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State Null and Alternative Hypotheses

For each null hypothesis anddistribution, we can define a region of rejection, which contains valuesof the statistic that would cause us to reject H0.

A related criticism is that a significant rejection of a null hypothesis might not be biologically meaningful, if the difference is too small to matter. For example, in the chicken-sex experiment, having a treatment that produced 49.9% male chicks might be significantly different from 50%, but it wouldn't be enough to make farmers want to buy your treatment. These critics say you should estimate the effect size and put a on it, not estimate a P value. So the goal of your chicken-sex experiment should not be to say "Chocolate gives a proportion of males that is significantly less than 50% (P=0.015)" but to say "Chocolate produced 36.1% males with a 95% confidence interval of 25.9 to 47.4%." For the chicken-feet experiment, you would say something like "The difference between males and females in mean foot size is 2.45 mm, with a confidence interval on the difference of ±1.98 mm."

State Null and Alternative Hypotheses

State Null and Alternative Hypotheses

State Null and Alternative Hypotheses

As such, by taking a hypothesis testing approach, Sarah and Mike want to generalize their results to a population rather than just the students in their sample. However, in order to use hypothesis testing, you need to re-state your research hypothesis as a null and alternative hypothesis. Before you can do this, it is best to consider the process/structure involved in hypothesis testing and what you are measuring. This structure is presented .

One of the main goals of statistical hypothesis testing is to estimate the P value, which is the probability of obtaining the observed results, or something more extreme, if the null hypothesis were true. If the observed results are unlikely under the null hypothesis, your reject the null hypothesis. Alternatives to this "frequentist" approach to statistics include Bayesian statistics and estimation of effect sizes and confidence intervals.

State Null and Alternative Hypotheses

The alternative hypothesis can bedirectional or non-directional.“Eating oatmeal lowers cholesterol” is a directional hypothesis; “Amountof sleep affects test scores” is non-directional.

State Null and Alternative Hypotheses

Finally, say you work for the company marketing the pie, and you think the pie can be made in less than five minutes (and could be marketed by the company as such). The less-than alternative is the one you want, and your two hypotheses would be

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State Null and Alternative Hypotheses


the null hypothesis is rejected when it is true b.

Typically in a hypothesis test, the claim being made is about a population (one number that characterizes the entire population). Because parameters tend to be unknown quantities, everyone wants to make claims about what their values may be. For example, the claim that 25% (or 0.25) of all women have varicose veins is a claim about the proportion (that’s the ) of all women (that’s the ) who have varicose veins (that’s the — having or not having varicose veins).

the null hypothesis is not rejected when it is false c.

Researchers often challenge claims about population parameters. You may hypothesize, for example, that the actual proportion of women who have varicose veins is lower than 0.25, based on your observations. Or you may hypothesize that due to the popularity of high heeled shoes, the proportion may be higher than 0.25. Or if you’re simply questioning whether the actual proportion is 0.25, your alternative hypothesis is: “No, it isn’t 0.25.”

the null hypothesis is probably wrong b.

Every hypothesis test contains a set of two opposing statements, or hypotheses, about a population parameter. The first hypothesis is called the denoted H0. The null hypothesis always states that the population parameter is to the claimed value. For example, if the claim is that the average time to make a name-brand ready-mix pie is five minutes, the statistical shorthand notation for the null hypothesis in this case would be as follows:

the result would be unexpected if the null hypothesis were true c.

Before actually conducting a hypothesis test, you have to put two possible hypotheses on the table — the null hypothesis is one of them. But, if the null hypothesis is rejected (that is, there was sufficient evidence against it), what’s your alternative going to be? Actually, three possibilities exist for the second (or alternative) hypothesis, denoted Ha. Here they are, along with their shorthand notations in the context of the pie example:

the null hypothesis is probably true d.

Which alternative hypothesis you choose in setting up your hypothesis test depends on what you’re interested in concluding, should you have enough evidence to refute the null hypothesis (the claim). The alternative hypothesis should be decided upon before collecting or looking at any data, so as not to influence the results.

One can never prove the truth of a statistical (null) hypothesis.

For example, if you want to test whether a company is correct in claiming its pie takes five minutes to make and it doesn’t matter whether the actual average time is more or less than that, you use the not-equal-to alternative. Your hypotheses for that test would be

failing to reject the null hypothesis when it is false.

If you only want to see whether the time turns out to be greater than what the company claims (that is, whether the company is falsely advertising its quick prep time), you use the greater-than alternative, and your two hypotheses are

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