your rescue! If you’re feeling stuck, or don’t have enough time to cope with other tasks, don’t hesitate to send us you rewrite my essay for me or any other request.

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## Experiment_602_Empirical Formula of MgO 1_4_2

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Experiment 60 2 : Empirical Formula

Section 1: Purpose and Summary

Determine the empirical formula of magnesium oxide.

Calculate the mass of oxygen using weighing-by-difference.

Calculate the mole of a sample from its mass.

In this experiment, students will conduct the reaction between magnesium and oxygen gas. Students will determine the mass of magnesium sample before and after the reaction, and the mass of magnesium and oxygen in the product. Students will learn how to convert mass to mole of a given sample and determine empirical formula of a substance from mass and mole data.

Section 2: Safety Precautions and Waste Disposal

Safety Precautions:

Do not look directly at the burning magnesium ribbon. The flame is bright enough to damage your eye. Use of eye protection is required for all experimental procedures.

A hot crucible will break if placed directly on a cold surface. Set hot crucibles on to wire screens to cool.

A hot crucible will break if splashed with water directly. Let crucibles cool prior to adding water.

Waste Disposal:

The solid product from the reaction can be disposed into the regular garbage can in the lab.

Section 3: Procedure

Part 1: Preparation of the c rucible

Part 2 : Preparation of m agnesium s ample

Part 3: Heating the m agnesium s ample

Section 4: Calculations

Post Lab Questions:

1. There are some experimental errors that could lead to high or low mole ratio between Mg and O. In each case below, decide whether the situation described would lead to a calculated ratio of too much oxygen, or too little oxygen, and explain your answer.

(a) You forgot to do the initial drying step and proceeded right away to weighing the crucible and lid you obtained from the stockroom.

(b) Your magnesium ribbon is not shiny. But you did not polish it with steel wool prior to use as indicated in the experiment.

(c) You added more laboratory water than is needed in Part 3 Step 7, and you did not dry it out completely.

(d) After strong heating of the crucible you removed the lid but dropped it and broke. You then obtained a new lid for the final weighing.

2. A similar experiment is performed to determine the empirical formula of an oxide of copper, and the following data were collected. Predict the empirical formula of the copper oxide from these data.

Mass of crucible, cover, and copper sample 21.53 g

Mass of empty crucible with cover 19.66 g

Mass of crucible and cover and sample (after heating) 21.76 g

How can the experiment for the determination of the empirical formula of an oxide of copper be improved?

## IMAGES

## VIDEO

## COMMENTS

Developing a hypothesis (with example) Step 1. Ask a question. Writing a hypothesis begins with a research question that you want to answer. The question should be focused, specific, and researchable within the constraints of your project. Example: Research question.

Table of contents. Step 1: State your null and alternate hypothesis. Step 2: Collect data. Step 3: Perform a statistical test. Step 4: Decide whether to reject or fail to reject your null hypothesis. Step 5: Present your findings. Other interesting articles. Frequently asked questions about hypothesis testing.

Hypothesis testing is a technique that is used to verify whether the results of an experiment are statistically significant. It involves the setting up of a null hypothesis and an alternate hypothesis. There are three types of tests that can be conducted under hypothesis testing - z test, t test, and chi square test.

Steps for Formulating a Hypothesis for an Experiment. Step 1: State the question your experiment is looking to answer. The question this experiment is looking to answer is how the amount of sleep ...

Predictions should include both an independent variable (the factor you change in an experiment) and a dependent variable (the factor you observe or measure in an experiment). A single hypothesis can lead to multiple predictions, but generally, one or two predictions is enough to tackle for a science fair project.

Test Statistic: z = x¯¯¯ −μo σ/ n−−√ z = x ¯ − μ o σ / n since it is calculated as part of the testing of the hypothesis. Definition 7.1.4 7.1. 4. p - value: probability that the test statistic will take on more extreme values than the observed test statistic, given that the null hypothesis is true.

Here, we'll be using the formula below for the general form of the test statistic. Determine the p-value. The p-value is the area under the standard normal distribution that is more extreme than the test statistic in the direction of the alternative hypothesis. Make a decision. If \(p \leq \alpha\) reject the null hypothesis.

To test a null hypothesis, find the p -value for the sample data and graph the results. When deciding whether or not to reject the null the hypothesis, keep these two parameters in mind: α > p − value, reject the null hypothesis. α ≤ p − value, do not reject the null hypothesis.

