Null Hypothesis Examples

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• Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville
• B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College

The null hypothesis —which assumes that there is no meaningful relationship between two variables—may be the most valuable hypothesis for the scientific method because it is the easiest to test using a statistical analysis. This means you can support your hypothesis with a high level of confidence. Testing the null hypothesis can tell you whether your results are due to the effect of manipulating ​ the dependent variable or due to chance.

What Is the Null Hypothesis?

The null hypothesis states there is no relationship between the measured phenomenon (the dependent variable) and the independent variable . You do not​ need to believe that the null hypothesis is true to test it. On the contrary, you will likely suspect that there is a relationship between a set of variables. One way to prove that this is the case is to reject the null hypothesis. Rejecting a hypothesis does not mean an experiment was "bad" or that it didn't produce results. In fact, it is often one of the first steps toward further inquiry.

To distinguish it from other hypotheses, the null hypothesis is written as ​ H 0  (which is read as “H-nought,” "H-null," or "H-zero"). A significance test is used to determine the likelihood that the results supporting the null hypothesis are not due to chance. A confidence level of 95 percent or 99 percent is common. Keep in mind, even if the confidence level is high, there is still a small chance the null hypothesis is not true, perhaps because the experimenter did not account for a critical factor or because of chance. This is one reason why it's important to repeat experiments.

Examples of the Null Hypothesis

To write a null hypothesis, first start by asking a question. Rephrase that question in a form that assumes no relationship between the variables. In other words, assume a treatment has no effect. Write your hypothesis in a way that reflects this.

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• Hypothesis Test for the Difference of Two Population Proportions
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• Null Hypothesis and Alternative Hypothesis
• What Are Examples of a Hypothesis?
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• How to Conduct a Hypothesis Test
• What Is a P-Value?
• The Difference Between Type I and Type II Errors in Hypothesis Testing

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9.1: Null and Alternative Hypotheses

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

$$H_0$$: The null hypothesis: It is a statement of no difference between the variables—they are not related. This can often be considered the status quo and as a result if you cannot accept the null it requires some action.

$$H_a$$: The alternative hypothesis: It is a claim about the population that is contradictory to $$H_0$$ and what we conclude when we reject $$H_0$$. This is usually what the researcher is trying to prove.

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

After you have determined which hypothesis the sample supports, you make a decision. There are two options for a decision. They are "reject $$H_0$$" if the sample information favors the alternative hypothesis or "do not reject $$H_0$$" or "decline to reject $$H_0$$" if the sample information is insufficient to reject the null hypothesis.

$$H_{0}$$ always has a symbol with an equal in it. $$H_{a}$$ never has a symbol with an equal in it. The choice of symbol depends on the wording of the hypothesis test. However, be aware that many researchers (including one of the co-authors in research work) use = in the null hypothesis, even with > or < as the symbol in the alternative hypothesis. This practice is acceptable because we only make the decision to reject or not reject the null hypothesis.

Example $$\PageIndex{1}$$

• $$H_{0}$$: No more than 30% of the registered voters in Santa Clara County voted in the primary election. $$p \leq 30$$
• $$H_{a}$$: More than 30% of the registered voters in Santa Clara County voted in the primary election. $$p > 30$$

Exercise $$\PageIndex{1}$$

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

• $$H_{0}$$: The drug reduces cholesterol by 25%. $$p = 0.25$$
• $$H_{a}$$: The drug does not reduce cholesterol by 25%. $$p \neq 0.25$$

Example $$\PageIndex{2}$$

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

• $$H_{0}: \mu = 2.0$$
• $$H_{a}: \mu \neq 2.0$$

Exercise $$\PageIndex{2}$$

We want to test whether the mean height of eighth graders is 66 inches. State the null and alternative hypotheses. Fill in the correct symbol $$(=, \neq, \geq, <, \leq, >)$$ for the null and alternative hypotheses.

