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Hypothesis Testing – A Deep Dive into Hypothesis Testing, The Backbone of Statistical Inference

  • September 21, 2023

Explore the intricacies of hypothesis testing, a cornerstone of statistical analysis. Dive into methods, interpretations, and applications for making data-driven decisions.

how to test a hypothesis using data

In this Blog post we will learn:

  • What is Hypothesis Testing?
  • Steps in Hypothesis Testing 2.1. Set up Hypotheses: Null and Alternative 2.2. Choose a Significance Level (α) 2.3. Calculate a test statistic and P-Value 2.4. Make a Decision
  • Example : Testing a new drug.
  • Example in python

1. What is Hypothesis Testing?

In simple terms, hypothesis testing is a method used to make decisions or inferences about population parameters based on sample data. Imagine being handed a dice and asked if it’s biased. By rolling it a few times and analyzing the outcomes, you’d be engaging in the essence of hypothesis testing.

Think of hypothesis testing as the scientific method of the statistics world. Suppose you hear claims like “This new drug works wonders!” or “Our new website design boosts sales.” How do you know if these statements hold water? Enter hypothesis testing.

2. Steps in Hypothesis Testing

  • Set up Hypotheses : Begin with a null hypothesis (H0) and an alternative hypothesis (Ha).
  • Choose a Significance Level (α) : Typically 0.05, this is the probability of rejecting the null hypothesis when it’s actually true. Think of it as the chance of accusing an innocent person.
  • Calculate Test statistic and P-Value : Gather evidence (data) and calculate a test statistic.
  • p-value : This is the probability of observing the data, given that the null hypothesis is true. A small p-value (typically ≤ 0.05) suggests the data is inconsistent with the null hypothesis.
  • Decision Rule : If the p-value is less than or equal to α, you reject the null hypothesis in favor of the alternative.

2.1. Set up Hypotheses: Null and Alternative

Before diving into testing, we must formulate hypotheses. The null hypothesis (H0) represents the default assumption, while the alternative hypothesis (H1) challenges it.

For instance, in drug testing, H0 : “The new drug is no better than the existing one,” H1 : “The new drug is superior .”

2.2. Choose a Significance Level (α)

When You collect and analyze data to test H0 and H1 hypotheses. Based on your analysis, you decide whether to reject the null hypothesis in favor of the alternative, or fail to reject / Accept the null hypothesis.

The significance level, often denoted by $α$, represents the probability of rejecting the null hypothesis when it is actually true.

In other words, it’s the risk you’re willing to take of making a Type I error (false positive).

Type I Error (False Positive) :

  • Symbolized by the Greek letter alpha (α).
  • Occurs when you incorrectly reject a true null hypothesis . In other words, you conclude that there is an effect or difference when, in reality, there isn’t.
  • The probability of making a Type I error is denoted by the significance level of a test. Commonly, tests are conducted at the 0.05 significance level , which means there’s a 5% chance of making a Type I error .
  • Commonly used significance levels are 0.01, 0.05, and 0.10, but the choice depends on the context of the study and the level of risk one is willing to accept.

Example : If a drug is not effective (truth), but a clinical trial incorrectly concludes that it is effective (based on the sample data), then a Type I error has occurred.

Type II Error (False Negative) :

  • Symbolized by the Greek letter beta (β).
  • Occurs when you accept a false null hypothesis . This means you conclude there is no effect or difference when, in reality, there is.
  • The probability of making a Type II error is denoted by β. The power of a test (1 – β) represents the probability of correctly rejecting a false null hypothesis.

Example : If a drug is effective (truth), but a clinical trial incorrectly concludes that it is not effective (based on the sample data), then a Type II error has occurred.

Balancing the Errors :

how to test a hypothesis using data

In practice, there’s a trade-off between Type I and Type II errors. Reducing the risk of one typically increases the risk of the other. For example, if you want to decrease the probability of a Type I error (by setting a lower significance level), you might increase the probability of a Type II error unless you compensate by collecting more data or making other adjustments.

It’s essential to understand the consequences of both types of errors in any given context. In some situations, a Type I error might be more severe, while in others, a Type II error might be of greater concern. This understanding guides researchers in designing their experiments and choosing appropriate significance levels.

2.3. Calculate a test statistic and P-Value

Test statistic : A test statistic is a single number that helps us understand how far our sample data is from what we’d expect under a null hypothesis (a basic assumption we’re trying to test against). Generally, the larger the test statistic, the more evidence we have against our null hypothesis. It helps us decide whether the differences we observe in our data are due to random chance or if there’s an actual effect.

P-value : The P-value tells us how likely we would get our observed results (or something more extreme) if the null hypothesis were true. It’s a value between 0 and 1. – A smaller P-value (typically below 0.05) means that the observation is rare under the null hypothesis, so we might reject the null hypothesis. – A larger P-value suggests that what we observed could easily happen by random chance, so we might not reject the null hypothesis.

2.4. Make a Decision

Relationship between $α$ and P-Value

When conducting a hypothesis test:

We then calculate the p-value from our sample data and the test statistic.

Finally, we compare the p-value to our chosen $α$:

  • If $p−value≤α$: We reject the null hypothesis in favor of the alternative hypothesis. The result is said to be statistically significant.
  • If $p−value>α$: We fail to reject the null hypothesis. There isn’t enough statistical evidence to support the alternative hypothesis.

3. Example : Testing a new drug.

Imagine we are investigating whether a new drug is effective at treating headaches faster than drug B.

Setting Up the Experiment : You gather 100 people who suffer from headaches. Half of them (50 people) are given the new drug (let’s call this the ‘Drug Group’), and the other half are given a sugar pill, which doesn’t contain any medication.

  • Set up Hypotheses : Before starting, you make a prediction:
  • Null Hypothesis (H0): The new drug has no effect. Any difference in healing time between the two groups is just due to random chance.
  • Alternative Hypothesis (H1): The new drug does have an effect. The difference in healing time between the two groups is significant and not just by chance.

Calculate Test statistic and P-Value : After the experiment, you analyze the data. The “test statistic” is a number that helps you understand the difference between the two groups in terms of standard units.

For instance, let’s say:

  • The average healing time in the Drug Group is 2 hours.
  • The average healing time in the Placebo Group is 3 hours.

The test statistic helps you understand how significant this 1-hour difference is. If the groups are large and the spread of healing times in each group is small, then this difference might be significant. But if there’s a huge variation in healing times, the 1-hour difference might not be so special.

Imagine the P-value as answering this question: “If the new drug had NO real effect, what’s the probability that I’d see a difference as extreme (or more extreme) as the one I found, just by random chance?”

For instance:

  • P-value of 0.01 means there’s a 1% chance that the observed difference (or a more extreme difference) would occur if the drug had no effect. That’s pretty rare, so we might consider the drug effective.
  • P-value of 0.5 means there’s a 50% chance you’d see this difference just by chance. That’s pretty high, so we might not be convinced the drug is doing much.
  • If the P-value is less than ($α$) 0.05: the results are “statistically significant,” and they might reject the null hypothesis , believing the new drug has an effect.
  • If the P-value is greater than ($α$) 0.05: the results are not statistically significant, and they don’t reject the null hypothesis , remaining unsure if the drug has a genuine effect.

4. Example in python

For simplicity, let’s say we’re using a t-test (common for comparing means). Let’s dive into Python:

Making a Decision : “The results are statistically significant! p-value < 0.05 , The drug seems to have an effect!” If not, we’d say, “Looks like the drug isn’t as miraculous as we thought.”

5. Conclusion

Hypothesis testing is an indispensable tool in data science, allowing us to make data-driven decisions with confidence. By understanding its principles, conducting tests properly, and considering real-world applications, you can harness the power of hypothesis testing to unlock valuable insights from your data.

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Correlation – connecting the dots, the role of correlation in data analysis, sampling and sampling distributions – a comprehensive guide on sampling and sampling distributions, law of large numbers – a deep dive into the world of statistics, central limit theorem – a deep dive into central limit theorem and its significance in statistics, skewness and kurtosis – peaks and tails, understanding data through skewness and kurtosis”, similar articles, complete introduction to linear regression in r, how to implement common statistical significance tests and find the p value, logistic regression – a complete tutorial with examples in r.

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Teach yourself statistics

How to Test Statistical Hypotheses

This lesson describes a general procedure that can be used to test statistical hypotheses.

How to Conduct Hypothesis Tests

All hypothesis tests are conducted the same way. The researcher states a hypothesis to be tested, formulates an analysis plan, analyzes sample data according to the plan, and accepts or rejects the null hypothesis, based on results of the analysis.

  • State the hypotheses. Every hypothesis test requires the analyst to state a null hypothesis and an alternative hypothesis . The hypotheses are stated in such a way that they are mutually exclusive. That is, if one is true, the other must be false; and vice versa.
  • Significance level. Often, researchers choose significance levels equal to 0.01, 0.05, or 0.10; but any value between 0 and 1 can be used.
  • Test method. Typically, the test method involves a test statistic and a sampling distribution . Computed from sample data, the test statistic might be a mean score, proportion, difference between means, difference between proportions, z-score, t statistic, chi-square, etc. Given a test statistic and its sampling distribution, a researcher can assess probabilities associated with the test statistic. If the test statistic probability is less than the significance level, the null hypothesis is rejected.

Test statistic = (Statistic - Parameter) / (Standard deviation of statistic)

Test statistic = (Statistic - Parameter) / (Standard error of statistic)

  • P-value. The P-value is the probability of observing a sample statistic as extreme as the test statistic, assuming the null hypothesis is true.
  • Interpret the results. If the sample findings are unlikely, given the null hypothesis, the researcher rejects the null hypothesis. Typically, this involves comparing the P-value to the significance level , and rejecting the null hypothesis when the P-value is less than the significance level.

Applications of the General Hypothesis Testing Procedure

The next few lessons show how to apply the general hypothesis testing procedure to different kinds of statistical problems.

  • Proportions
  • Difference between proportions
  • Regression slope
  • Difference between means
  • Difference between matched pairs
  • Goodness of fit
  • Homogeneity
  • Independence

At this point, don't worry if the general procedure for testing hypotheses seems a little bit unclear. The procedure will be clearer as you see it applied in the next few lessons.

Test Your Understanding

In hypothesis testing, which of the following statements is always true?

I. The P-value is greater than the significance level. II. The P-value is computed from the significance level. III. The P-value is the parameter in the null hypothesis. IV. The P-value is a test statistic. V. The P-value is a probability.

(A) I only (B) II only (C) III only (D) IV only (E) V only

The correct answer is (E). The P-value is the probability of observing a sample statistic as extreme as the test statistic. It can be greater than the significance level, but it can also be smaller than the significance level. It is not computed from the significance level, it is not the parameter in the null hypothesis, and it is not a test statistic.

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4.4: Hypothesis Testing

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  • Page ID 283

  • David Diez, Christopher Barr, & Mine Çetinkaya-Rundel
  • OpenIntro Statistics

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Is the typical US runner getting faster or slower over time? We consider this question in the context of the Cherry Blossom Run, comparing runners in 2006 and 2012. Technological advances in shoes, training, and diet might suggest runners would be faster in 2012. An opposing viewpoint might say that with the average body mass index on the rise, people tend to run slower. In fact, all of these components might be influencing run time.

In addition to considering run times in this section, we consider a topic near and dear to most students: sleep. A recent study found that college students average about 7 hours of sleep per night.15 However, researchers at a rural college are interested in showing that their students sleep longer than seven hours on average. We investigate this topic in Section 4.3.4.

Hypothesis Testing Framework

The average time for all runners who finished the Cherry Blossom Run in 2006 was 93.29 minutes (93 minutes and about 17 seconds). We want to determine if the run10Samp data set provides strong evidence that the participants in 2012 were faster or slower than those runners in 2006, versus the other possibility that there has been no change. 16 We simplify these three options into two competing hypotheses :

  • H 0 : The average 10 mile run time was the same for 2006 and 2012.
  • H A : The average 10 mile run time for 2012 was different than that of 2006.

We call H 0 the null hypothesis and H A the alternative hypothesis.

Null and alternative hypotheses

  • The null hypothesis (H 0 ) often represents either a skeptical perspective or a claim to be tested.
  • The alternative hypothesis (H A ) represents an alternative claim under consideration and is often represented by a range of possible parameter values.

15 theloquitur.com/?p=1161

16 While we could answer this question by examining the entire population data (run10), we only consider the sample data (run10Samp), which is more realistic since we rarely have access to population data.

The null hypothesis often represents a skeptical position or a perspective of no difference. The alternative hypothesis often represents a new perspective, such as the possibility that there has been a change.

Hypothesis testing framework

The skeptic will not reject the null hypothesis (H 0 ), unless the evidence in favor of the alternative hypothesis (H A ) is so strong that she rejects H 0 in favor of H A .

The hypothesis testing framework is a very general tool, and we often use it without a second thought. If a person makes a somewhat unbelievable claim, we are initially skeptical. However, if there is sufficient evidence that supports the claim, we set aside our skepticism and reject the null hypothesis in favor of the alternative. The hallmarks of hypothesis testing are also found in the US court system.

Exercise \(\PageIndex{1}\)

A US court considers two possible claims about a defendant: she is either innocent or guilty. If we set these claims up in a hypothesis framework, which would be the null hypothesis and which the alternative? 17

Jurors examine the evidence to see whether it convincingly shows a defendant is guilty. Even if the jurors leave unconvinced of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, this does not mean they believe the defendant is innocent. This is also the case with hypothesis testing: even if we fail to reject the null hypothesis, we typically do not accept the null hypothesis as true. Failing to find strong evidence for the alternative hypothesis is not equivalent to accepting the null hypothesis.

17 H 0 : The average cost is $650 per month, \(\mu\) = $650.

In the example with the Cherry Blossom Run, the null hypothesis represents no difference in the average time from 2006 to 2012. The alternative hypothesis represents something new or more interesting: there was a difference, either an increase or a decrease. These hypotheses can be described in mathematical notation using \(\mu_{12}\) as the average run time for 2012:

  • H 0 : \(\mu_{12} = 93.29\)
  • H A : \(\mu_{12} \ne 93.29\)

where 93.29 minutes (93 minutes and about 17 seconds) is the average 10 mile time for all runners in the 2006 Cherry Blossom Run. Using this mathematical notation, the hypotheses can now be evaluated using statistical tools. We call 93.29 the null value since it represents the value of the parameter if the null hypothesis is true. We will use the run10Samp data set to evaluate the hypothesis test.

Testing Hypotheses using Confidence Intervals

We can start the evaluation of the hypothesis setup by comparing 2006 and 2012 run times using a point estimate from the 2012 sample: \(\bar {x}_{12} = 95.61\) minutes. This estimate suggests the average time is actually longer than the 2006 time, 93.29 minutes. However, to evaluate whether this provides strong evidence that there has been a change, we must consider the uncertainty associated with \(\bar {x}_{12}\).

1 6 The jury considers whether the evidence is so convincing (strong) that there is no reasonable doubt regarding the person's guilt; in such a case, the jury rejects innocence (the null hypothesis) and concludes the defendant is guilty (alternative hypothesis).

We learned in Section 4.1 that there is fluctuation from one sample to another, and it is very unlikely that the sample mean will be exactly equal to our parameter; we should not expect \(\bar {x}_{12}\) to exactly equal \(\mu_{12}\). Given that \(\bar {x}_{12} = 95.61\), it might still be possible that the population average in 2012 has remained unchanged from 2006. The difference between \(\bar {x}_{12}\) and 93.29 could be due to sampling variation, i.e. the variability associated with the point estimate when we take a random sample.

In Section 4.2, confidence intervals were introduced as a way to find a range of plausible values for the population mean. Based on run10Samp, a 95% confidence interval for the 2012 population mean, \(\mu_{12}\), was calculated as

\[(92.45, 98.77)\]

Because the 2006 mean, 93.29, falls in the range of plausible values, we cannot say the null hypothesis is implausible. That is, we failed to reject the null hypothesis, H 0 .