This page titled 9.1: Introduction to Hypothesis Testing is shared under a CC BY 2.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Kyle Siegrist ( Random Services) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request. In hypothesis testing, the goal is ...

This chapter lays out the basic logic and process of hypothesis testing. We will perform z tests, which use the z score formula from Chapter 6 and data from a sample mean to make an inference about a population.. Logic and Purpose of Hypothesis Testing. A hypothesis is a prediction that is tested in a research study. The statistician R. A. Fisher explained the concept of hypothesis testing ...

Countless hypotheses have been developed and tested throughout the history of science.Several examples include the idea that living organisms develop from nonliving matter, which formed the basis of spontaneous generation, a hypothesis that ultimately was disproved (first in 1668, with the experiments of Italian physician Francesco Redi, and later in 1859, with the experiments of French ...

The actual test begins by considering two hypotheses.They are called the null hypothesis and the alternative hypothesis.These hypotheses contain opposing viewpoints. H 0, the —null hypothesis: a statement of no difference between sample means or proportions or no difference between a sample mean or proportion and a population mean or proportion. In other words, the difference equals 0.

A. The facts collected from an experiment are written in the form of a hypothesis. A hypothesis is the correct answer to a scientific question. B. A hypothesis is the correct answer to a scientific question. A hypothesis is a possible, testable explanation for a scientific question. C.

What is a hypothesis and how can you write a great one for your research? A hypothesis is a tentative statement about the relationship between two or more variables that can be tested empirically. Find out how to formulate a clear, specific, and testable hypothesis with examples and tips from Verywell Mind, a trusted source of psychology and mental health information.

The hypothesis is an educated guess as to what will happen during your experiment. The hypothesis is often written using the words "IF" and "THEN." For example, "If I do not study, then I will fail the test." The "if' and "then" statements reflect your independent and dependent variables.

This basic statement/formula should be pretty familiar to all of you as it is the starting point of almost every scientific project or paper. It is a hypothesis - a statement that showcases what you "think" will happen during an experiment. This assumption is made based on the knowledge, facts, and data you already have.

The steps for the scientific method are as follows: Pose a Question. Perform Background Research and Write the Research Paper. Formulate a Hypothesis. Design and Conduct an Experiment. Collect and Record Data. Graphing and Analyzing the Data. Drawing Conclusions. Writing the Final Report.

Table of contents. Step 1: Define your variables. Step 2: Write your hypothesis. Step 3: Design your experimental treatments. Step 4: Assign your subjects to treatment groups. Step 5: Measure your dependent variable. Other interesting articles. Frequently asked questions about experiments.

All hypothesis tests boil your sample data down to a single number known as a test statistic. T-tests use t-values. F-tests use F-values. Chi-square tests use chi-square values. Choosing the correct one depends on the type of data you have and how you want to analyze it. ... The t-value formula for a 1-sample t-test is the following: Where: x̄ ...

The alternative hypothesis (H a) is the other answer to your research question. It claims that there's an effect in the population. Often, your alternative hypothesis is the same as your research hypothesis. In other words, it's the claim that you expect or hope will be true. The alternative hypothesis is the complement to the null hypothesis.

2. A similar experiment is performed to determine the empirical formula of an oxide of copper, and the following data were collected. Predict the empirical formula of the copper oxide from these data. Mass of crucible, cover, and copper sample 21.53 g . Mass of empty crucible with cover 19.66 g

This hypothesis provides a complementary explanation why some substrates in soil are preserved over decades, although they are often decomposed within a few years in incubation experiments. This study shows how optimality considerations lead to simplified models, new insights, and new hypotheses. This is another step in deriving a simple ...

The dark forest hypothesis is the conjecture that many alien civilizations exist throughout the universe, but they are both silent and hostile, maintaining their undetectability for fear of being destroyed by another hostile and undetected civilization. It is one of many possible explanations of the Fermi paradox, which contrasts the lack of contact with alien life with the potential for such ...

An Introduction to t Tests | Definitions, Formula and Examples. Published on January 31, 2020 by Rebecca Bevans.Revised on June 22, 2023. A t test is a statistical test that is used to compare the means of two groups. It is often used in hypothesis testing to determine whether a process or treatment actually has an effect on the population of interest, or whether two groups are different from ...