9.1 Null and Alternative Hypotheses
The actual test begins by considering two hypotheses . They are called the null hypothesis and the alternative hypothesis . These hypotheses contain opposing viewpoints.
H 0 , the — null hypothesis: a statement of no difference between sample means or proportions or no difference between a sample mean or proportion and a population mean or proportion. In other words, the difference equals 0.
H a —, the alternative hypothesis: a claim about the population that is contradictory to H 0 and what we conclude when we reject H 0 .
Since the null and alternative hypotheses are contradictory, you must examine evidence to decide if you have enough evidence to reject the null hypothesis or not. The evidence is in the form of sample data.
After you have determined which hypothesis the sample supports, you make a decision. There are two options for a decision. They are reject H 0 if the sample information favors the alternative hypothesis or do not reject H 0 or decline to reject H 0 if the sample information is insufficient to reject the null hypothesis.
Mathematical Symbols Used in H 0 and H a :
equal (=)  not equal (≠) greater than (>) less than (<) 
greater than or equal to (≥)  less than (<) 
less than or equal to (≤)  more than (>) 
H 0 always has a symbol with an equal in it. H a never has a symbol with an equal in it. The choice of symbol depends on the wording of the hypothesis test. However, be aware that many researchers use = in the null hypothesis, even with > or < as the symbol in the alternative hypothesis. This practice is acceptable because we only make the decision to reject or not reject the null hypothesis.
Example 9.1
H 0 : No more than 30 percent of the registered voters in Santa Clara County voted in the primary election. p ≤ 30 H a : More than 30 percent of the registered voters in Santa Clara County voted in the primary election. p > 30
A medical trial is conducted to test whether or not a new medicine reduces cholesterol by 25 percent. State the null and alternative hypotheses.
Example 9.2
We want to test whether the mean GPA of students in American colleges is different from 2.0 (out of 4.0). The null and alternative hypotheses are the following: H 0 : μ = 2.0 H a : μ ≠ 2.0
We want to test whether the mean height of eighth graders is 66 inches. State the null and alternative hypotheses. Fill in the correct symbol (=, ≠, ≥, <, ≤, >) for the null and alternative hypotheses.
 H 0 : μ __ 66
 H a : μ __ 66
Example 9.3
We want to test if college students take fewer than five years to graduate from college, on the average. The null and alternative hypotheses are the following: H 0 : μ ≥ 5 H a : μ < 5
We want to test if it takes fewer than 45 minutes to teach a lesson plan. State the null and alternative hypotheses. Fill in the correct symbol ( =, ≠, ≥, <, ≤, >) for the null and alternative hypotheses.
 H 0 : μ __ 45
 H a : μ __ 45
Example 9.4
An article on school standards stated that about half of all students in France, Germany, and Israel take advanced placement exams and a third of the students pass. The same article stated that 6.6 percent of U.S. students take advanced placement exams and 4.4 percent pass. Test if the percentage of U.S. students who take advanced placement exams is more than 6.6 percent. State the null and alternative hypotheses. H 0 : p ≤ 0.066 H a : p > 0.066
On a state driver’s test, about 40 percent pass the test on the first try. We want to test if more than 40 percent pass on the first try. Fill in the correct symbol (=, ≠, ≥, <, ≤, >) for the null and alternative hypotheses.
 H 0 : p __ 0.40
 H a : p __ 0.40
Collaborative Exercise
Bring to class a newspaper, some news magazines, and some internet articles. In groups, find articles from which your group can write null and alternative hypotheses. Discuss your hypotheses with the rest of the class.
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Formulating a Null Hypothesis: Key Elements to Consider
The concept of the null hypothesis is a cornerstone of statistical hypothesis testing. In the article 'Formulating a Null Hypothesis: Key Elements to Consider,' we delve into what a null hypothesis is, why it's crucial for research, and how to properly formulate one. This article offers a comprehensive guide for researchers and students alike, providing the necessary tools to craft a null hypothesis that effectively sets the stage for rigorous scientific inquiry.