Double negatives can sometimes be used in statistics

In many statistical explanations, we use double negatives. For instance, we might say that the null hypothesis is not implausible or we failed to reject the null hypothesis. Double negatives are used to communicate that while we are not rejecting a position, we are also not saying it is correct.

Example \(\PageIndex{1}\)

Next consider whether there is strong evidence that the average age of runners has changed from 2006 to 2012 in the Cherry Blossom Run. In 2006, the average age was 36.13 years, and in the 2012 run10Samp data set, the average was 35.05 years with a standard deviation of 8.97 years for 100 runners.

First, set up the hypotheses:

  • H 0 : The average age of runners has not changed from 2006 to 2012, \(\mu_{age} = 36.13.\)
  • H A : The average age of runners has changed from 2006 to 2012, \(\mu _{age} 6 \ne 36.13.\)

We have previously veri ed conditions for this data set. The normal model may be applied to \(\bar {y}\) and the estimate of SE should be very accurate. Using the sample mean and standard error, we can construct a 95% con dence interval for \(\mu _{age}\) to determine if there is sufficient evidence to reject H 0 :

\[\bar{y} \pm 1.96 \times \dfrac {s}{\sqrt {100}} \rightarrow 35.05 \pm 1.96 \times 0.90 \rightarrow (33.29, 36.81)\]

This confidence interval contains the null value, 36.13. Because 36.13 is not implausible, we cannot reject the null hypothesis. We have not found strong evidence that the average age is different than 36.13 years.

Exercise \(\PageIndex{2}\)

Colleges frequently provide estimates of student expenses such as housing. A consultant hired by a community college claimed that the average student housing expense was $650 per month. What are the null and alternative hypotheses to test whether this claim is accurate? 18

Sample distribution of student housing expense. These data are moderately skewed, roughly determined using the outliers on the right.

H A : The average cost is different than $650 per month, \(\mu \ne\) $650.

18 Applying the normal model requires that certain conditions are met. Because the data are a simple random sample and the sample (presumably) represents no more than 10% of all students at the college, the observations are independent. The sample size is also sufficiently large (n = 75) and the data exhibit only moderate skew. Thus, the normal model may be applied to the sample mean.

Exercise \(\PageIndex{3}\)

The community college decides to collect data to evaluate the $650 per month claim. They take a random sample of 75 students at their school and obtain the data represented in Figure 4.11. Can we apply the normal model to the sample mean?

If the court makes a Type 1 Error, this means the defendant is innocent (H 0 true) but wrongly convicted. A Type 2 Error means the court failed to reject H 0 (i.e. failed to convict the person) when she was in fact guilty (H A true).

Example \(\PageIndex{2}\)

The sample mean for student housing is $611.63 and the sample standard deviation is $132.85. Construct a 95% confidence interval for the population mean and evaluate the hypotheses of Exercise 4.22.

The standard error associated with the mean may be estimated using the sample standard deviation divided by the square root of the sample size. Recall that n = 75 students were sampled.

\[ SE = \dfrac {s}{\sqrt {n}} = \dfrac {132.85}{\sqrt {75}} = 15.34\]

You showed in Exercise 4.23 that the normal model may be applied to the sample mean. This ensures a 95% confidence interval may be accurately constructed:

\[\bar {x} \pm z*SE \rightarrow 611.63 \pm 1.96 \times 15.34 \times (581.56, 641.70)\]

Because the null value $650 is not in the confidence interval, a true mean of $650 is implausible and we reject the null hypothesis. The data provide statistically significant evidence that the actual average housing expense is less than $650 per month.

Decision Errors

Hypothesis tests are not flawless. Just think of the court system: innocent people are sometimes wrongly convicted and the guilty sometimes walk free. Similarly, we can make a wrong decision in statistical hypothesis tests. However, the difference is that we have the tools necessary to quantify how often we make such errors.

There are two competing hypotheses: the null and the alternative. In a hypothesis test, we make a statement about which one might be true, but we might choose incorrectly. There are four possible scenarios in a hypothesis test, which are summarized in Table 4.12.

Table 4.12: Four different scenarios for hypothesis tests.

Test conclusion

do not reject H

reject H in favor of H

H true

H true

okay

Type 2 Error

Type 1 Error

okay

A Type 1 Error is rejecting the null hypothesis when H0 is actually true. A Type 2 Error is failing to reject the null hypothesis when the alternative is actually true.

Exercise 4.25

In a US court, the defendant is either innocent (H 0 ) or guilty (H A ). What does a Type 1 Error represent in this context? What does a Type 2 Error represent? Table 4.12 may be useful.

To lower the Type 1 Error rate, we might raise our standard for conviction from "beyond a reasonable doubt" to "beyond a conceivable doubt" so fewer people would be wrongly convicted. However, this would also make it more difficult to convict the people who are actually guilty, so we would make more Type 2 Errors.

Exercise 4.26

How could we reduce the Type 1 Error rate in US courts? What influence would this have on the Type 2 Error rate?

To lower the Type 2 Error rate, we want to convict more guilty people. We could lower the standards for conviction from "beyond a reasonable doubt" to "beyond a little doubt". Lowering the bar for guilt will also result in more wrongful convictions, raising the Type 1 Error rate.

Exercise 4.27

How could we reduce the Type 2 Error rate in US courts? What influence would this have on the Type 1 Error rate?

A skeptic would have no reason to believe that sleep patterns at this school are different than the sleep patterns at another school.

Exercises 4.25-4.27 provide an important lesson:

If we reduce how often we make one type of error, we generally make more of the other type.

Hypothesis testing is built around rejecting or failing to reject the null hypothesis. That is, we do not reject H 0 unless we have strong evidence. But what precisely does strong evidence mean? As a general rule of thumb, for those cases where the null hypothesis is actually true, we do not want to incorrectly reject H 0 more than 5% of the time. This corresponds to a significance level of 0.05. We often write the significance level using \(\alpha\) (the Greek letter alpha): \(\alpha = 0.05.\) We discuss the appropriateness of different significance levels in Section 4.3.6.

If we use a 95% confidence interval to test a hypothesis where the null hypothesis is true, we will make an error whenever the point estimate is at least 1.96 standard errors away from the population parameter. This happens about 5% of the time (2.5% in each tail). Similarly, using a 99% con dence interval to evaluate a hypothesis is equivalent to a significance level of \(\alpha = 0.01\).

A confidence interval is, in one sense, simplistic in the world of hypothesis tests. Consider the following two scenarios:

  • The null value (the parameter value under the null hypothesis) is in the 95% confidence interval but just barely, so we would not reject H 0 . However, we might like to somehow say, quantitatively, that it was a close decision.
  • The null value is very far outside of the interval, so we reject H 0 . However, we want to communicate that, not only did we reject the null hypothesis, but it wasn't even close. Such a case is depicted in Figure 4.13.

In Section 4.3.4, we introduce a tool called the p-value that will be helpful in these cases. The p-value method also extends to hypothesis tests where con dence intervals cannot be easily constructed or applied.

alt

Formal Testing using p-Values

The p-value is a way of quantifying the strength of the evidence against the null hypothesis and in favor of the alternative. Formally the p-value is a conditional probability.

definition: p-value

The p-value is the probability of observing data at least as favorable to the alternative hypothesis as our current data set, if the null hypothesis is true. We typically use a summary statistic of the data, in this chapter the sample mean, to help compute the p-value and evaluate the hypotheses.

A poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that college students average about 7 hours of sleep per night. Researchers at a rural school are interested in showing that students at their school sleep longer than seven hours on average, and they would like to demonstrate this using a sample of students. What would be an appropriate skeptical position for this research?

This is entirely based on the interests of the researchers. Had they been only interested in the opposite case - showing that their students were actually averaging fewer than seven hours of sleep but not interested in showing more than 7 hours - then our setup would have set the alternative as \(\mu < 7\).

alt

We can set up the null hypothesis for this test as a skeptical perspective: the students at this school average 7 hours of sleep per night. The alternative hypothesis takes a new form reflecting the interests of the research: the students average more than 7 hours of sleep. We can write these hypotheses as

  • H 0 : \(\mu\) = 7.
  • H A : \(\mu\) > 7.

Using \(\mu\) > 7 as the alternative is an example of a one-sided hypothesis test. In this investigation, there is no apparent interest in learning whether the mean is less than 7 hours. (The standard error can be estimated from the sample standard deviation and the sample size: \(SE_{\bar {x}} = \dfrac {s_x}{\sqrt {n}} = \dfrac {1.75}{\sqrt {110}} = 0.17\)). Earlier we encountered a two-sided hypothesis where we looked for any clear difference, greater than or less than the null value.

Always use a two-sided test unless it was made clear prior to data collection that the test should be one-sided. Switching a two-sided test to a one-sided test after observing the data is dangerous because it can inflate the Type 1 Error rate.

TIP: One-sided and two-sided tests

If the researchers are only interested in showing an increase or a decrease, but not both, use a one-sided test. If the researchers would be interested in any difference from the null value - an increase or decrease - then the test should be two-sided.

TIP: Always write the null hypothesis as an equality

We will find it most useful if we always list the null hypothesis as an equality (e.g. \(\mu\) = 7) while the alternative always uses an inequality (e.g. \(\mu \ne 7, \mu > 7, or \mu < 7)\).

The researchers at the rural school conducted a simple random sample of n = 110 students on campus. They found that these students averaged 7.42 hours of sleep and the standard deviation of the amount of sleep for the students was 1.75 hours. A histogram of the sample is shown in Figure 4.14.

Before we can use a normal model for the sample mean or compute the standard error of the sample mean, we must verify conditions. (1) Because this is a simple random sample from less than 10% of the student body, the observations are independent. (2) The sample size in the sleep study is sufficiently large since it is greater than 30. (3) The data show moderate skew in Figure 4.14 and the presence of a couple of outliers. This skew and the outliers (which are not too extreme) are acceptable for a sample size of n = 110. With these conditions veri ed, the normal model can be safely applied to \(\bar {x}\) and the estimated standard error will be very accurate.

What is the standard deviation associated with \(\bar {x}\)? That is, estimate the standard error of \(\bar {x}\). 25

The hypothesis test will be evaluated using a significance level of \(\alpha = 0.05\). We want to consider the data under the scenario that the null hypothesis is true. In this case, the sample mean is from a distribution that is nearly normal and has mean 7 and standard deviation of about 0.17. Such a distribution is shown in Figure 4.15.

alt

The shaded tail in Figure 4.15 represents the chance of observing such a large mean, conditional on the null hypothesis being true. That is, the shaded tail represents the p-value. We shade all means larger than our sample mean, \(\bar {x} = 7.42\), because they are more favorable to the alternative hypothesis than the observed mean.

We compute the p-value by finding the tail area of this normal distribution, which we learned to do in Section 3.1. First compute the Z score of the sample mean, \(\bar {x} = 7.42\):

\[Z = \dfrac {\bar {x} - \text {null value}}{SE_{\bar {x}}} = \dfrac {7.42 - 7}{0.17} = 2.47\]

Using the normal probability table, the lower unshaded area is found to be 0.993. Thus the shaded area is 1 - 0.993 = 0.007. If the null hypothesis is true, the probability of observing such a large sample mean for a sample of 110 students is only 0.007. That is, if the null hypothesis is true, we would not often see such a large mean.

We evaluate the hypotheses by comparing the p-value to the significance level. Because the p-value is less than the significance level \((p-value = 0.007 < 0.05 = \alpha)\), we reject the null hypothesis. What we observed is so unusual with respect to the null hypothesis that it casts serious doubt on H 0 and provides strong evidence favoring H A .

p-value as a tool in hypothesis testing

The p-value quantifies how strongly the data favor H A over H 0 . A small p-value (usually < 0.05) corresponds to sufficient evidence to reject H 0 in favor of H A .

TIP: It is useful to First draw a picture to find the p-value

It is useful to draw a picture of the distribution of \(\bar {x}\) as though H 0 was true (i.e. \(\mu\) equals the null value), and shade the region (or regions) of sample means that are at least as favorable to the alternative hypothesis. These shaded regions represent the p-value.

The ideas below review the process of evaluating hypothesis tests with p-values:

  • The null hypothesis represents a skeptic's position or a position of no difference. We reject this position only if the evidence strongly favors H A .
  • A small p-value means that if the null hypothesis is true, there is a low probability of seeing a point estimate at least as extreme as the one we saw. We interpret this as strong evidence in favor of the alternative.
  • We reject the null hypothesis if the p-value is smaller than the significance level, \(\alpha\), which is usually 0.05. Otherwise, we fail to reject H 0 .
  • We should always state the conclusion of the hypothesis test in plain language so non-statisticians can also understand the results.

The p-value is constructed in such a way that we can directly compare it to the significance level ( \(\alpha\)) to determine whether or not to reject H 0 . This method ensures that the Type 1 Error rate does not exceed the significance level standard.

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If the null hypothesis is true, how often should the p-value be less than 0.05?

About 5% of the time. If the null hypothesis is true, then the data only has a 5% chance of being in the 5% of data most favorable to H A .

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Exercise 4.31

Suppose we had used a significance level of 0.01 in the sleep study. Would the evidence have been strong enough to reject the null hypothesis? (The p-value was 0.007.) What if the significance level was \(\alpha = 0.001\)? 27

27 We reject the null hypothesis whenever p-value < \(\alpha\). Thus, we would still reject the null hypothesis if \(\alpha = 0.01\) but not if the significance level had been \(\alpha = 0.001\).

Exercise 4.32

Ebay might be interested in showing that buyers on its site tend to pay less than they would for the corresponding new item on Amazon. We'll research this topic for one particular product: a video game called Mario Kart for the Nintendo Wii. During early October 2009, Amazon sold this game for $46.99. Set up an appropriate (one-sided!) hypothesis test to check the claim that Ebay buyers pay less during auctions at this same time. 28

28 The skeptic would say the average is the same on Ebay, and we are interested in showing the average price is lower.

Exercise 4.33

During early October, 2009, 52 Ebay auctions were recorded for Mario Kart.29 The total prices for the auctions are presented using a histogram in Figure 4.17, and we may like to apply the normal model to the sample mean. Check the three conditions required for applying the normal model: (1) independence, (2) at least 30 observations, and (3) the data are not strongly skewed. 30

30 (1) The independence condition is unclear. We will make the assumption that the observations are independent, which we should report with any nal results. (2) The sample size is sufficiently large: \(n = 52 \ge 30\). (3) The data distribution is not strongly skewed; it is approximately symmetric.

H 0 : The average auction price on Ebay is equal to (or more than) the price on Amazon. We write only the equality in the statistical notation: \(\mu_{ebay} = 46.99\).

H A : The average price on Ebay is less than the price on Amazon, \(\mu _{ebay} < 46.99\).

29 These data were collected by OpenIntro staff.

Example 4.34

The average sale price of the 52 Ebay auctions for Wii Mario Kart was $44.17 with a standard deviation of $4.15. Does this provide sufficient evidence to reject the null hypothesis in Exercise 4.32? Use a significance level of \(\alpha = 0.01\).

The hypotheses were set up and the conditions were checked in Exercises 4.32 and 4.33. The next step is to find the standard error of the sample mean and produce a sketch to help find the p-value.

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Because the alternative hypothesis says we are looking for a smaller mean, we shade the lower tail. We find this shaded area by using the Z score and normal probability table: \(Z = \dfrac {44.17 \times 46.99}{0.5755} = -4.90\), which has area less than 0.0002. The area is so small we cannot really see it on the picture. This lower tail area corresponds to the p-value.

Because the p-value is so small - specifically, smaller than = 0.01 - this provides sufficiently strong evidence to reject the null hypothesis in favor of the alternative. The data provide statistically signi cant evidence that the average price on Ebay is lower than Amazon's asking price.

