S
TEPS
IN
S
TATISTICAL
H
YPOTHESIS
T
ESTING
Step 1:
State the null hypothesis, H
0
, and the alternative hypothesis, H
a
.
The alternative
hypothesis represents what the researcher is trying to prove.
The null hypothesis represents the
negation of what the researcher is trying to prove.
(In a criminal trial in the American justice
system, the null hypothesis is that the defendant is innocent; the alternative is that the defendant
is guilty; either the jury rejects the null hypothesis if they find that the prosecution has presented
convincing evidence, or the jury fails to reject the null hypothesis if they find that the
prosecution has not presented convincing evidence).
Step 2:
State the size(s) of the sample(s).
This represents the amount of evidence that is being
used to make a decision.
State the significance level,
α
, for the test.
The significance level is the
probability of making a Type I error.
A Type I error is a decision in favor of the alternative
hypothesis when, in fact, the null hypothesis is true.
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 Fall '10
 Staff
 Statistics, Null hypothesis, Statistical hypothesis testing, researcher, Type I and type II errors

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