Key Takeaways
 A null hypothesis (H0) is a statement that there is no effect or no difference, and it serves as the starting point for statistical testing.
 Formulating a null hypothesis involves defining a clear and concise research question, stating the hypothesis in a way that allows for empirical testing, and considering the potential for Type I errors.
 Evaluating a null hypothesis requires understanding its role in research design, recognizing common misconceptions, and being aware of the challenges in crafting a hypothesis that is both testable and meaningful.
Understanding the Null Hypothesis
Defining the null hypothesis.
The null hypothesis , often represented as H0, is the default assumption that there is no effect or no difference in the context of scientific research. It posits a position of neutrality, suggesting that any observed variations in data are due to chance rather than a specific cause or intervention. Formulating a null hypothesis is a foundational step in hypothesis testing , where it is contrasted with an alternative hypothesis (Ha) that predicts an effect or difference.
Importance of the Null Hypothesis in Research
In the research process, the null hypothesis plays a critical role as it provides a benchmark against which the validity of the study's findings is assessed. It is essential for identifying variables, crafting clear hypotheses, and conducting targeted research that advances scientific knowledge. The research process involves revisiting initial assumptions , evaluating the design, considering alternative explanations, adjusting methodology, and addressing limitations when faced with contradictory data.
Common Misconceptions and Clarifications
There are several misconceptions about the null hypothesis that can lead to confusion. One common error is the belief that a failure to reject the null hypothesis is evidence of no effect, which is not necessarily true. It may simply indicate insufficient evidence to support the alternative hypothesis. Another misunderstanding is equating the null hypothesis with the belief that there is no relationship between variables, which overlooks the fact that it is a tool for statistical testing, not a definitive statement about reality.
Crafting the Null Hypothesis
Steps for formulating a null hypothesis.
When you're learning how to write a thesis or a research paper, formulating a null hypothesis is a critical step. Begin by clearly defining the variables or groups you are studying. Next, state the null hypothesis as a position of no effect or no difference, implying that any observed effect is due to chance. Ensure that your hypothesis is testable and measurable, and consider any potential limitations or biases that could affect the results.
Examples of Null Hypotheses in Various Disciplines
In various academic fields, the null hypothesis takes on different forms. For instance, in psychology, a null hypothesis might state that a new therapy has no effect on depression levels compared to the standard treatment. In ecology, it could assert that there is no significant difference in biodiversity between two protected areas. These examples illustrate how the null hypothesis is tailored to the specific research question and discipline.
Evaluating the Null Hypothesis: Considerations and Challenges
Evaluating the null hypothesis involves selecting appropriate statistical tests and determining the significance level. It's essential to understand the difference between statistical and practical significance . Writing anxiety can arise during this phase, especially when interpreting complex data. However, a systematic approach to hypothesis testing can help alleviate this stress and lead to meaningful research conclusions.
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In conclusion, formulating a null hypothesis is a fundamental step in the research process, serving as a critical benchmark against which scientific evidence is measured. A wellconstructed null hypothesis provides clarity and direction, allowing for rigorous testing and meaningful interpretation of results. It is essential to articulate the null hypothesis with precision, ensuring it is testable, falsifiable, and appropriately framed to reflect the absence of an effect or relationship. By carefully considering the key elements discussed in this article, researchers can establish a robust foundation for their empirical inquiries, ultimately contributing to the advancement of knowledge within their respective fields.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the null hypothesis in research.
The null hypothesis (H0) is a statement in research that suggests there is no significant effect or difference between certain populations, conditions, or variables. It is the default assumption that there is no relationship or impact, and it is tested to determine if there is evidence to support an alternative hypothesis.
How do you formulate a null hypothesis?
To formulate a null hypothesis, first identify the research question or problem. Then, state the null hypothesis in a way that it asserts no effect or no difference between groups or variables. It should be clear, specific, and testable, often structured as H0: parameter = value (e.g., H0: μ1 = μ2).
What are common challenges in evaluating the null hypothesis?