Two-sided hypothesis testing with p-values

We now consider how to compute a p-value for a two-sided test. In one-sided tests, we shade the single tail in the direction of the alternative hypothesis. For example, when the alternative had the form \(\mu\) > 7, then the p-value was represented by the upper tail (Figure 4.16). When the alternative was \(\mu\) < 46.99, the p-value was the lower tail (Exercise 4.32). In a two-sided test, we shade two tails since evidence in either direction is favorable to H A .

Exercise 4.35 Earlier we talked about a research group investigating whether the students at their school slept longer than 7 hours each night. Let's consider a second group of researchers who want to evaluate whether the students at their college differ from the norm of 7 hours. Write the null and alternative hypotheses for this investigation. 31

Example 4.36 The second college randomly samples 72 students and nds a mean of \(\bar {x} = 6.83\) hours and a standard deviation of s = 1.8 hours. Does this provide strong evidence against H 0 in Exercise 4.35? Use a significance level of \(\alpha = 0.05\).

First, we must verify assumptions. (1) A simple random sample of less than 10% of the student body means the observations are independent. (2) The sample size is 72, which is greater than 30. (3) Based on the earlier distribution and what we already know about college student sleep habits, the distribution is probably not strongly skewed.

Next we can compute the standard error \((SE_{\bar {x}} = \dfrac {s}{\sqrt {n}} = 0.21)\) of the estimate and create a picture to represent the p-value, shown in Figure 4.18. Both tails are shaded.

31 Because the researchers are interested in any difference, they should use a two-sided setup: H 0 : \(\mu\) = 7, H A : \(\mu \ne 7.\)

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An estimate of 7.17 or more provides at least as strong of evidence against the null hypothesis and in favor of the alternative as the observed estimate, \(\bar {x} = 6.83\).

We can calculate the tail areas by rst nding the lower tail corresponding to \(\bar {x}\):

\[Z = \dfrac {6.83 - 7.00}{0.21} = -0.81 \xrightarrow {table} \text {left tail} = 0.2090\]

Because the normal model is symmetric, the right tail will have the same area as the left tail. The p-value is found as the sum of the two shaded tails:

\[ \text {p-value} = \text {left tail} + \text {right tail} = 2 \times \text {(left tail)} = 0.4180\]

This p-value is relatively large (larger than \(\mu\)= 0.05), so we should not reject H 0 . That is, if H 0 is true, it would not be very unusual to see a sample mean this far from 7 hours simply due to sampling variation. Thus, we do not have sufficient evidence to conclude that the mean is different than 7 hours.

Example 4.37 It is never okay to change two-sided tests to one-sided tests after observing the data. In this example we explore the consequences of ignoring this advice. Using \(\alpha = 0.05\), we show that freely switching from two-sided tests to onesided tests will cause us to make twice as many Type 1 Errors as intended.

Suppose the sample mean was larger than the null value, \(\mu_0\) (e.g. \(\mu_0\) would represent 7 if H 0 : \(\mu\) = 7). Then if we can ip to a one-sided test, we would use H A : \(\mu > \mu_0\). Now if we obtain any observation with a Z score greater than 1.65, we would reject H 0 . If the null hypothesis is true, we incorrectly reject the null hypothesis about 5% of the time when the sample mean is above the null value, as shown in Figure 4.19.

Suppose the sample mean was smaller than the null value. Then if we change to a one-sided test, we would use H A : \(\mu < \mu_0\). If \(\bar {x}\) had a Z score smaller than -1.65, we would reject H 0 . If the null hypothesis is true, then we would observe such a case about 5% of the time.

By examining these two scenarios, we can determine that we will make a Type 1 Error 5% + 5% = 10% of the time if we are allowed to swap to the "best" one-sided test for the data. This is twice the error rate we prescribed with our significance level: \(\alpha = 0.05\) (!).

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Caution: One-sided hypotheses are allowed only before seeing data

After observing data, it is tempting to turn a two-sided test into a one-sided test. Avoid this temptation. Hypotheses must be set up before observing the data. If they are not, the test must be two-sided.

Choosing a Significance Level

Choosing a significance level for a test is important in many contexts, and the traditional level is 0.05. However, it is often helpful to adjust the significance level based on the application. We may select a level that is smaller or larger than 0.05 depending on the consequences of any conclusions reached from the test.

  • If making a Type 1 Error is dangerous or especially costly, we should choose a small significance level (e.g. 0.01). Under this scenario we want to be very cautious about rejecting the null hypothesis, so we demand very strong evidence favoring H A before we would reject H 0 .
  • If a Type 2 Error is relatively more dangerous or much more costly than a Type 1 Error, then we should choose a higher significance level (e.g. 0.10). Here we want to be cautious about failing to reject H 0 when the null is actually false. We will discuss this particular case in greater detail in Section 4.6.

Significance levels should reflect consequences of errors

The significance level selected for a test should reflect the consequences associated with Type 1 and Type 2 Errors.

Example 4.38

A car manufacturer is considering a higher quality but more expensive supplier for window parts in its vehicles. They sample a number of parts from their current supplier and also parts from the new supplier. They decide that if the high quality parts will last more than 12% longer, it makes nancial sense to switch to this more expensive supplier. Is there good reason to modify the significance level in such a hypothesis test?

The null hypothesis is that the more expensive parts last no more than 12% longer while the alternative is that they do last more than 12% longer. This decision is just one of the many regular factors that have a marginal impact on the car and company. A significancelevel of 0.05 seems reasonable since neither a Type 1 or Type 2 error should be dangerous or (relatively) much more expensive.

Example 4.39

The same car manufacturer is considering a slightly more expensive supplier for parts related to safety, not windows. If the durability of these safety components is shown to be better than the current supplier, they will switch manufacturers. Is there good reason to modify the significance level in such an evaluation?

The null hypothesis would be that the suppliers' parts are equally reliable. Because safety is involved, the car company should be eager to switch to the slightly more expensive manufacturer (reject H 0 ) even if the evidence of increased safety is only moderately strong. A slightly larger significance level, such as \(\mu = 0.10\), might be appropriate.

Exercise 4.40

A part inside of a machine is very expensive to replace. However, the machine usually functions properly even if this part is broken, so the part is replaced only if we are extremely certain it is broken based on a series of measurements. Identify appropriate hypotheses for this test (in plain language) and suggest an appropriate significance level. 32

how to test a hypothesis using data

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6a.2 - steps for hypothesis tests, the logic of hypothesis testing section  .

A hypothesis, in statistics, is a statement about a population parameter, where this statement typically is represented by some specific numerical value. In testing a hypothesis, we use a method where we gather data in an effort to gather evidence about the hypothesis.

How do we decide whether to reject the null hypothesis?

  • If the sample data are consistent with the null hypothesis, then we do not reject it.
  • If the sample data are inconsistent with the null hypothesis, but consistent with the alternative, then we reject the null hypothesis and conclude that the alternative hypothesis is true.

Six Steps for Hypothesis Tests Section  

In hypothesis testing, there are certain steps one must follow. Below these are summarized into six such steps to conducting a test of a hypothesis.

  • Set up the hypotheses and check conditions : Each hypothesis test includes two hypotheses about the population. One is the null hypothesis, notated as \(H_0 \), which is a statement of a particular parameter value. This hypothesis is assumed to be true until there is evidence to suggest otherwise. The second hypothesis is called the alternative, or research hypothesis, notated as \(H_a \). The alternative hypothesis is a statement of a range of alternative values in which the parameter may fall. One must also check that any conditions (assumptions) needed to run the test have been satisfied e.g. normality of data, independence, and number of success and failure outcomes.
  • Decide on the significance level, \(\alpha \): This value is used as a probability cutoff for making decisions about the null hypothesis. This alpha value represents the probability we are willing to place on our test for making an incorrect decision in regards to rejecting the null hypothesis. The most common \(\alpha \) value is 0.05 or 5%. Other popular choices are 0.01 (1%) and 0.1 (10%).
  • Calculate the test statistic: Gather sample data and calculate a test statistic where the sample statistic is compared to the parameter value. The test statistic is calculated under the assumption the null hypothesis is true and incorporates a measure of standard error and assumptions (conditions) related to the sampling distribution.
  • Calculate probability value (p-value), or find the rejection region: A p-value is found by using the test statistic to calculate the probability of the sample data producing such a test statistic or one more extreme. The rejection region is found by using alpha to find a critical value; the rejection region is the area that is more extreme than the critical value. We discuss the p-value and rejection region in more detail in the next section.
  • Make a decision about the null hypothesis: In this step, we decide to either reject the null hypothesis or decide to fail to reject the null hypothesis. Notice we do not make a decision where we will accept the null hypothesis.
  • State an overall conclusion : Once we have found the p-value or rejection region, and made a statistical decision about the null hypothesis (i.e. we will reject the null or fail to reject the null), we then want to summarize our results into an overall conclusion for our test.

We will follow these six steps for the remainder of this Lesson. In the future Lessons, the steps will be followed but may not be explained explicitly.

Step 1 is a very important step to set up correctly. If your hypotheses are incorrect, your conclusion will be incorrect. In this next section, we practice with Step 1 for the one sample situations.

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Hypothesis Testing

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A hypothesis test is a statistical inference method used to test the significance of a proposed (hypothesized) relation between population statistics (parameters) and their corresponding sample estimators . In other words, hypothesis tests are used to determine if there is enough evidence in a sample to prove a hypothesis true for the entire population.

The test considers two hypotheses: the null hypothesis , which is a statement meant to be tested, usually something like "there is no effect" with the intention of proving this false, and the alternate hypothesis , which is the statement meant to stand after the test is performed. The two hypotheses must be mutually exclusive ; moreover, in most applications, the two are complementary (one being the negation of the other). The test works by comparing the \(p\)-value to the level of significance (a chosen target). If the \(p\)-value is less than or equal to the level of significance, then the null hypothesis is rejected.

When analyzing data, only samples of a certain size might be manageable as efficient computations. In some situations the error terms follow a continuous or infinite distribution, hence the use of samples to suggest accuracy of the chosen test statistics. The method of hypothesis testing gives an advantage over guessing what distribution or which parameters the data follows.

Definitions and Methodology

Hypothesis test and confidence intervals.

In statistical inference, properties (parameters) of a population are analyzed by sampling data sets. Given assumptions on the distribution, i.e. a statistical model of the data, certain hypotheses can be deduced from the known behavior of the model. These hypotheses must be tested against sampled data from the population.

The null hypothesis \((\)denoted \(H_0)\) is a statement that is assumed to be true. If the null hypothesis is rejected, then there is enough evidence (statistical significance) to accept the alternate hypothesis \((\)denoted \(H_1).\) Before doing any test for significance, both hypotheses must be clearly stated and non-conflictive, i.e. mutually exclusive, statements. Rejecting the null hypothesis, given that it is true, is called a type I error and it is denoted \(\alpha\), which is also its probability of occurrence. Failing to reject the null hypothesis, given that it is false, is called a type II error and it is denoted \(\beta\), which is also its probability of occurrence. Also, \(\alpha\) is known as the significance level , and \(1-\beta\) is known as the power of the test. \(H_0\) \(\textbf{is true}\)\(\hspace{15mm}\) \(H_0\) \(\textbf{is false}\) \(\textbf{Reject}\) \(H_0\)\(\hspace{10mm}\) Type I error Correct Decision \(\textbf{Reject}\) \(H_1\) Correct Decision Type II error The test statistic is the standardized value following the sampled data under the assumption that the null hypothesis is true, and a chosen particular test. These tests depend on the statistic to be studied and the assumed distribution it follows, e.g. the population mean following a normal distribution. The \(p\)-value is the probability of observing an extreme test statistic in the direction of the alternate hypothesis, given that the null hypothesis is true. The critical value is the value of the assumed distribution of the test statistic such that the probability of making a type I error is small.
Methodologies: Given an estimator \(\hat \theta\) of a population statistic \(\theta\), following a probability distribution \(P(T)\), computed from a sample \(\mathcal{S},\) and given a significance level \(\alpha\) and test statistic \(t^*,\) define \(H_0\) and \(H_1;\) compute the test statistic \(t^*.\) \(p\)-value Approach (most prevalent): Find the \(p\)-value using \(t^*\) (right-tailed). If the \(p\)-value is at most \(\alpha,\) reject \(H_0\). Otherwise, reject \(H_1\). Critical Value Approach: Find the critical value solving the equation \(P(T\geq t_\alpha)=\alpha\) (right-tailed). If \(t^*>t_\alpha\), reject \(H_0\). Otherwise, reject \(H_1\). Note: Failing to reject \(H_0\) only means inability to accept \(H_1\), and it does not mean to accept \(H_0\).
Assume a normally distributed population has recorded cholesterol levels with various statistics computed. From a sample of 100 subjects in the population, the sample mean was 214.12 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter), with a sample standard deviation of 45.71 mg/dL. Perform a hypothesis test, with significance level 0.05, to test if there is enough evidence to conclude that the population mean is larger than 200 mg/dL. Hypothesis Test We will perform a hypothesis test using the \(p\)-value approach with significance level \(\alpha=0.05:\) Define \(H_0\): \(\mu=200\). Define \(H_1\): \(\mu>200\). Since our values are normally distributed, the test statistic is \(z^*=\frac{\bar X - \mu_0}{\frac{s}{\sqrt{n}}}=\frac{214.12 - 200}{\frac{45.71}{\sqrt{100}}}\approx 3.09\). Using a standard normal distribution, we find that our \(p\)-value is approximately \(0.001\). Since the \(p\)-value is at most \(\alpha=0.05,\) we reject \(H_0\). Therefore, we can conclude that the test shows sufficient evidence to support the claim that \(\mu\) is larger than \(200\) mg/dL.

If the sample size was smaller, the normal and \(t\)-distributions behave differently. Also, the question itself must be managed by a double-tail test instead.

Assume a population's cholesterol levels are recorded and various statistics are computed. From a sample of 25 subjects, the sample mean was 214.12 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter), with a sample standard deviation of 45.71 mg/dL. Perform a hypothesis test, with significance level 0.05, to test if there is enough evidence to conclude that the population mean is not equal to 200 mg/dL. Hypothesis Test We will perform a hypothesis test using the \(p\)-value approach with significance level \(\alpha=0.05\) and the \(t\)-distribution with 24 degrees of freedom: Define \(H_0\): \(\mu=200\). Define \(H_1\): \(\mu\neq 200\). Using the \(t\)-distribution, the test statistic is \(t^*=\frac{\bar X - \mu_0}{\frac{s}{\sqrt{n}}}=\frac{214.12 - 200}{\frac{45.71}{\sqrt{25}}}\approx 1.54\). Using a \(t\)-distribution with 24 degrees of freedom, we find that our \(p\)-value is approximately \(2(0.068)=0.136\). We have multiplied by two since this is a two-tailed argument, i.e. the mean can be smaller than or larger than. Since the \(p\)-value is larger than \(\alpha=0.05,\) we fail to reject \(H_0\). Therefore, the test does not show sufficient evidence to support the claim that \(\mu\) is not equal to \(200\) mg/dL.

The complement of the rejection on a two-tailed hypothesis test (with significance level \(\alpha\)) for a population parameter \(\theta\) is equivalent to finding a confidence interval \((\)with confidence level \(1-\alpha)\) for the population parameter \(\theta\). If the assumption on the parameter \(\theta\) falls inside the confidence interval, then the test has failed to reject the null hypothesis \((\)with \(p\)-value greater than \(\alpha).\) Otherwise, if \(\theta\) does not fall in the confidence interval, then the null hypothesis is rejected in favor of the alternate \((\)with \(p\)-value at most \(\alpha).\)

  • Statistics (Estimation)
  • Normal Distribution
  • Correlation
  • Confidence Intervals

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Hypothesis Testing

About hypothesis testing.

critical values

Contents (Click to skip to the section):

What is a Hypothesis?