• $$H_{0}: \mu \_ 66$$
• $$H_{a}: \mu \_ 66$$
• $$H_{0}: \mu = 66$$
• $$H_{a}: \mu \neq 66$$

Example $$\PageIndex{3}$$

We want to test if college students take less than five years to graduate from college, on the average. The null and alternative hypotheses are:

• $$H_{0}: \mu \geq 5$$
• $$H_{a}: \mu < 5$$

Exercise $$\PageIndex{3}$$

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

• $$H_{0}: \mu \_ 45$$
• $$H_{a}: \mu \_ 45$$
• $$H_{0}: \mu \geq 45$$
• $$H_{a}: \mu < 45$$

Example $$\PageIndex{4}$$

In an issue of U. S. News and World Report , an article on school standards stated that about half of all students in France, Germany, and Israel take advanced placement exams and a third pass. The same article stated that 6.6% of U.S. students take advanced placement exams and 4.4% pass. Test if the percentage of U.S. students who take advanced placement exams is more than 6.6%. State the null and alternative hypotheses.

• $$H_{0}: p \leq 0.066$$
• $$H_{a}: p > 0.066$$

Exercise $$\PageIndex{4}$$

On a state driver’s test, about 40% pass the test on the first try. We want to test if more than 40% pass on the first try. Fill in the correct symbol ($$=, \neq, \geq, <, \leq, >$$) for the null and alternative hypotheses.

• $$H_{0}: p \_ 0.40$$
• $$H_{a}: p \_ 0.40$$
• $$H_{0}: p = 0.40$$
• $$H_{a}: p > 0.40$$

COLLABORATIVE EXERCISE

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

In a hypothesis test , sample data is evaluated in order to arrive at a decision about some type of claim. If certain conditions about the sample are satisfied, then the claim can be evaluated for a population. In a hypothesis test, we:

• Evaluate the null hypothesis , typically denoted with $$H_{0}$$. The null is not rejected unless the hypothesis test shows otherwise. The null statement must always contain some form of equality $$(=, \leq \text{or} \geq)$$
• Always write the alternative hypothesis , typically denoted with $$H_{a}$$ or $$H_{1}$$, using less than, greater than, or not equals symbols, i.e., $$(\neq, >, \text{or} <)$$.
• If we reject the null hypothesis, then we can assume there is enough evidence to support the alternative hypothesis.
• Never state that a claim is proven true or false. Keep in mind the underlying fact that hypothesis testing is based on probability laws; therefore, we can talk only in terms of non-absolute certainties.

Formula Review

$$H_{0}$$ and $$H_{a}$$ are contradictory.

• If $$\alpha \leq p$$-value, then do not reject $$H_{0}$$.
• If$$\alpha > p$$-value, then reject $$H_{0}$$.

$$\alpha$$ is preconceived. Its value is set before the hypothesis test starts. The $$p$$-value is calculated from the data.References

Data from the National Institute of Mental Health. Available online at http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/depression.cfm .

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• Null and Alternative Hypotheses | Definitions & Examples

Null and Alternative Hypotheses | Definitions & Examples

Published on 5 October 2022 by Shaun Turney . Revised on 6 December 2022.

The null and alternative hypotheses are two competing claims that researchers weigh evidence for and against using a statistical test :

• Null hypothesis (H 0 ): There’s no effect in the population .
• Alternative hypothesis (H A ): There’s an effect in the population.

The effect is usually the effect of the independent variable on the dependent variable .

Answering your research question with hypotheses, what is a null hypothesis, what is an alternative hypothesis, differences between null and alternative hypotheses, how to write null and alternative hypotheses, frequently asked questions about null and alternative hypotheses.

The null and alternative hypotheses offer competing answers to your research question . When the research question asks “Does the independent variable affect the dependent variable?”, the null hypothesis (H 0 ) answers “No, there’s no effect in the population.” On the other hand, the alternative hypothesis (H A ) answers “Yes, there is an effect in the population.”