Challenges in evaluating the null hypothesis include ensuring the study design and data collection methods are appropriate, selecting the correct statistical test, interpreting the results correctly, and understanding the potential for Type I (false positive) and Type II (false negative) errors.
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Null Hypothesis Definition and Examples
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In a scientific experiment, the null hypothesis is the proposition that there is no effect or no relationship between phenomena or populations. If the null hypothesis is true, any observed difference in phenomena or populations would be due to sampling error (random chance) or experimental error. The null hypothesis is useful because it can be tested and found to be false, which then implies that there is a relationship between the observed data. It may be easier to think of it as a nullifiable hypothesis or one that the researcher seeks to nullify. The null hypothesis is also known as the H 0, or nodifference hypothesis.
The alternate hypothesis, H A or H 1 , proposes that observations are influenced by a nonrandom factor. In an experiment, the alternate hypothesis suggests that the experimental or independent variable has an effect on the dependent variable .
How to State a Null Hypothesis
There are two ways to state a null hypothesis. One is to state it as a declarative sentence, and the other is to present it as a mathematical statement.
For example, say a researcher suspects that exercise is correlated to weight loss, assuming diet remains unchanged. The average length of time to achieve a certain amount of weight loss is six weeks when a person works out five times a week. The researcher wants to test whether weight loss takes longer to occur if the number of workouts is reduced to three times a week.
The first step to writing the null hypothesis is to find the (alternate) hypothesis. In a word problem like this, you're looking for what you expect to be the outcome of the experiment. In this case, the hypothesis is "I expect weight loss to take longer than six weeks."
This can be written mathematically as: H 1 : μ > 6
In this example, μ is the average.
Now, the null hypothesis is what you expect if this hypothesis does not happen. In this case, if weight loss isn't achieved in greater than six weeks, then it must occur at a time equal to or less than six weeks. This can be written mathematically as:
H 0 : μ ≤ 6
The other way to state the null hypothesis is to make no assumption about the outcome of the experiment. In this case, the null hypothesis is simply that the treatment or change will have no effect on the outcome of the experiment. For this example, it would be that reducing the number of workouts would not affect the time needed to achieve weight loss:
H 0 : μ = 6
Null Hypothesis Examples
"Hyperactivity is unrelated to eating sugar " is an example of a null hypothesis. If the hypothesis is tested and found to be false, using statistics, then a connection between hyperactivity and sugar ingestion may be indicated. A significance test is the most common statistical test used to establish confidence in a null hypothesis.
Another example of a null hypothesis is "Plant growth rate is unaffected by the presence of cadmium in the soil ." A researcher could test the hypothesis by measuring the growth rate of plants grown in a medium lacking cadmium, compared with the growth rate of plants grown in mediums containing different amounts of cadmium. Disproving the null hypothesis would set the groundwork for further research into the effects of different concentrations of the element in soil.
Why Test a Null Hypothesis?
You may be wondering why you would want to test a hypothesis just to find it false. Why not just test an alternate hypothesis and find it true? The short answer is that it is part of the scientific method. In science, propositions are not explicitly "proven." Rather, science uses math to determine the probability that a statement is true or false. It turns out it's much easier to disprove a hypothesis than to positively prove one. Also, while the null hypothesis may be simply stated, there's a good chance the alternate hypothesis is incorrect.
For example, if your null hypothesis is that plant growth is unaffected by duration of sunlight, you could state the alternate hypothesis in several different ways. Some of these statements might be incorrect. You could say plants are harmed by more than 12 hours of sunlight or that plants need at least three hours of sunlight, etc. There are clear exceptions to those alternate hypotheses, so if you test the wrong plants, you could reach the wrong conclusion. The null hypothesis is a general statement that can be used to develop an alternate hypothesis, which may or may not be correct.
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What is The Null Hypothesis & When Do You Reject The Null Hypothesis
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On This Page:
A null hypothesis is a statistical concept suggesting no significant difference or relationship between measured variables. It’s the default assumption unless empirical evidence proves otherwise.
The null hypothesis states no relationship exists between the two variables being studied (i.e., one variable does not affect the other).