What is hypothesis testing.

  • Hypothesis Testing Examples (One Sample Z Test).
  • Hypothesis Test on a Mean (TI 83).

Bayesian Hypothesis Testing.

  • More Hypothesis Testing Articles
  • Hypothesis Tests in One Picture
  • Critical Values

What is the Null Hypothesis?

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What is a Hypothesis

A hypothesis is an educated guess about something in the world around you. It should be testable, either by experiment or observation. For example:

  • A new medicine you think might work.
  • A way of teaching you think might be better.
  • A possible location of new species.
  • A fairer way to administer standardized tests.

It can really be anything at all as long as you can put it to the test.

What is a Hypothesis Statement?

If you are going to propose a hypothesis, it’s customary to write a statement. Your statement will look like this: “If I…(do this to an independent variable )….then (this will happen to the dependent variable ).” For example:

  • If I (decrease the amount of water given to herbs) then (the herbs will increase in size).
  • If I (give patients counseling in addition to medication) then (their overall depression scale will decrease).
  • If I (give exams at noon instead of 7) then (student test scores will improve).
  • If I (look in this certain location) then (I am more likely to find new species).

A good hypothesis statement should:

  • Include an “if” and “then” statement (according to the University of California).
  • Include both the independent and dependent variables.
  • Be testable by experiment, survey or other scientifically sound technique.
  • Be based on information in prior research (either yours or someone else’s).
  • Have design criteria (for engineering or programming projects).

hypothesis testing

Hypothesis testing can be one of the most confusing aspects for students, mostly because before you can even perform a test, you have to know what your null hypothesis is. Often, those tricky word problems that you are faced with can be difficult to decipher. But it’s easier than you think; all you need to do is:

  • Figure out your null hypothesis,
  • State your null hypothesis,
  • Choose what kind of test you need to perform,
  • Either support or reject the null hypothesis .

If you trace back the history of science, the null hypothesis is always the accepted fact. Simple examples of null hypotheses that are generally accepted as being true are:

  • DNA is shaped like a double helix.
  • There are 8 planets in the solar system (excluding Pluto).
  • Taking Vioxx can increase your risk of heart problems (a drug now taken off the market).

How do I State the Null Hypothesis?

You won’t be required to actually perform a real experiment or survey in elementary statistics (or even disprove a fact like “Pluto is a planet”!), so you’ll be given word problems from real-life situations. You’ll need to figure out what your hypothesis is from the problem. This can be a little trickier than just figuring out what the accepted fact is. With word problems, you are looking to find a fact that is nullifiable (i.e. something you can reject).

Hypothesis Testing Examples #1: Basic Example

A researcher thinks that if knee surgery patients go to physical therapy twice a week (instead of 3 times), their recovery period will be longer. Average recovery times for knee surgery patients is 8.2 weeks.

The hypothesis statement in this question is that the researcher believes the average recovery time is more than 8.2 weeks. It can be written in mathematical terms as: H 1 : μ > 8.2

Next, you’ll need to state the null hypothesis .  That’s what will happen if the researcher is wrong . In the above example, if the researcher is wrong then the recovery time is less than or equal to 8.2 weeks. In math, that’s: H 0 μ ≤ 8.2

Rejecting the null hypothesis

Ten or so years ago, we believed that there were 9 planets in the solar system. Pluto was demoted as a planet in 2006. The null hypothesis of “Pluto is a planet” was replaced by “Pluto is not a planet.” Of course, rejecting the null hypothesis isn’t always that easy— the hard part is usually figuring out what your null hypothesis is in the first place.

Hypothesis Testing Examples (One Sample Z Test)

The one sample z test isn’t used very often (because we rarely know the actual population standard deviation ). However, it’s a good idea to understand how it works as it’s one of the simplest tests you can perform in hypothesis testing. In English class you got to learn the basics (like grammar and spelling) before you could write a story; think of one sample z tests as the foundation for understanding more complex hypothesis testing. This page contains two hypothesis testing examples for one sample z-tests .

One Sample Hypothesis Testing Example: One Tailed Z Test

A principal at a certain school claims that the students in his school are above average intelligence. A random sample of thirty students IQ scores have a mean score of 112.5. Is there sufficient evidence to support the principal’s claim? The mean population IQ is 100 with a standard deviation of 15.

Step 1: State the Null hypothesis . The accepted fact is that the population mean is 100, so: H 0 : μ = 100.

Step 2: State the Alternate Hypothesis . The claim is that the students have above average IQ scores, so: H 1 : μ > 100. The fact that we are looking for scores “greater than” a certain point means that this is a one-tailed test.

hypothesis testing examples

Step 4: State the alpha level . If you aren’t given an alpha level , use 5% (0.05).

Step 5: Find the rejection region area (given by your alpha level above) from the z-table . An area of .05 is equal to a z-score of 1.645.

z score formula

Step 6: If Step 6 is greater than Step 5, reject the null hypothesis. If it’s less than Step 5, you cannot reject the null hypothesis. In this case, it is more (4.56 > 1.645), so you can reject the null.

One Sample Hypothesis Testing Examples: #3

Blood glucose levels for obese patients have a mean of 100 with a standard deviation of 15. A researcher thinks that a diet high in raw cornstarch will have a positive or negative effect on blood glucose levels. A sample of 30 patients who have tried the raw cornstarch diet have a mean glucose level of 140. Test the hypothesis that the raw cornstarch had an effect.

*This process is made much easier if you use a TI-83 or Excel to calculate the z-score (the “critical value”). See:

  • Critical z value TI 83
  • Z Score in Excel

Hypothesis Testing Examples: Mean (Using TI 83)

You can use the TI 83 calculator for hypothesis testing, but the calculator won’t figure out the null and alternate hypotheses; that’s up to you to read the question and input it into the calculator.

Example problem : A sample of 200 people has a mean age of 21 with a population standard deviation (σ) of 5. Test the hypothesis that the population mean is 18.9 at α = 0.05.

Step 1: State the null hypothesis. In this case, the null hypothesis is that the population mean is 18.9, so we write: H 0 : μ = 18.9

Step 2: State the alternative hypothesis. We want to know if our sample, which has a mean of 21 instead of 18.9, really is different from the population, therefore our alternate hypothesis: H 1 : μ ≠ 18.9

Step 3: Press Stat then press the right arrow twice to select TESTS.

Step 4: Press 1 to select 1:Z-Test… . Press ENTER.

Step 5: Use the right arrow to select Stats .

Step 6: Enter the data from the problem: μ 0 : 18.9 σ: 5 x : 21 n: 200 μ: ≠μ 0

Step 7: Arrow down to Calculate and press ENTER. The calculator shows the p-value: p = 2.87 × 10 -9

This is smaller than our alpha value of .05. That means we should reject the null hypothesis .

Bayesian Hypothesis Testing: What is it?

bayesian hypothesis testing

Bayesian hypothesis testing helps to answer the question: Can the results from a test or survey be repeated? Why do we care if a test can be repeated? Let’s say twenty people in the same village came down with leukemia. A group of researchers find that cell-phone towers are to blame. However, a second study found that cell-phone towers had nothing to do with the cancer cluster in the village. In fact, they found that the cancers were completely random. If that sounds impossible, it actually can happen! Clusters of cancer can happen simply by chance . There could be many reasons why the first study was faulty. One of the main reasons could be that they just didn’t take into account that sometimes things happen randomly and we just don’t know why.

It’s good science to let people know if your study results are solid, or if they could have happened by chance. The usual way of doing this is to test your results with a p-value . A p value is a number that you get by running a hypothesis test on your data. A P value of 0.05 (5%) or less is usually enough to claim that your results are repeatable. However, there’s another way to test the validity of your results: Bayesian Hypothesis testing. This type of testing gives you another way to test the strength of your results.

Traditional testing (the type you probably came across in elementary stats or AP stats) is called Non-Bayesian. It is how often an outcome happens over repeated runs of the experiment. It’s an objective view of whether an experiment is repeatable. Bayesian hypothesis testing is a subjective view of the same thing. It takes into account how much faith you have in your results. In other words, would you wager money on the outcome of your experiment?

Differences Between Traditional and Bayesian Hypothesis Testing.

Traditional testing (Non Bayesian) requires you to repeat sampling over and over, while Bayesian testing does not. The main different between the two is in the first step of testing: stating a probability model. In Bayesian testing you add prior knowledge to this step. It also requires use of a posterior probability , which is the conditional probability given to a random event after all the evidence is considered.

Arguments for Bayesian Testing.

Many researchers think that it is a better alternative to traditional testing, because it:

  • Includes prior knowledge about the data.
  • Takes into account personal beliefs about the results.

Arguments against.

  • Including prior data or knowledge isn’t justifiable.
  • It is difficult to calculate compared to non-Bayesian testing.

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Hypothesis Testing Articles

  • What is Ad Hoc Testing?
  • Composite Hypothesis Test
  • What is a Rejection Region?
  • What is a Two Tailed Test?
  • How to Decide if a Hypothesis Test is a One Tailed Test or a Two Tailed Test.
  • How to Decide if a Hypothesis is a Left Tailed Test or a Right-Tailed Test.
  • How to State the Null Hypothesis in Statistics.
  • How to Find a Critical Value .
  • How to Support or Reject a Null Hypothesis.

Specific Tests:

  • Brunner Munzel Test (Generalized Wilcoxon Test).
  • Chi Square Test for Normality.
  • Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel Test.
  • Granger Causality Test .
  • Hotelling’s T-Squared.
  • KPSS Test .
  • What is a Likelihood-Ratio Test?
  • Log rank test .
  • MANCOVA Assumptions.
  • MANCOVA Sample Size.
  • Marascuilo Procedure
  • Rao’s Spacing Test
  • Rayleigh test of uniformity.
  • Sequential Probability Ratio Test.
  • How to Run a Sign Test.
  • T Test: one sample.
  • T-Test: Two sample .
  • Welch’s ANOVA .
  • Welch’s Test for Unequal Variances .
  • Z-Test: one sample .
  • Z Test: Two Proportion.
  • Wald Test .

Related Articles:

  • What is an Acceptance Region?
  • How to Calculate Chebyshev’s Theorem.
  • Contrast Analysis
  • Decision Rule.
  • Degrees of Freedom .
  • Directional Test
  • False Discovery Rate
  • How to calculate the Least Significant Difference.
  • Levels in Statistics.
  • How to Calculate Margin of Error.
  • Mean Difference (Difference in Means)
  • The Multiple Testing Problem .
  • What is the Neyman-Pearson Lemma?
  • What is an Omnibus Test?
  • One Sample Median Test .
  • How to Find a Sample Size (General Instructions).
  • Sig 2(Tailed) meaning in results
  • What is a Standardized Test Statistic?
  • How to Find Standard Error
  • Standardized values: Example.
  • How to Calculate a T-Score.
  • T-Score Vs. a Z.Score.
  • Testing a Single Mean.
  • Unequal Sample Sizes.
  • Uniformly Most Powerful Tests.
  • How to Calculate a Z-Score.
  • How it works

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Hypothesis Testing – A Complete Guide with Examples

Published by Alvin Nicolas at August 14th, 2021 , Revised On October 26, 2023

In statistics, hypothesis testing is a critical tool. It allows us to make informed decisions about populations based on sample data. Whether you are a researcher trying to prove a scientific point, a marketer analysing A/B test results, or a manufacturer ensuring quality control, hypothesis testing plays a pivotal role. This guide aims to introduce you to the concept and walk you through real-world examples.

What is a Hypothesis and a Hypothesis Testing?

A hypothesis is considered a belief or assumption that has to be accepted, rejected, proved or disproved. In contrast, a research hypothesis is a research question for a researcher that has to be proven correct or incorrect through investigation.

What is Hypothesis Testing?

Hypothesis testing  is a scientific method used for making a decision and drawing conclusions by using a statistical approach. It is used to suggest new ideas by testing theories to know whether or not the sample data supports research. A research hypothesis is a predictive statement that has to be tested using scientific methods that join an independent variable to a dependent variable.  

Example: The academic performance of student A is better than student B

Characteristics of the Hypothesis to be Tested

A hypothesis should be:

  • Clear and precise
  • Capable of being tested
  • Able to relate to a variable
  • Stated in simple terms
  • Consistent with known facts
  • Limited in scope and specific
  • Tested in a limited timeframe
  • Explain the facts in detail

What is a Null Hypothesis and Alternative Hypothesis?

A  null hypothesis  is a hypothesis when there is no significant relationship between the dependent and the participants’ independent  variables . 

In simple words, it’s a hypothesis that has been put forth but hasn’t been proved as yet. A researcher aims to disprove the theory. The abbreviation “Ho” is used to denote a null hypothesis.

If you want to compare two methods and assume that both methods are equally good, this assumption is considered the null hypothesis.

Example: In an automobile trial, you feel that the new vehicle’s mileage is similar to the previous model of the car, on average. You can write it as: Ho: there is no difference between the mileage of both vehicles. If your findings don’t support your hypothesis and you get opposite results, this outcome will be considered an alternative hypothesis.

If you assume that one method is better than another method, then it’s considered an alternative hypothesis. The alternative hypothesis is the theory that a researcher seeks to prove and is typically denoted by H1 or HA.

If you support a null hypothesis, it means you’re not supporting the alternative hypothesis. Similarly, if you reject a null hypothesis, it means you are recommending the alternative hypothesis.

Example: In an automobile trial, you feel that the new vehicle’s mileage is better than the previous model of the vehicle. You can write it as; Ha: the two vehicles have different mileage. On average/ the fuel consumption of the new vehicle model is better than the previous model.

If a null hypothesis is rejected during the hypothesis test, even if it’s true, then it is considered as a type-I error. On the other hand, if you don’t dismiss a hypothesis, even if it’s false because you could not identify its falseness, it’s considered a type-II error.

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How to Conduct Hypothesis Testing?

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to conduct hypothesis testing.

Step 1: State the Null and Alternative Hypothesis

Once you develop a research hypothesis, it’s important to state it is as a Null hypothesis (Ho) and an Alternative hypothesis (Ha) to test it statistically.

A null hypothesis is a preferred choice as it provides the opportunity to test the theory. In contrast, you can accept the alternative hypothesis when the null hypothesis has been rejected.

Example: You want to identify a relationship between obesity of men and women and the modern living style. You develop a hypothesis that women, on average, gain weight quickly compared to men. Then you write it as: Ho: Women, on average, don’t gain weight quickly compared to men. Ha: Women, on average, gain weight quickly compared to men.

Step 2: Data Collection

Hypothesis testing follows the statistical method, and statistics are all about data. It’s challenging to gather complete information about a specific population you want to study. You need to  gather the data  obtained through a large number of samples from a specific population. 

Example: Suppose you want to test the difference in the rate of obesity between men and women. You should include an equal number of men and women in your sample. Then investigate various aspects such as their lifestyle, eating patterns and profession, and any other variables that may influence average weight. You should also determine your study’s scope, whether it applies to a specific group of population or worldwide population. You can use available information from various places, countries, and regions.

Step 3: Select Appropriate Statistical Test

There are many  types of statistical tests , but we discuss the most two common types below, such as One-sided and two-sided tests.

Note: Your choice of the type of test depends on the purpose of your study 

One-sided Test

In the one-sided test, the values of rejecting a null hypothesis are located in one tail of the probability distribution. The set of values is less or higher than the critical value of the test. It is also called a one-tailed test of significance.

Example: If you want to test that all mangoes in a basket are ripe. You can write it as: Ho: All mangoes in the basket, on average, are ripe. If you find all ripe mangoes in the basket, the null hypothesis you developed will be true.

Two-sided Test

In the two-sided test, the values of rejecting a null hypothesis are located on both tails of the probability distribution. The set of values is less or higher than the first critical value of the test and higher than the second critical value test. It is also called a two-tailed test of significance. 