The null and alternative are always claims about the population. That’s because the goal of hypothesis testing is to make inferences about a population based on a sample . Often, we infer whether there’s an effect in the population by looking at differences between groups or relationships between variables in the sample.

You can use a statistical test to decide whether the evidence favors the null or alternative hypothesis. Each type of statistical test comes with a specific way of phrasing the null and alternative hypothesis. However, the hypotheses can also be phrased in a general way that applies to any test.

The null hypothesis is the claim that there’s no effect in the population.

If the sample provides enough evidence against the claim that there’s no effect in the population ( p ≤ α), then we can reject the null hypothesis . Otherwise, we fail to reject the null hypothesis.

Although “fail to reject” may sound awkward, it’s the only wording that statisticians accept. Be careful not to say you “prove” or “accept” the null hypothesis.

Null hypotheses often include phrases such as “no effect”, “no difference”, or “no relationship”. When written in mathematical terms, they always include an equality (usually =, but sometimes ≥ or ≤).

Examples of null hypotheses

The table below gives examples of research questions and null hypotheses. There’s always more than one way to answer a research question, but these null hypotheses can help you get started.

*Note that some researchers prefer to always write the null hypothesis in terms of “no effect” and “=”. It would be fine to say that daily meditation has no effect on the incidence of depression and p 1 = p 2 .

The alternative hypothesis (H A ) is the other answer to your research question . It claims that there’s an effect in the population.

Often, your alternative hypothesis is the same as your research hypothesis. In other words, it’s the claim that you expect or hope will be true.

The alternative hypothesis is the complement to the null hypothesis. Null and alternative hypotheses are exhaustive, meaning that together they cover every possible outcome. They are also mutually exclusive, meaning that only one can be true at a time.

Alternative hypotheses often include phrases such as “an effect”, “a difference”, or “a relationship”. When alternative hypotheses are written in mathematical terms, they always include an inequality (usually ≠, but sometimes > or <). As with null hypotheses, there are many acceptable ways to phrase an alternative hypothesis.

Examples of alternative hypotheses

The table below gives examples of research questions and alternative hypotheses to help you get started with formulating your own.

Null and alternative hypotheses are similar in some ways:

• They’re both answers to the research question
• They both make claims about the population
• They’re both evaluated by statistical tests.

However, there are important differences between the two types of hypotheses, summarized in the following table.

To help you write your hypotheses, you can use the template sentences below. If you know which statistical test you’re going to use, you can use the test-specific template sentences. Otherwise, you can use the general template sentences.

The only thing you need to know to use these general template sentences are your dependent and independent variables. To write your research question, null hypothesis, and alternative hypothesis, fill in the following sentences with your variables:

Does independent variable affect dependent variable ?

• Null hypothesis (H 0 ): Independent variable does not affect dependent variable .
• Alternative hypothesis (H A ): Independent variable affects dependent variable .

Test-specific

Once you know the statistical test you’ll be using, you can write your hypotheses in a more precise and mathematical way specific to the test you chose. The table below provides template sentences for common statistical tests.

Note: The template sentences above assume that you’re performing one-tailed tests . One-tailed tests are appropriate for most studies.

The null hypothesis is often abbreviated as H 0 . When the null hypothesis is written using mathematical symbols, it always includes an equality symbol (usually =, but sometimes ≥ or ≤).

The alternative hypothesis is often abbreviated as H a or H 1 . When the alternative hypothesis is written using mathematical symbols, it always includes an inequality symbol (usually ≠, but sometimes < or >).

A research hypothesis is your proposed answer to your research question. The research hypothesis usually includes an explanation (‘ x affects y because …’).

A statistical hypothesis, on the other hand, is a mathematical statement about a population parameter. Statistical hypotheses always come in pairs: the null and alternative hypotheses. In a well-designed study , the statistical hypotheses correspond logically to the research hypothesis.

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Turney, S. (2022, December 06). Null and Alternative Hypotheses | Definitions & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved 25 March 2024, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/stats/null-and-alternative-hypothesis/

Shaun Turney

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