The null hypothesis is the statement that a researcher or an investigator wants to disprove.
Testing the null hypothesis can tell you whether your results are due to the effects of manipulating the dependent variable or due to random chance.
How to Write a Null Hypothesis
Null hypotheses (H0) start as research questions that the investigator rephrases as statements indicating no effect or relationship between the independent and dependent variables.
It is a default position that your research aims to challenge or confirm.
For example, if studying the impact of exercise on weight loss, your null hypothesis might be:
There is no significant difference in weight loss between individuals who exercise daily and those who do not.
Examples of Null Hypotheses
Research Question  Null Hypothesis 

Do teenagers use cell phones more than adults?  Teenagers and adults use cell phones the same amount. 
Do tomato plants exhibit a higher rate of growth when planted in compost rather than in soil?  Tomato plants show no difference in growth rates when planted in compost rather than soil. 
Does daily meditation decrease the incidence of depression?  Daily meditation does not decrease the incidence of depression. 
Does daily exercise increase test performance?  There is no relationship between daily exercise time and test performance. 
Does the new vaccine prevent infections?  The vaccine does not affect the infection rate. 
Does flossing your teeth affect the number of cavities?  Flossing your teeth has no effect on the number of cavities. 
When Do We Reject The Null Hypothesis?
We reject the null hypothesis when the data provide strong enough evidence to conclude that it is likely incorrect. This often occurs when the pvalue (probability of observing the data given the null hypothesis is true) is below a predetermined significance level.
If the collected data does not meet the expectation of the null hypothesis, a researcher can conclude that the data lacks sufficient evidence to back up the null hypothesis, and thus the null hypothesis is rejected.
Rejecting the null hypothesis means that a relationship does exist between a set of variables and the effect is statistically significant ( p > 0.05).
If the data collected from the random sample is not statistically significance , then the null hypothesis will be accepted, and the researchers can conclude that there is no relationship between the variables.
You need to perform a statistical test on your data in order to evaluate how consistent it is with the null hypothesis. A pvalue is one statistical measurement used to validate a hypothesis against observed data.
Calculating the pvalue is a critical part of nullhypothesis significance testing because it quantifies how strongly the sample data contradicts the null hypothesis.
The level of statistical significance is often expressed as a p value between 0 and 1. The smaller the pvalue, the stronger the evidence that you should reject the null hypothesis.
Usually, a researcher uses a confidence level of 95% or 99% (pvalue of 0.05 or 0.01) as general guidelines to decide if you should reject or keep the null.
When your pvalue is less than or equal to your significance level, you reject the null hypothesis.
In other words, smaller pvalues are taken as stronger evidence against the null hypothesis. Conversely, when the pvalue is greater than your significance level, you fail to reject the null hypothesis.
In this case, the sample data provides insufficient data to conclude that the effect exists in the population.
Because you can never know with complete certainty whether there is an effect in the population, your inferences about a population will sometimes be incorrect.
When you incorrectly reject the null hypothesis, it’s called a type I error. When you incorrectly fail to reject it, it’s called a type II error.
Why Do We Never Accept The Null Hypothesis?
The reason we do not say “accept the null” is because we are always assuming the null hypothesis is true and then conducting a study to see if there is evidence against it. And, even if we don’t find evidence against it, a null hypothesis is not accepted.
A lack of evidence only means that you haven’t proven that something exists. It does not prove that something doesn’t exist.
It is risky to conclude that the null hypothesis is true merely because we did not find evidence to reject it. It is always possible that researchers elsewhere have disproved the null hypothesis, so we cannot accept it as true, but instead, we state that we failed to reject the null.
One can either reject the null hypothesis, or fail to reject it, but can never accept it.
Why Do We Use The Null Hypothesis?
We can never prove with 100% certainty that a hypothesis is true; We can only collect evidence that supports a theory. However, testing a hypothesis can set the stage for rejecting or accepting this hypothesis within a certain confidence level.
The null hypothesis is useful because it can tell us whether the results of our study are due to random chance or the manipulation of a variable (with a certain level of confidence).