Example: Nothing can be explicitly said whether all mangoes are ripe in the basket. If you reject the null hypothesis (Ho: All mangoes in the basket, on average, are ripe), then it means all mangoes in the basket are not likely to be ripe. A few mangoes could be raw as well.

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Step 4: Select the Level of Significance

When you reject a null hypothesis, even if it’s true during a statistical hypothesis, it is considered the  significance level . It is the probability of a type one error. The significance should be as minimum as possible to avoid the type-I error, which is considered severe and should be avoided. 

If the significance level is minimum, then it prevents the researchers from false claims. 

The significance level is denoted by  P,  and it has given the value of 0.05 (P=0.05)

If the P-Value is less than 0.05, then the difference will be significant. If the P-value is higher than 0.05, then the difference is non-significant.

Example: Suppose you apply a one-sided test to test whether women gain weight quickly compared to men. You get to know about the average weight between men and women and the factors promoting weight gain.

Step 5: Find out Whether the Null Hypothesis is Rejected or Supported

After conducting a statistical test, you should identify whether your null hypothesis is rejected or accepted based on the test results. It would help if you observed the P-value for this.

Example: If you find the P-value of your test is less than 0.5/5%, then you need to reject your null hypothesis (Ho: Women, on average, don’t gain weight quickly compared to men). On the other hand, if a null hypothesis is rejected, then it means the alternative hypothesis might be true (Ha: Women, on average, gain weight quickly compared to men. If you find your test’s P-value is above 0.5/5%, then it means your null hypothesis is true.

Step 6: Present the Outcomes of your Study

The final step is to present the  outcomes of your study . You need to ensure whether you have met the objectives of your research or not. 

In the discussion section and  conclusion , you can present your findings by using supporting evidence and conclude whether your null hypothesis was rejected or supported.

In the result section, you can summarise your study’s outcomes, including the average difference and P-value of the two groups.

If we talk about the findings, our study your results will be as follows:

Example: In the study of identifying whether women gain weight quickly compared to men, we found the P-value is less than 0.5. Hence, we can reject the null hypothesis (Ho: Women, on average, don’t gain weight quickly than men) and conclude that women may likely gain weight quickly than men.

Did you know in your academic paper you should not mention whether you have accepted or rejected the null hypothesis? 

Always remember that you either conclude to reject Ho in favor of Haor   do not reject Ho . It would help if you never rejected  Ha  or even  accept Ha .

Suppose your null hypothesis is rejected in the hypothesis testing. If you conclude  reject Ho in favor of Haor   do not reject Ho,  then it doesn’t mean that the null hypothesis is true. It only means that there is a lack of evidence against Ho in favour of Ha. If your null hypothesis is not true, then the alternative hypothesis is likely to be true.

Example: We found that the P-value is less than 0.5. Hence, we can conclude reject Ho in favour of Ha (Ho: Women, on average, don’t gain weight quickly than men) reject Ho in favour of Ha. However, rejected in favour of Ha means (Ha: women may likely to gain weight quickly than men)

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 3 types of hypothesis test.

The 3 types of hypothesis tests are:

  • One-Sample Test : Compare sample data to a known population value.
  • Two-Sample Test : Compare means between two sample groups.
  • ANOVA : Analyze variance among multiple groups to determine significant differences.

What is a hypothesis?

A hypothesis is a proposed explanation or prediction about a phenomenon, often based on observations. It serves as a starting point for research or experimentation, providing a testable statement that can either be supported or refuted through data and analysis. In essence, it’s an educated guess that drives scientific inquiry.

What are null hypothesis?

A null hypothesis (often denoted as H0) suggests that there is no effect or difference in a study or experiment. It represents a default position or status quo. Statistical tests evaluate data to determine if there’s enough evidence to reject this null hypothesis.

What is the probability value?

The probability value, or p-value, is a measure used in statistics to determine the significance of an observed effect. It indicates the probability of obtaining the observed results, or more extreme, if the null hypothesis were true. A small p-value (typically <0.05) suggests evidence against the null hypothesis, warranting its rejection.

What is p value?

The p-value is a fundamental concept in statistical hypothesis testing. It represents the probability of observing a test statistic as extreme, or more so, than the one calculated from sample data, assuming the null hypothesis is true. A low p-value suggests evidence against the null, possibly justifying its rejection.

What is a t test?

A t-test is a statistical test used to compare the means of two groups. It determines if observed differences between the groups are statistically significant or if they likely occurred by chance. Commonly applied in research, there are different t-tests, including independent, paired, and one-sample, tailored to various data scenarios.

When to reject null hypothesis?

Reject the null hypothesis when the test statistic falls into a predefined rejection region or when the p-value is less than the chosen significance level (commonly 0.05). This suggests that the observed data is unlikely under the null hypothesis, indicating evidence for the alternative hypothesis. Always consider the study’s context.

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  • How to Write a Strong Hypothesis | Steps & Examples

How to Write a Strong Hypothesis | Steps & Examples

Published on May 6, 2022 by Shona McCombes . Revised on November 20, 2023.

A hypothesis is a statement that can be tested by scientific research. If you want to test a relationship between two or more variables, you need to write hypotheses before you start your experiment or data collection .

Example: Hypothesis

Daily apple consumption leads to fewer doctor’s visits.

Table of contents

What is a hypothesis, developing a hypothesis (with example), hypothesis examples, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about writing hypotheses.

A hypothesis states your predictions about what your research will find. It is a tentative answer to your research question that has not yet been tested. For some research projects, you might have to write several hypotheses that address different aspects of your research question.

A hypothesis is not just a guess – it should be based on existing theories and knowledge. It also has to be testable, which means you can support or refute it through scientific research methods (such as experiments, observations and statistical analysis of data).

Variables in hypotheses

Hypotheses propose a relationship between two or more types of variables .

  • An independent variable is something the researcher changes or controls.
  • A dependent variable is something the researcher observes and measures.

If there are any control variables , extraneous variables , or confounding variables , be sure to jot those down as you go to minimize the chances that research bias  will affect your results.

In this example, the independent variable is exposure to the sun – the assumed cause . The dependent variable is the level of happiness – the assumed effect .

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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.

Step 2. Do some preliminary research

Your initial answer to the question should be based on what is already known about the topic. Look for theories and previous studies to help you form educated assumptions about what your research will find.

At this stage, you might construct a conceptual framework to ensure that you’re embarking on a relevant topic . This can also help you identify which variables you will study and what you think the relationships are between them. Sometimes, you’ll have to operationalize more complex constructs.

Step 3. Formulate your hypothesis

Now you should have some idea of what you expect to find. Write your initial answer to the question in a clear, concise sentence.

4. Refine your hypothesis

You need to make sure your hypothesis is specific and testable. There are various ways of phrasing a hypothesis, but all the terms you use should have clear definitions, and the hypothesis should contain:

  • The relevant variables
  • The specific group being studied
  • The predicted outcome of the experiment or analysis

5. Phrase your hypothesis in three ways

To identify the variables, you can write a simple prediction in  if…then form. The first part of the sentence states the independent variable and the second part states the dependent variable.

In academic research, hypotheses are more commonly phrased in terms of correlations or effects, where you directly state the predicted relationship between variables.

If you are comparing two groups, the hypothesis can state what difference you expect to find between them.

6. Write a null hypothesis

If your research involves statistical hypothesis testing , you will also have to write a null hypothesis . The null hypothesis is the default position that there is no association between the variables. The null hypothesis is written as H 0 , while the alternative hypothesis is H 1 or H a .

  • H 0 : The number of lectures attended by first-year students has no effect on their final exam scores.
  • H 1 : The number of lectures attended by first-year students has a positive effect on their final exam scores.
Research question Hypothesis Null hypothesis
What are the health benefits of eating an apple a day? Increasing apple consumption in over-60s will result in decreasing frequency of doctor’s visits. Increasing apple consumption in over-60s will have no effect on frequency of doctor’s visits.
Which airlines have the most delays? Low-cost airlines are more likely to have delays than premium airlines. Low-cost and premium airlines are equally likely to have delays.
Can flexible work arrangements improve job satisfaction? Employees who have flexible working hours will report greater job satisfaction than employees who work fixed hours. There is no relationship between working hour flexibility and job satisfaction.
How effective is high school sex education at reducing teen pregnancies? Teenagers who received sex education lessons throughout high school will have lower rates of unplanned pregnancy teenagers who did not receive any sex education. High school sex education has no effect on teen pregnancy rates.
What effect does daily use of social media have on the attention span of under-16s? There is a negative between time spent on social media and attention span in under-16s. There is no relationship between social media use and attention span in under-16s.

If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility

 Statistics

  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

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A hypothesis is not just a guess — it should be based on existing theories and knowledge. It also has to be testable, which means you can support or refute it through scientific research methods (such as experiments, observations and statistical analysis of data).

Null and alternative hypotheses are used in statistical hypothesis testing . The null hypothesis of a test always predicts no effect or no relationship between variables, while the alternative hypothesis states your research prediction of an effect or relationship.

Hypothesis testing is a formal procedure for investigating our ideas about the world using statistics. It is used by scientists to test specific predictions, called hypotheses , by calculating how likely it is that a pattern or relationship between variables could have arisen by chance.

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The Complete Guide: Hypothesis Testing in Excel

In statistics, a hypothesis test is used to test some assumption about a population parameter .

There are many different types of hypothesis tests you can perform depending on the type of data you’re working with and the goal of your analysis.

This tutorial explains how to perform the following types of hypothesis tests in Excel:

  • One sample t-test
  • Two sample t-test
  • Paired samples t-test
  • One proportion z-test
  • Two proportion z-test

Let’s jump in!

Example 1: One Sample t-test in Excel

A one sample t-test is used to test whether or not the mean of a population is equal to some value.

For example, suppose a botanist wants to know if the mean height of a certain species of plant is equal to 15 inches.

To test this, she collects a random sample of 12 plants and records each of their heights in inches.

She would write the hypotheses for this particular one sample t-test as follows:

  • H 0 :  µ = 15
  • H A :  µ ≠15

Refer to this tutorial for a step-by-step explanation of how to perform this hypothesis test in Excel.

Example 2: Two Sample t-test in Excel

A two sample t-test is used to test whether or not the means of two populations are equal.

For example, suppose researchers want to know whether or not two different species of plants have the same mean height.

To test this, they collect a random sample of 20 plants from each species and measure their heights.

The researchers would write the hypotheses for this particular two sample t-test as follows:

  • H 0 :  µ 1 = µ 2
  • H A :  µ 1 ≠ µ 2

Example 3: Paired Samples t-test in Excel

A paired samples t-test is used to compare the means of two samples when each observation in one sample can be paired with an observation in the other sample.

For example, suppose we want to know whether a certain study program significantly impacts student performance on a particular exam.

To test this, we have 20 students in a class take a pre-test. Then, we have each of the students participate in the study program for two weeks. Then, the students retake a post-test of similar difficulty.

We would write the hypotheses for this particular two sample t-test as follows:

  • H 0 :  µ pre = µ post
  • H A :  µ pre ≠ µ post

Example 4: One Proportion z-test in Excel

A  one proportion z-test  is used to compare an observed proportion to a theoretical one.

For example, suppose a phone company claims that 90% of its customers are satisfied with their service.

To test this claim, an independent researcher gathered a simple random sample of 200 customers and asked them if they are satisfied with their service.

  • H 0 : p = 0.90
  • H A : p ≠ 0.90

Example 5: Two Proportion z-test in Excel

A two proportion z-test is used to test for a difference between two population proportions.

For example, suppose a s uperintendent of a school district claims that the percentage of students who prefer chocolate milk over regular milk in school cafeterias is the same for school 1 and school 2.

To test this claim, an independent researcher obtains a simple random sample of 100 students from each school and surveys them about their preferences.

  • H 0 : p 1 = p 2
  • H A : p 1  ≠ p 2

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SPSS Tutorial: General Statistics and Hypothesis Testing

  • About This Tutorial
  • SPSS Components
  • Importing Data
  • General Statistics and Hypothesis Testing
  • Further Resources

Merging Files based on a shared variable.

This section and the "Graphics" section provide a quick tutorial for a few common functions in SPSS, primarily to provide the reader with a feel for the SPSS user interface. This is not a comprehensive tutorial, but SPSS itself provides comprehensive tutorials and case studies through it's help menu. SPSS's help menu is more than a quick reference. It provides detailed information on how and when to use SPSS's various menu options. See the "Further Resources" section for more information. 

To perform a one sample t-test click "Analyze"→"Compare Means"→"One Sample T-Test" and the following dialog box will appear:

how to test a hypothesis using data

The dialogue allows selection of any scale variable from the box at the left and a test value that represents a hypothetical mean. Select the test variable and set the test value, then press "Ok." Three tables will appear in the Output Viewer:

how to test a hypothesis using data

The first table gives descriptive statistics about the variable. The second shows the results of the t_test, including the "t" statistic, the degrees of freedom ("df") the p-value ("Sig."), the difference of the test value from the variable mean, and the upper and lower bounds for a ninety-five percent confidence interval. The final table shows one-sample effect sizes.

One-Way ANOVA

In the Data Editor, select "Analyze"→"Compare Means"→"One-Way ANOVA..." to open the dialog box shown below.

how to test a hypothesis using data

To generate the ANOVA statistic the variables chosen cannot have a "Nominal" level of measurement; they must be "ordinal." 

Once the nominal variables have been changed to ordinal, select "the dependent variable and  the factor, then click "OK." The following output will appear in the Output Viewer:

how to test a hypothesis using data

Linear Regression

To obtain a linear regression select "Analyze"->"Regression"->"Linear" from the menu, calling up the dialog box shown below:

how to test a hypothesis using data

The output of this most basic case produces a summary chart showing R, R-square, and the Standard error of the prediction; an ANOVA chart; and a chart providing statistics on model coefficients:

how to test a hypothesis using data

For Multiple regression, simply add more independent variables in the "Linear Regression" dialogue box. To plot a regression line see the "Legacy Dialogues" section of the "Graphics" tab.

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P-Value And Statistical Significance: What It Is & Why It Matters

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On This Page:

The p-value in statistics quantifies the evidence against a null hypothesis. A low p-value suggests data is inconsistent with the null, potentially favoring an alternative hypothesis. Common significance thresholds are 0.05 or 0.01.

P-Value Explained in Normal Distribution

Hypothesis testing

When you perform a statistical test, a p-value helps you determine the significance of your results in relation to the null hypothesis.

The null hypothesis (H0) states no relationship exists between the two variables being studied (one variable does not affect the other). It states the results are due to chance and are not significant in supporting the idea being investigated. Thus, the null hypothesis assumes that whatever you try to prove did not happen.

The alternative hypothesis (Ha or H1) is the one you would believe if the null hypothesis is concluded to be untrue.

The alternative hypothesis states that the independent variable affected the dependent variable, and the results are significant in supporting the theory being investigated (i.e., the results are not due to random chance).

What a p-value tells you

A p-value, or probability value, is a number describing how likely it is that your data would have occurred by random chance (i.e., that the null hypothesis is true).

The level of statistical significance is often expressed as a p-value between 0 and 1.

The smaller the p -value, the less likely the results occurred by random chance, and the stronger the evidence that you should reject the null hypothesis.

Remember, a p-value doesn’t tell you if the null hypothesis is true or false. It just tells you how likely you’d see the data you observed (or more extreme data) if the null hypothesis was true. It’s a piece of evidence, not a definitive proof.

Example: Test Statistic and p-Value

Suppose you’re conducting a study to determine whether a new drug has an effect on pain relief compared to a placebo. If the new drug has no impact, your test statistic will be close to the one predicted by the null hypothesis (no difference between the drug and placebo groups), and the resulting p-value will be close to 1. It may not be precisely 1 because real-world variations may exist. Conversely, if the new drug indeed reduces pain significantly, your test statistic will diverge further from what’s expected under the null hypothesis, and the p-value will decrease. The p-value will never reach zero because there’s always a slim possibility, though highly improbable, that the observed results occurred by random chance.

P-value interpretation

The significance level (alpha) is a set probability threshold (often 0.05), while the p-value is the probability you calculate based on your study or analysis.

A p-value less than or equal to your significance level (typically ≤ 0.05) is statistically significant.

A p-value less than or equal to a predetermined significance level (often 0.05 or 0.01) indicates a statistically significant result, meaning the observed data provide strong evidence against the null hypothesis.

This suggests the effect under study likely represents a real relationship rather than just random chance.

For instance, if you set α = 0.05, you would reject the null hypothesis if your p -value ≤ 0.05. 

It indicates strong evidence against the null hypothesis, as there is less than a 5% probability the null is correct (and the results are random).

Therefore, we reject the null hypothesis and accept the alternative hypothesis.

Example: Statistical Significance

Upon analyzing the pain relief effects of the new drug compared to the placebo, the computed p-value is less than 0.01, which falls well below the predetermined alpha value of 0.05. Consequently, you conclude that there is a statistically significant difference in pain relief between the new drug and the placebo.

What does a p-value of 0.001 mean?

A p-value of 0.001 is highly statistically significant beyond the commonly used 0.05 threshold. It indicates strong evidence of a real effect or difference, rather than just random variation.

Specifically, a p-value of 0.001 means there is only a 0.1% chance of obtaining a result at least as extreme as the one observed, assuming the null hypothesis is correct.

Such a small p-value provides strong evidence against the null hypothesis, leading to rejecting the null in favor of the alternative hypothesis.

A p-value more than the significance level (typically p > 0.05) is not statistically significant and indicates strong evidence for the null hypothesis.

This means we retain the null hypothesis and reject the alternative hypothesis. You should note that you cannot accept the null hypothesis; we can only reject it or fail to reject it.

Note : when the p-value is above your threshold of significance,  it does not mean that there is a 95% probability that the alternative hypothesis is true.

One-Tailed Test

Probability and statistical significance in ab testing. Statistical significance in a b experiments

Two-Tailed Test

statistical significance two tailed

How do you calculate the p-value ?

Most statistical software packages like R, SPSS, and others automatically calculate your p-value. This is the easiest and most common way.

Online resources and tables are available to estimate the p-value based on your test statistic and degrees of freedom.

These tables help you understand how often you would expect to see your test statistic under the null hypothesis.

Understanding the Statistical Test:

Different statistical tests are designed to answer specific research questions or hypotheses. Each test has its own underlying assumptions and characteristics.

For example, you might use a t-test to compare means, a chi-squared test for categorical data, or a correlation test to measure the strength of a relationship between variables.

Be aware that the number of independent variables you include in your analysis can influence the magnitude of the test statistic needed to produce the same p-value.

This factor is particularly important to consider when comparing results across different analyses.

Example: Choosing a Statistical Test

If you’re comparing the effectiveness of just two different drugs in pain relief, a two-sample t-test is a suitable choice for comparing these two groups. However, when you’re examining the impact of three or more drugs, it’s more appropriate to employ an Analysis of Variance ( ANOVA) . Utilizing multiple pairwise comparisons in such cases can lead to artificially low p-values and an overestimation of the significance of differences between the drug groups.

How to report

A statistically significant result cannot prove that a research hypothesis is correct (which implies 100% certainty).

Instead, we may state our results “provide support for” or “give evidence for” our research hypothesis (as there is still a slight probability that the results occurred by chance and the null hypothesis was correct – e.g., less than 5%).

Example: Reporting the results

In our comparison of the pain relief effects of the new drug and the placebo, we observed that participants in the drug group experienced a significant reduction in pain ( M = 3.5; SD = 0.8) compared to those in the placebo group ( M = 5.2; SD  = 0.7), resulting in an average difference of 1.7 points on the pain scale (t(98) = -9.36; p < 0.001).

The 6th edition of the APA style manual (American Psychological Association, 2010) states the following on the topic of reporting p-values:

“When reporting p values, report exact p values (e.g., p = .031) to two or three decimal places. However, report p values less than .001 as p < .001.

The tradition of reporting p values in the form p < .10, p < .05, p < .01, and so forth, was appropriate in a time when only limited tables of critical values were available.” (p. 114)

  • Do not use 0 before the decimal point for the statistical value p as it cannot equal 1. In other words, write p = .001 instead of p = 0.001.
  • Please pay attention to issues of italics ( p is always italicized) and spacing (either side of the = sign).
  • p = .000 (as outputted by some statistical packages such as SPSS) is impossible and should be written as p < .001.
  • The opposite of significant is “nonsignificant,” not “insignificant.”

Why is the p -value not enough?

A lower p-value  is sometimes interpreted as meaning there is a stronger relationship between two variables.

However, statistical significance means that it is unlikely that the null hypothesis is true (less than 5%).

To understand the strength of the difference between the two groups (control vs. experimental) a researcher needs to calculate the effect size .

When do you reject the null hypothesis?

In statistical hypothesis testing, you reject the null hypothesis when the p-value is less than or equal to the significance level (α) you set before conducting your test. The significance level is the probability of rejecting the null hypothesis when it is true. Commonly used significance levels are 0.01, 0.05, and 0.10.

Remember, rejecting the null hypothesis doesn’t prove the alternative hypothesis; it just suggests that the alternative hypothesis may be plausible given the observed data.

The p -value is conditional upon the null hypothesis being true but is unrelated to the truth or falsity of the alternative hypothesis.

What does p-value of 0.05 mean?

If your p-value is less than or equal to 0.05 (the significance level), you would conclude that your result is statistically significant. This means the evidence is strong enough to reject the null hypothesis in favor of the alternative hypothesis.

Are all p-values below 0.05 considered statistically significant?

No, not all p-values below 0.05 are considered statistically significant. The threshold of 0.05 is commonly used, but it’s just a convention. Statistical significance depends on factors like the study design, sample size, and the magnitude of the observed effect.

A p-value below 0.05 means there is evidence against the null hypothesis, suggesting a real effect. However, it’s essential to consider the context and other factors when interpreting results.

Researchers also look at effect size and confidence intervals to determine the practical significance and reliability of findings.

How does sample size affect the interpretation of p-values?

Sample size can impact the interpretation of p-values. A larger sample size provides more reliable and precise estimates of the population, leading to narrower confidence intervals.

With a larger sample, even small differences between groups or effects can become statistically significant, yielding lower p-values. In contrast, smaller sample sizes may not have enough statistical power to detect smaller effects, resulting in higher p-values.

Therefore, a larger sample size increases the chances of finding statistically significant results when there is a genuine effect, making the findings more trustworthy and robust.

Can a non-significant p-value indicate that there is no effect or difference in the data?

No, a non-significant p-value does not necessarily indicate that there is no effect or difference in the data. It means that the observed data do not provide strong enough evidence to reject the null hypothesis.

There could still be a real effect or difference, but it might be smaller or more variable than the study was able to detect.

Other factors like sample size, study design, and measurement precision can influence the p-value. It’s important to consider the entire body of evidence and not rely solely on p-values when interpreting research findings.

Can P values be exactly zero?

While a p-value can be extremely small, it cannot technically be absolute zero. When a p-value is reported as p = 0.000, the actual p-value is too small for the software to display. This is often interpreted as strong evidence against the null hypothesis. For p values less than 0.001, report as p < .001

Further Information

  • P-values and significance tests (Kahn Academy)
  • Hypothesis testing and p-values (Kahn Academy)
  • Wasserstein, R. L., Schirm, A. L., & Lazar, N. A. (2019). Moving to a world beyond “ p “< 0.05”.
  • Criticism of using the “ p “< 0.05”.
  • Publication manual of the American Psychological Association
  • Statistics for Psychology Book Download

Bland, J. M., & Altman, D. G. (1994). One and two sided tests of significance: Authors’ reply.  BMJ: British Medical Journal ,  309 (6958), 874.

Goodman, S. N., & Royall, R. (1988). Evidence and scientific research.  American Journal of Public Health ,  78 (12), 1568-1574.

Goodman, S. (2008, July). A dirty dozen: twelve p-value misconceptions . In  Seminars in hematology  (Vol. 45, No. 3, pp. 135-140). WB Saunders.

Lang, J. M., Rothman, K. J., & Cann, C. I. (1998). That confounded P-value.  Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.) ,  9 (1), 7-8.

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Statistics By Jim

Making statistics intuitive

Confidence Intervals: Interpreting, Finding & Formulas

By Jim Frost 10 Comments

What is a Confidence Interval?

A confidence interval (CI) is a range of values that is likely to contain the value of an unknown population parameter . These intervals represent a plausible domain for the parameter given the characteristics of your sample data. Confidence intervals are derived from sample statistics and are calculated using a specified confidence level.

Population parameters are typically unknown because it is usually impossible to measure entire populations. By using a sample, you can estimate these parameters. However, the estimates rarely equal the parameter precisely thanks to random sampling error . Fortunately, inferential statistics procedures can evaluate a sample and incorporate the uncertainty inherent when using samples. Confidence intervals place a margin of error around the point estimate to help us understand how wrong the estimate might be.

You’ll frequently use confidence intervals to bound the sample mean and standard deviation parameters. But you can also create them for regression coefficients , proportions, rates of occurrence (Poisson), and the differences between populations.

Related post : Populations, Parameters, and Samples in Inferential Statistics

What is the Confidence Level?

The confidence level is the long-run probability that a series of confidence intervals will contain the true value of the population parameter.

Different random samples drawn from the same population are likely to produce slightly different intervals. If you draw many random samples and calculate a confidence interval for each sample, a percentage of them will contain the parameter.

The confidence level is the percentage of the intervals that contain the parameter. For 95% confidence intervals, an average of 19 out of 20 include the population parameter, as shown below.

Interval plot that displays 20 confidence intervals. 19 of them contain the population parameter.

The image above shows a hypothetical series of 20 confidence intervals from a study that draws multiple random samples from the same population. The horizontal red dashed line is the population parameter, which is usually unknown. Each blue dot is a the sample’s point estimate for the population parameter. Green lines represent CIs that contain the parameter, while the red line is a CI that does not contain it. The graph illustrates how confidence intervals are not perfect but usually correct.

The CI procedure provides meaningful estimates because it produces ranges that usually contain the parameter. Hence, they present plausible values for the parameter.

Technically, you can create CIs using any confidence level between 0 and 100%. However, the most common confidence level is 95%. Analysts occasionally use 99% and 90%.

Related posts : Populations and Samples  and Parameters vs. Statistics ,

How to Interpret Confidence Intervals

A confidence interval indicates where the population parameter is likely to reside. For example, a 95% confidence interval of the mean [9 11] suggests you can be 95% confident that the population mean is between 9 and 11.

Confidence intervals also help you navigate the uncertainty of how well a sample estimates a value for an entire population.

These intervals start with the point estimate for the sample and add a margin of error around it. The point estimate is the best guess for the parameter value. The margin of error accounts for the uncertainty involved when using a sample to estimate an entire population.

The width of the confidence interval around the point estimate reveals the precision. If the range is narrow, the margin of error is small, and there is only a tiny range of plausible values. That’s a precise estimate. However, if the interval is wide, the margin of error is large, and the actual parameter value is likely to fall somewhere  within that more extensive range . That’s an imprecise estimate.

Ideally, you’d like a narrow confidence interval because you’ll have a much better idea of the actual population value!

For example, imagine we have two different samples with a sample mean of 10. It appears both estimates are the same. Now let’s assess the 95% confidence intervals. One interval is [5 15] while the other is [9 11]. The latter range is narrower, suggesting a more precise estimate.

That’s how CIs provide more information than the point estimate (e.g., sample mean) alone.

Related post : Precision vs. Accuracy

Confidence Intervals for Effect Sizes

Confidence intervals are similarly helpful for understanding an effect size. For example, if you assess a treatment and control group, the mean difference between these groups is the estimated effect size. A 2-sample t-test can construct a confidence interval for the mean difference.

In this scenario, consider both the size and precision of the estimated effect. Ideally, an estimated effect is both large enough to be meaningful and sufficiently precise for you to trust. CIs allow you to assess both of these considerations! Learn more about this distinction in my post about Practical vs. Statistical Significance .

Learn more about how confidence intervals and hypothesis tests are similar .

Related post : Effect Sizes in Statistics

Avoid a Common Misinterpretation of Confidence Intervals

A frequent misuse is applying confidence intervals to the distribution of sample values. Remember that these ranges apply only to population parameters, not the data values.

For example, a 95% confidence interval [10 15] indicates that we can be 95% confident that the parameter is within that range.

However, it does NOT indicate that 95% of the sample values occur in that range.

If you need to use your sample to find the proportion of data values likely to fall within a range, use a tolerance interval instead.

Related post : See how confidence intervals compare to prediction intervals and tolerance intervals .

What Affects the Widths of Confidence Intervals?

Ok, so you want narrower CIs for their greater precision. What conditions produce tighter ranges?

Sample size, variability, and the confidence level affect the widths of confidence intervals. The first two are characteristics of your sample, which I’ll cover first.

Sample Variability

Variability present in your data affects the precision of the estimate. Your confidence intervals will be broader when your sample standard deviation is high.

It makes sense when you think about it. When there is a lot of variability present in your sample, you’re going to be less sure about the estimates it produces. After all, a high standard deviation means your sample data are really bouncing around! That’s not conducive for finding precise estimates.

Unfortunately, you often don’t have much control over data variability. You can institute measurement and data collection procedures that reduce outside sources of variability, but after that, you’re at the mercy of the variability inherent in your subject area. But, if you can reduce external sources of variation, that’ll help you reduce the width of your confidence intervals.

Sample Size

Increasing your sample size is the primary way to reduce the widths of confidence intervals because, in most cases, you can control it more than the variability. If you don’t change anything else and only increase the sample size, the ranges tend to narrow. Need even tighter CIs? Just increase the sample size some more!

Theoretically, there is no limit, and you can dramatically increase the sample size to produce remarkably narrow ranges. However, logistics, time, and cost issues will constrain your maximum sample size in the real world.

In summary, larger sample sizes and lower variability reduce the margin of error around the point estimate and create narrower confidence intervals. I’ll point out these factors again when we get to the formula later in this post.

Related post : Sample Statistics Are Always Wrong (to Some Extent)!

Changing the Confidence Level

The confidence level also affects the confidence interval width. However, this factor is a methodology choice separate from your sample’s characteristics.

If you increase the confidence level (e.g., 95% to 99%) while holding the sample size and variability constant, the confidence interval widens. Conversely, decreasing the confidence level (e.g., 95% to 90%) narrows the range.

I’ve found that many students find the effect of changing the confidence level on the width of the range to be counterintuitive.

Imagine you take your knowledge of a subject area and indicate you’re 95% confident that the correct answer lies between 15 and 20. Then I ask you to give me your confidence for it falling between 17 and 18. The correct answer is less likely to fall within the narrower interval, so your confidence naturally decreases.

Conversely, I ask you about your confidence that it’s between 10 and 30. That’s a much wider range, and the correct value is more likely to be in it. Consequently, your confidence grows.

Confidence levels involve a tradeoff between confidence and the interval’s spread. To have more confidence that the parameter falls within the interval, you must widen the interval. Conversely, your confidence necessarily decreases if you use a narrower range.

Confidence Interval Formula

Confidence intervals account for sampling uncertainty by using critical values, sampling distributions, and standard errors. The precise formula depends on the type of parameter you’re evaluating. The most common type is for the mean, so I’ll stick with that.

You’ll use critical Z-values or t-values to calculate your confidence interval of the mean. T-values produce more accurate confidence intervals when you do not know the population standard deviation. That’s particularly true for sample sizes smaller than 30. For larger samples, the two methods produce similar results. In practice, you’d usually use a t-value.

Below are the confidence interval formulas for both Z and t. However, you’d only use one of them.

Confidence interval formula.

  • x̄ = the sample mean, which is the point estimate.
  • Z = the critical z-value
  • t = the critical t-value
  • s = the sample standard deviation
  • s / √n = the standard error of the mean

The only difference between the two formulas is the critical value. If you’re using the critical z-value, you’ll always use 1.96 for 95% confidence intervals. However, for the t-value, you’ll need to know the degrees of freedom and then look up the critical value in a t-table or online calculator.

To calculate a confidence interval, take the critical value (Z or t) and multiply it by the standard error of the mean (SEM). This value is known as the margin of error (MOE) . Then add and subtract the MOE from the sample mean (x̄) to produce the upper and lower limits of the range.

Related posts : Critical Values , Standard Error of the Mean , and Sampling Distributions

Interval Widths Revisited

Think back to the discussion about the factors affecting the confidence interval widths. The formula helps you understand how that works. Recall that the critical value * SEM = MOE.

Smaller margins of error produce narrower confidence intervals. By looking at this equation, you can see that the following conditions create a smaller MOE:

  • Smaller critical values, which you obtain by decreasing the confidence level.
  • Smaller standard deviations, because they’re in the numerator of the SEM.
  • Large samples sizes, because its square root is in the denominator of the SEM.

How to Find a Confidence Interval

Let’s move on to using these formulas to find a confidence interval! For this example, I’ll use a fuel cost dataset that I’ve used in other posts: FuelCosts . The dataset contains a random sample of 25 fuel costs. We want to calculate the 95% confidence interval of the mean.

However, imagine we have only the following summary information instead of the dataset.

  • Sample mean: 330.6
  • Standard deviation: 154.2

Fortunately, that’s all we need to calculate our 95% confidence interval of the mean.

We need to decide on using the critical Z or t-value. I’ll use a critical t-value because the sample size (25) is less than 30. However, if the summary didn’t provide the sample size, we could use the Z-value method for an approximation.

My next step is to look up the critical t-value using my t-table. In the table, I’ll choose the alpha that equals 1 – the confidence level (1 – 0.95 = 0.05) for a two-sided test. Below is a truncated version of the t-table. Click for the full t-distribution table .

Portion of the t-table.

In the table, I see that for a two-sided interval with 25 – 1 = 24 degrees of freedom and an alpha of 0.05, the critical value is 2.064.

Entering Values into the Confidence Interval Formula

Let’s enter all of this information into the formula.

First, I’ll calculate the margin of error:

Example calculations for the confidence interval.

Next, I’ll take the sample mean and add and subtract the margin of error from it:

  • 330.6 + 63.6 = 394.2
  • 330.6 – 63.6 = 267.0

The 95% confidence interval of the mean for fuel costs is 267.0 – 394.2. We can be 95% confident that the population mean falls within this range.

If you had used the critical z-value (1.96), you would enter that into the formula instead of the t-value (2.064) and obtain a slightly different confidence interval. However, t-values produce more accurate results, particularly for smaller samples like this one.

As an aside, the Z-value method always produces narrower confidence intervals than t-values when your sample size is less than infinity. So, basically always! However, that’s not good because Z-values underestimate the uncertainty when you’re using a sample estimate of the standard deviation rather than the actual population value. And you practically never know the population standard deviation.

Neyman, J. (1937).  Outline of a Theory of Statistical Estimation Based on the Classical Theory of Probability .  Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A .  236  (767): 333–380.

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April 23, 2024 at 8:37 am

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February 24, 2024 at 8:29 am

Thank you so much

February 14, 2024 at 1:56 pm

If I take a sample and create a confidence interval for the mean, can I say that 95% of the mean of the other samples I will take can be found in this range?

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February 23, 2024 at 8:40 pm

Unfortunately, that would be an invalid statement. The CI formula uses your sample to estimate the properties of the population to construct the CI. Your estimates are bound to be off by at least a little bit. If you knew the precise properties of the population, you could determine the range in which 95% of random samples from that population would fall. However, again, you don’t know the precise properties of the population. You just have estimates based on your sample.

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September 29, 2023 at 6:55 pm

Hi Jim, My confusion is similar to one comment. What I cannot seem to understand is the concept of individual and many CIs and therefore statements such as X% of the CIs.

For a sampling distribution, which itself requires many samples to produce, we try to find a confidence interval. Then how come there are multiple CIs. More specifically “Different random samples drawn from the same population are likely to produce slightly different intervals. If you draw many random samples and calculate a confidence interval for each sample, a percentage of them will contain the parameter.” this is what confuses me. Is interval here represents the range of the samples drawn? If that is true, why is the term CI or interval used for sample range? If not, could you please explain what is mean by an individual CI or how are we calculating confidence interval for each sample? In the image depicting 19 out of 20 will have population parameter, is the green line the range of individual samples or the confidence interval?

Please try to sort this confusion out for me. I find your website really helpful for clearing my statistical concepts. Thank you in advance for helping out. Regards.

September 30, 2023 at 1:52 am

A key point to remember is that inferential statistics occur in the context of drawing many random samples from the same population. Of course, a single study typically draws a single sample. However, if that study were to draw another random sample, it would be somewhat different than the first sample. A third sample would be somewhat different as well. That produces the sampling distribution, which helps you calculate p-values and construct CIs. Inferential statistics procedures use the idea of many samples to incorporate random sampling error into the results.

For CIs, if you were to collect many random samples, a certain percentage of them will contain the population parameter. That percentage is the confidence interval. Again, a single study will only collect a single sample. However, picturing many CIs helps you understand the concept of the confidence level. In practice, a study generates one CI per parameter estimate. But the graph with multiple CIs is just to help you understand the concept of confidence level.

Alternatively, you can think of CIs as an object class. Suppose 100 disparate studies produce 95% CIs. You can assume that about 95 of those CIs actually contain the population parameter.   Using statistical procedures, you can estimate the sampling distribution using the sample itself without collecting many samples.

I don’t know what you mean by “Interval here represents the range of samples drawn.” As I write in this article, the CI is an interval of values that likely contain the population parameter. Reread the section titled How to Interpret Confidence Intervals to understand what each one means.

Each CI is estimated from a single sample and a study generates one CI per parameter estimate. However, again, understanding the concept of the confidence level is easier when you picture multiple CIs. But if a single study were to collect multiple samples and produces multiple CIs, that graph is what you’d expect to see. Although, in the real world, you never know for sure whether a CI actually contains the parameter or not.

The green lines represent CIs that contain the population parameter. Red lines represent CIs that do not contain the population parameter. The graph illustrates how CIs are not perfect but they are usually correct. I’ve added text to the article to clarify that image.

I also show you how to calculate the CI for a mean in this article. I’m not sure what more you need to understand there? I’m happy to clarify any part of that.

I hope that helps!

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July 6, 2023 at 10:14 am

Hi Jim, This was an excellent article, thank you! I have a question: when computing a CI in its single-sample t-test module, SPSS appears to use the difference between population and sample means as a starting point (so the formula would be (X-bar-mu) +/- tcv(SEM)). I’ve consulted multiple stats books, but none of them compute a CI that way for a single-sample t-test. Maybe I’m just missing something and this is a perfectly acceptable way of doing things (I mean, SPSS does it :-)), but it yields substantially different lower and upper bounds from a CI that uses the traditional X-bar as a starting point. Do you have any insights? Many thanks in advance! Stephen

July 7, 2023 at 2:56 am

Hi Stephen,

I’m not an SPSS user but that formula is confusing. They presented this formula as being for the CI of a sample mean?

I’m not sure why they’re subtracting Mu. For one thing, you almost never know what Mu is because you’d have to measure the entire population. And, if you knew Mu, you wouldn’t need to perform a t-test! Why would you use a sample mean (X-bar) if you knew the population mean? None of it makes sense to me. It must be an error of some kind even if just of documentation.

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October 13, 2022 at 8:33 am

Are there strict distinctions between the terms “confident”, “likely”, and “probability”? I’ve seen a number of other sources exclaim that for a given calculated confidence interval, the frequentist interpretation of that is the parameter is either in or not in that interval. They say another frequent misinterpretation is that the parameter lies within a calculated interval with a 95% probability.

It’s very confusing to balance that notion with practical casual communication of data in non-research settings.

October 13, 2022 at 5:43 pm

It is a confusing issue.

In this strictest technical sense, the confidence level is probability that applies to the process but NOT an individual confidence interval. There are several reasons for that.

In the frequentist framework, the probability that an individual CI contains the parameter is either 100% or 0%. It’s either in it or out. The parameter is not a random variable. However, because you don’t know the parameter value, you don’t know which of those two conditions is correct. That’s the conceptual approach. And the mathematics behind the scenes are complementary to that. There’s just no way to calculate the probability that an individual CI contains the parameter.

On the other hand, the process behind creating the intervals will cause X% of the CIs at the Xth confidence level to include that parameter. So, for all 95% CIs, you’d expect 95% of them to contain the parameter value. The confidence level applies to the process, not the individual CIs. Statisticians intentionally used the term “confidence” to describe that as opposed to “probability” hoping to make that distinction.

So, the 95% confidence applies the process but not individual CIs.

However, if you’re thinking that if 95% of many CIs contain the parameter, then surely a single CI has a 95% probability. From a technical standpoint, that is NOT true. However, it sure sounds logical. Most statistics make intuitive sense to me, but I struggle with that one myself. I’ve asked other statisticians to get their take on it. The basic gist of their answers is that there might be other information available which can alter the actual probability. Not all CIs produced by the process have the same probability. For example, if an individual CI is a bit higher or lower than most other CIs for the same thing, the CIs with the unusual values will have lower probabilities for containing the parameters.

I think that makes sense. The only problem is that you often don’t know where your individual CI fits in. That means you don’t know the probability for it specifically. But you do know the overall probability for the process.

The answer for this question is never totally satisfying. Just remember that there is no mathematical way in the frequentist framework to calculate the probability that an individual CI contains the parameter. However, the overall process is designed such that all CIs using a particular confidence level will have the specified proportion containing the parameter. However, you can’t apply that overall proportion to your individual CI because on the technical side there’s no mathematical way to do that and conceptually, you don’t know where your individual CI fits in the entire distribution of CIs.

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How to create an experiment hypothesis, the statsig team.

Imagine diving into a project without knowing your end goal. It's like setting sail without a map—you might find new lands, but chances are you'll just float aimlessly. A well-crafted hypothesis acts as your compass, guiding every experimental decision and prediction you make. It's not just a formal requirement; it's the backbone of strategic experimentation.

Whether you're a seasoned engineer or a budding tech entrepreneur, understanding and utilizing a hypothesis effectively can significantly enhance the outcomes of your projects. It's not merely about guessing; it's about predicting with precision and grounding your expectations in data and previous research.

Defining the hypothesis

A hypothesis in experimental design is essentially a testable prediction . Before you dive into any experiment, you first formulate what you think will happen. This isn't just a wild guess; your hypothesis should be based on prior knowledge, observations, and a clear understanding of the problem at hand. It sets the stage for your experiment and determines the direction and structure of your inquiry.

Here’s what makes a hypothesis so crucial:

Direction and Focus : A clear, well-defined hypothesis provides a focused path for your experiment. It helps you determine what specific aspects need investigation and what variables are involved.

Predictive Power : By hypothesizing, you make a prediction about the outcomes of your experiment. This not only helps in setting expectations but also in defining the criteria for analysis.

For instance, if you hypothesize that "Implementing a more intuitive navigation layout will increase user engagement on a tech blog," you're making a prediction that can be tested. You have your variable (navigation layout), your expected result (increased user engagement), and presumably, a rationale based on user behavior studies or previous analytics.

In crafting your hypothesis, consider these steps:

Identify your variable: What are you changing or testing?

Define the expected result: What effect do you anticipate?

Establish the rationale: Why do you believe this result will occur?

This structured approach not only streamlines your experimental design but also enhances the interpretability of your results, allowing you to make informed decisions moving forward.

Components of a strong hypothesis

Crafting a strong hypothesis involves a clear structure, typically following the 'If, then, because' format. This method helps you articulate the experiment's core components concisely and precisely. Let's break it down:

If (Variable) : This part specifies the element you will change or control in your experiment. It's what you're testing, and changing this variable should impact the results in some way.

Then (Expected Result) : Here, you predict what will happen when you manipulate the variable. This outcome should be measurable and observable.

Because (Rationale) : This is your chance to explain why you believe the variable will influence the outcome. It should be grounded in research or prior knowledge.

Each component is crucial:

Variable : Identifying and manipulating the correct variable is essential for a valid experiment. Choose something that directly influences the aspect you're examining.

Expected Result : This clarifies what you are trying to prove or disprove. It sets the benchmark against which you will measure your experiment's success.

Rationale : Providing a solid rationale ensures your hypothesis is not just a guess. It shows your reasoning is scientifically sound, enhancing the credibility of your experiment.

By meticulously assembling these elements, you ensure your experimental design is robust and your results will be meaningful. Remember, a well-structured hypothesis not only guides your experiment but also sharpens the focus of your research, allowing for conclusive interpretations.

Crafting your hypothesis

Developing a hypothesis starts with a clear problem statement. Identify what you want to explore or the issue you aim to resolve. This clarity will shape your entire experiment.

Next, gather existing knowledge and data related to your problem. Review relevant studies, articles, or previous experiments. This step ensures your hypothesis is not only informed but also grounded in reality.

Formulate your hypothesis using the 'If, then, because' structure:

If : Define what you will change or manipulate.

Then : Describe the expected outcome.

Because : Provide a rationale based on the data you've reviewed.

Testing your hypothesis involves setting up experiments that can confirm or deny your predictions. Make sure your test conditions are controlled and your metrics for measurement are clear. This approach enhances the reliability of your results.

Remember, a well-crafted hypothesis serves as the foundation of any successful experiment. It guides your research direction and helps you focus on obtaining meaningful insights.

Testing and refining the hypothesis

Setting up a controlled environment is crucial for hypothesis testing. You decide on the variables and keep all other factors constant to observe clear results. Selecting the right metrics for measurement is equally important; these should align with your hypothesis' expected outcome.

When you run the experiment, your results will either support or contradict your hypothesis. This outcome isn’t just about proving your initial guess right or wrong. It’s an opportunity to learn and refine.

If the results differ from your predictions, consider it a chance to revisit your hypothesis. Dive into the data, identify possible reasons for the discrepancy, and adjust your hypothesis accordingly. This iterative process enhances the accuracy and relevance of your experimental work. For more insights, you can explore various methodologies in the Lean Startup methodology and understand how to run controlled experiments effectively. Additionally, consider reading about the importance of data in decision-making to solidify your testing strategy.

Learning from the outcomes

Every experiment teaches you something, regardless of whether your hypothesis was right or wrong. Unexpected results often provide the most valuable insights. They prompt you to ask new questions and explore other possibilities.

For instance, if an A/B test on a new feature doesn’t improve user engagement as predicted, this outcome can lead to deeper inquiry. You might investigate whether the feature was introduced properly or if external factors influenced the results. Each answer opens a pathway to new hypotheses and subsequent testing.

Such discoveries encourage continuous refinement and can pivot your research direction. Consider how these insights impact future strategies and what you might test next. Observations from one experiment can fuel the next cycle of questions, keeping your project dynamically evolving.

Remember, every outcome holds a lesson. Use these lessons to sharpen your hypothesis creator skills and refine your experimental approach. This process is crucial for innovation and discovery in any tech-driven environment. Learn more about cultivating an experimentation culture .

In addition, exploring advanced statistical techniques and sequential testing methodologies can significantly enhance your ability to derive meaningful insights from your experiments.

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Definition of hypothesis

Did you know.

The Difference Between Hypothesis and Theory

A hypothesis is an assumption, an idea that is proposed for the sake of argument so that it can be tested to see if it might be true.

In the scientific method, the hypothesis is constructed before any applicable research has been done, apart from a basic background review. You ask a question, read up on what has been studied before, and then form a hypothesis.

A hypothesis is usually tentative; it's an assumption or suggestion made strictly for the objective of being tested.

A theory , in contrast, is a principle that has been formed as an attempt to explain things that have already been substantiated by data. It is used in the names of a number of principles accepted in the scientific community, such as the Big Bang Theory . Because of the rigors of experimentation and control, it is understood to be more likely to be true than a hypothesis is.

In non-scientific use, however, hypothesis and theory are often used interchangeably to mean simply an idea, speculation, or hunch, with theory being the more common choice.

Since this casual use does away with the distinctions upheld by the scientific community, hypothesis and theory are prone to being wrongly interpreted even when they are encountered in scientific contexts—or at least, contexts that allude to scientific study without making the critical distinction that scientists employ when weighing hypotheses and theories.

The most common occurrence is when theory is interpreted—and sometimes even gleefully seized upon—to mean something having less truth value than other scientific principles. (The word law applies to principles so firmly established that they are almost never questioned, such as the law of gravity.)

This mistake is one of projection: since we use theory in general to mean something lightly speculated, then it's implied that scientists must be talking about the same level of uncertainty when they use theory to refer to their well-tested and reasoned principles.

The distinction has come to the forefront particularly on occasions when the content of science curricula in schools has been challenged—notably, when a school board in Georgia put stickers on textbooks stating that evolution was "a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things." As Kenneth R. Miller, a cell biologist at Brown University, has said , a theory "doesn’t mean a hunch or a guess. A theory is a system of explanations that ties together a whole bunch of facts. It not only explains those facts, but predicts what you ought to find from other observations and experiments.”

While theories are never completely infallible, they form the basis of scientific reasoning because, as Miller said "to the best of our ability, we’ve tested them, and they’ve held up."

  • proposition
  • supposition

hypothesis , theory , law mean a formula derived by inference from scientific data that explains a principle operating in nature.

hypothesis implies insufficient evidence to provide more than a tentative explanation.

theory implies a greater range of evidence and greater likelihood of truth.

law implies a statement of order and relation in nature that has been found to be invariable under the same conditions.

Examples of hypothesis in a Sentence

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hypothesis.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Greek, from hypotithenai to put under, suppose, from hypo- + tithenai to put — more at do

1641, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Phrases Containing hypothesis

  • counter - hypothesis
  • nebular hypothesis
  • null hypothesis
  • planetesimal hypothesis
  • Whorfian hypothesis

Articles Related to hypothesis

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This is the Difference Between a...

This is the Difference Between a Hypothesis and a Theory

In scientific reasoning, they're two completely different things

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“Hypothesis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypothesis. Accessed 13 Jun. 2024.

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Kids definition of hypothesis, medical definition, medical definition of hypothesis, more from merriam-webster on hypothesis.

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How to Find P Value in MS Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

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P-values might sound like something only a statistician would care about, but in reality, they’re a pivotal part of many fields like finance, medicine, and science. Whether we’re analyzing clinical trial results or investment performances, understanding how to find a P-value in Microsoft Excel will significantly streamline our data analysis process. By following a few straightforward steps, we can quickly determine the P-value and make informed decisions in our research and daily work.

A computer screen showing an Excel spreadsheet with statistical data. A cursor highlights the formula bar displaying the calculation for the p value

For those of us who aren’t math wizards, Excel comes to the rescue. It’s equipped with functions like T.TEST , F.TEST , and various analysis tool packs, which simplify hypothesis testing. Suppose we have two sets of data and we want to test if their means are significantly different. We input our data into Excel, use the T.TEST function, and out pops the P-value. This value helps us judge whether any observed data differences are statistically significant or just due to random chance.

Data analysis in Excel doesn’t need to be dry or tedious. Imagine we’re in a finance meeting, and need to validate an investment strategy. Or maybe we’re in a medical research lab trying to establish a link between a new drug and patient outcomes. The ability to quickly calculate and interpret P-values empowers us to make data-driven decisions with confidence , avoiding those dreaded “gut feelings” and ensuring our choices are on solid analytical ground.

JUMP TO TOPIC

Exploring the Null and Alternative Hypotheses

Deciphering p-values and alpha values, differentiating between one-tailed and two-tailed tests, setting up data for t-test analysis, applying excel’s data analysis toolpak, interpreting t-test results in excel, applying paired two sample for means analysis, analyzing variance with anova, understanding regression and correlation, understanding statistical significance in hypothesis testing.

When diving into hypothesis testing, it’s critical to understand the relationship between statistical significance and p-values. Understanding these elements helps us determine the validity of our results and whether they happened by chance.

In hypothesis testing, the null hypothesis (H0) assumes that there is no effect or no difference in the population. It’s like setting a default position where nothing exciting is happening. On the flip side, the alternative hypothesis (H1) suggests that there is a significant effect or difference.

Think of H0 as the assumption of innocence in a court trial, and H1 as the prosecution presenting evidence. We always test assuming the null hypothesis is correct until our data convinces us otherwise. If the evidence (our test results) is convincing, we reject the null hypothesis in favor of the alternative.

The p-value is a crucial number in statistical tests. It tells us the probability of observing our results, or something more extreme, if the null hypothesis is true. A smaller p-value (< 0.05) implies stronger evidence against H0, making it likely that we have something interesting going on.

Alpha value (α), often set at 0.05, is our threshold for deciding whether a p-value is statistically significant. If our p-value is below α, we reject the null hypothesis. So, think of α as our cutoff point for making decisions. Setting α too high or too low can affect the integrity of our results.

When testing hypotheses, the direction of the effect matters. In a one-tailed test , we’re looking for an effect in a specific direction. For instance, testing whether a new drug is better than an existing one. This type limits our testing to one end of the data distribution.

In a two-tailed test , we check for effects in both directions — whether the new drug is either better or worse than the existing one. This provides a more comprehensive look but requires a bigger sample size to detect significant effects.

Choosing between one-tailed and two-tailed tests depends on our specific research question and prior expectations.

Key Takeaways:

  • The null hypothesis represents no effect, while the alternative suggests a significant effect.
  • P-values tell us the probability of results assuming the null hypothesis is true.
  • Alpha values set our threshold for statistical significance.
  • One-tailed tests look at effects in one direction; two-tailed tests consider both.

Executing T-Tests Using Excel

We will guide you through setting up your dataset, leveraging Excel’s Data Analysis Toolpak, and understanding the results it generates. This ensures your statistical analysis is clear, accurate, and actionable.

Before performing a T-Test, input your data into Excel. Ensure your datasets are clear and labeled appropriately. This might include different group scores or paired observations.

For example:

12 15
14 18
16 20

Entering data correctly is crucial. Mislabeling or input errors can lead to incorrect results. Always double-check your data input to avoid potential pitfalls.

Adding the Data Analysis Toolpak simplifies our T-Test operations. Go to File > Options > Add-ins , select “Analysis ToolPak,” and hit “Ok.” Once it’s enabled, you’ll find the Data Analysis button in the Data tab.

Select “t-Test: Two-Sample Assuming Equal Variances” for datasets with similar variances or choose “t-Test: Two-Sample Assuming Unequal Variances” if variances differ.

A dialog box will appear where you need to input:

  • Variable 1 Range
  • Variable 2 Range
  • Labels (if your data includes headings)
  • Alpha value (commonly set as 0.05)

This configuration determines the accuracy of your T-Test results, so adjust settings carefully.

After running the T-Test via the Toolpak, Excel outputs the results, including the p-value, t-statistic, and confidence intervals.

Key output elements:

  • P-value : Indicates the probability that the differences observed are due to chance.
  • Mean : Shows the average values of each dataset.
  • T-statistic : Tests the null hypothesis.

Understanding these results helps us make informed decisions based on our data analysis. Double-checking these outputs ensures accuracy and reliability in our statistical conclusions.

Advanced Topics in T-Test Analysis

In this section, we’ll look at some more sophisticated aspects of T-Test Analysis such as paired two-sample for means analysis, variance analysis using ANOVA, and exploring regression and correlation techniques.

A paired t-test compares two related samples. We often use it when we have measurements before and after an intervention.

To perform this in Excel, we enter the two datasets side by side. Using the T.TEST function with arguments like array1 , array2 , tails (1 or 2), and type (1 for paired). This will give us the probability value (p-value).

Paired t-tests account for the related nature of the data, increasing the ability to detect differences that arise from the intervention. It’s crucial to note the degrees of freedom here, as it impacts our outcomes significantly.

When we compare more than two groups, ANOVA (Analysis of Variance) comes into play. ANOVA helps us test if at least one sample mean is different from the others.

In Excel, first enable the Analysis ToolPak under Add-ins. Then navigate to Data > Data Analysis > ANOVA. Enter the range and choose single-factor ANOVA. This breaks down the total variance into variance between groups and within groups.

Degrees of freedom, sum of squares, and mean squares are critical components within the ANOVA output, helping us understand the variability and the F-test statistic for evaluating significance. A lower probability value indicates significant differences.

Regression and correlation analyses reveal relationships between variables. A simple linear regression identifies how one variable predicts another.

In Excel, we start by enabling the Analysis ToolPak. Then, go to Data > Data Analysis > Regression. Define the dependent and independent variables. Excel then outputs regression coefficients, R-squared value, and significance F.

Correlation coefficients, calculated using the CORREL function, give us an idea of how strongly two variables are related. These analyses help in understanding trends and making forecasts.

By analyzing the regression output, we determine the equation of the regression line and assess how well our model explains the data variance.

For comprehensive T-Test analysis, combining paired t-tests, ANOVA, and regression techniques equips us with robust tools to decipher complex data relationships.

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COMMENTS

  1. Hypothesis Testing

    Hypothesis testing is a formal procedure for investigating our ideas about the world. It allows you to statistically test your predictions.

  2. Hypothesis testing for data scientists

    Hypothesis testing is a common statistical tool used in research and data science to support the certainty of findings. The aim of testing is to answer how probable an apparent effect is detected by chance given a random data sample. This article provides a detailed explanation of the key concepts in Frequentist hypothesis testing using ...

  3. A Complete Guide to Hypothesis Testing

    Hypothesis testing is a method of statistical inference that considers the null hypothesis H ₀ vs. the alternative hypothesis H a, where we are typically looking to assess evidence against H ₀. Such a test is used to compare data sets against one another, or compare a data set against some external standard. The former being a two sample ...

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    Explore the intricacies of hypothesis testing, a cornerstone of statistical analysis. Dive into methods, interpretations, and applications for making data-driven decisions.

  6. Statistical Hypothesis Testing Overview

    Hypothesis testing is a crucial procedure to perform when you want to make inferences about a population using a random sample. These inferences include estimating population properties such as the mean, differences between means, proportions, and the relationships between variables. This post provides an overview of statistical hypothesis testing.

  7. How to Test Statistical Hypotheses

    How to test hypotheses using four steps: state hypothesis, formulate analysis plan, analyze sample data, interpret results. Includes hypothesis test examples.

  8. 1.2

    So we set up a null hypothesis which is effectively the opposite of the working hypothesis. The hope is that based on the strength of the data we will be able to negate or reject the null hypothesis and accept an alternative hypothesis.

  9. 4.4: Hypothesis Testing

    Hypothesis testing involves the formulate two hypothesis to test against the measured data: (1) The null hypothesis often represents either a skeptical perspective or a claim to be tested and (2) The …

  10. Hypothesis Testing Guide for Data Science Beginners

    Learn how to perform hypothesis testing for data science projects with this easy guide. Find examples, tips, and related articles on statistics and machine learning.

  11. 6a.2

    In testing a hypothesis, we use a method where we gather data in an effort to gather evidence about the hypothesis. How do we decide whether to reject the null hypothesis? ... Gather sample data and calculate a test statistic where the sample statistic is compared to the parameter value. The test statistic is calculated under the assumption the ...

  12. Hypothesis Testing

    A hypothesis test is a statistical inference method used to test the significance of a proposed (hypothesized) relation between population statistics (parameters) and their corresponding sample estimators. In other words, hypothesis tests are used to determine if there is enough evidence in a sample to prove a hypothesis true for the entire population.

  13. A Gentle Introduction to Statistical Hypothesis Testing

    A statistical hypothesis test may return a value called p or the p-value. This is a quantity that we can use to interpret or quantify the result of the test and either reject or fail to reject the null hypothesis. This is done by comparing the p-value to a threshold value chosen beforehand called the significance level.

  14. Hypothesis Testing: Data Science

    Hypothesis testing is a type of statistical method which is used in making statistical decisions using experimental data.

  15. Hypothesis Testing

    What is a Hypothesis Testing? Explained in simple terms with step by step examples. Hundreds of articles, videos and definitions. Statistics made easy!

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    Hypothesis testing is a scientific method used for making a decision and drawing conclusions by using a statistical approach. It is used to suggest new ideas by testing theories to know whether or not the sample data supports research. A research hypothesis is a predictive statement that has to be tested using scientific methods that join an ...

  17. Introduction to Hypothesis Testing

    To test whether a statistical hypothesis about a population parameter is true, we obtain a random sample from the population and perform a hypothesis test on the sample data. There are two types of statistical hypotheses: The null hypothesis, denoted as H 0, is the hypothesis that the sample data occurs purely from chance.

  18. Choosing the Right Statistical Test

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  19. How to Perform Hypothesis Testing in Python (With Examples)

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  21. The Complete Guide: Hypothesis Testing in Excel

    In statistics, a hypothesis test is used to test some assumption about a population parameter. There are many different types of hypothesis tests you can perform depending on the type of data you're working with and the goal of your analysis. This tutorial explains how to perform the following types of hypothesis tests in Excel: One sample t-test

  22. SPSS Tutorial: General Statistics and Hypothesis Testing

    The first table gives descriptive statistics about the variable. The second shows the results of the t_test, including the "t" statistic, the degrees of freedom ("df") the p-value ("Sig."), the difference of the test value from the variable mean, and the upper and lower bounds for a ninety-five percent confidence interval.

  23. Understanding P-Values and Statistical Significance

    A p-value, or probability value, is a number describing how likely it is that your data would have occurred by random chance (i.e., that the null hypothesis is true). The level of statistical significance is often expressed as a p-value between 0 and 1. The smaller the p -value, the less likely the results occurred by random chance, and the ...

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    A confidence interval (CI) is a range of values that is likely to contain the value of an unknown population parameter. These intervals represent a plausible domain for the parameter given the characteristics of your sample data. Confidence intervals are derived from sample statistics and are calculated using a specified confidence level.

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    Student's t-tests are commonly used in inferential statistics for testing a hypothesis on the basis of a difference between sample means. However, people often misinterpret the results of t-tests, which leads to false research findings and a lack of reproducibility of studies. This problem exists not only among students.

  26. How to create an experiment hypothesis

    Developing a hypothesis starts with a clear problem statement. Identify what you want to explore or the issue you aim to resolve. This clarity will shape your entire experiment. Next, gather existing knowledge and data related to your problem. Review relevant studies, articles, or previous experiments.

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    Discover the critical role of hypothesis testing in regression analysis steps within Business Intelligence for reliable data-driven decisions.

  28. Hypothesis Definition & Meaning

    The meaning of HYPOTHESIS is an assumption or concession made for the sake of argument. How to use hypothesis in a sentence. The Difference Between Hypothesis and Theory Synonym Discussion of Hypothesis.

  29. How to Find P Value in MS Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

    We input our data into Excel, use the T.TEST function, and out pops the P-value. ... We always test assuming the null hypothesis is correct until our data convinces us otherwise. If the evidence (our test results) is convincing, we reject the null hypothesis in favor of the alternative.

  30. ASA's Caution: Rethinking How We Use p-Values in Research

    1-Using P-values to measure the probability that the studied hypothesis is true, or the probability that the data were produced by random chance alone. The p-value cannot be used to judge either the truth of a null hypothesis, or about the likelihood that random chance produced the observed data.