A null hypothesis is rejected if the measured data is significantly unlikely to have occurred and a null hypothesis is accepted if the observed outcome is consistent with the position held by the null hypothesis.
Rejecting the null hypothesis sets the stage for further experimentation to see if a relationship between two variables exists.
Hypothesis testing is a critical part of the scientific method as it helps decide whether the results of a research study support a particular theory about a given population. Hypothesis testing is a systematic way of backing up researchers’ predictions with statistical analysis.
It helps provide sufficient statistical evidence that either favors or rejects a certain hypothesis about the population parameter.
Purpose of a Null Hypothesis
 The primary purpose of the null hypothesis is to disprove an assumption.
 Whether rejected or accepted, the null hypothesis can help further progress a theory in many scientific cases.
 A null hypothesis can be used to ascertain how consistent the outcomes of multiple studies are.
Do you always need both a Null Hypothesis and an Alternative Hypothesis?
The null (H0) and alternative (Ha or H1) hypotheses are two competing claims that describe the effect of the independent variable on the dependent variable. They are mutually exclusive, which means that only one of the two hypotheses can be true.
While the null hypothesis states that there is no effect in the population, an alternative hypothesis states that there is statistical significance between two variables.
The goal of hypothesis testing is to make inferences about a population based on a sample. In order to undertake hypothesis testing, you must express your research hypothesis as a null and alternative hypothesis. Both hypotheses are required to cover every possible outcome of the study.
What is the difference between a null hypothesis and an alternative hypothesis?
The alternative hypothesis is the complement to the null hypothesis. The null hypothesis states that there is no effect or no relationship between variables, while the alternative hypothesis claims that there is an effect or relationship in the population.
It is the claim that you expect or hope will be true. The null hypothesis and the alternative hypothesis are always mutually exclusive, meaning that only one can be true at a time.
What are some problems with the null hypothesis?
One major problem with the null hypothesis is that researchers typically will assume that accepting the null is a failure of the experiment. However, accepting or rejecting any hypothesis is a positive result. Even if the null is not refuted, the researchers will still learn something new.
Why can a null hypothesis not be accepted?
We can either reject or fail to reject a null hypothesis, but never accept it. If your test fails to detect an effect, this is not proof that the effect doesn’t exist. It just means that your sample did not have enough evidence to conclude that it exists.
We can’t accept a null hypothesis because a lack of evidence does not prove something that does not exist. Instead, we fail to reject it.
Failing to reject the null indicates that the sample did not provide sufficient enough evidence to conclude that an effect exists.
If the pvalue is greater than the significance level, then you fail to reject the null hypothesis.
Is a null hypothesis directional or nondirectional?
A hypothesis test can either contain an alternative directional hypothesis or a nondirectional alternative hypothesis. A directional hypothesis is one that contains the less than (“<“) or greater than (“>”) sign.
A nondirectional hypothesis contains the not equal sign (“≠”). However, a null hypothesis is neither directional nor nondirectional.
A null hypothesis is a prediction that there will be no change, relationship, or difference between two variables.
The directional hypothesis or nondirectional hypothesis would then be considered alternative hypotheses to the null hypothesis.
Gill, J. (1999). The insignificance of null hypothesis significance testing. Political research quarterly , 52 (3), 647674.
Krueger, J. (2001). Null hypothesis significance testing: On the survival of a flawed method. American Psychologist , 56 (1), 16.
Masson, M. E. (2011). A tutorial on a practical Bayesian alternative to nullhypothesis significance testing. Behavior research methods , 43 , 679690.
Nickerson, R. S. (2000). Null hypothesis significance testing: a review of an old and continuing controversy. Psychological methods , 5 (2), 241.
Rozeboom, W. W. (1960). The fallacy of the nullhypothesis significance test. Psychological bulletin , 57 (5), 416.
Module 9: Hypothesis Testing With One Sample
Null and alternative hypotheses, learning outcomes.
 Describe hypothesis testing in general and in practice
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 about the population that either is believed to be true or is used to put forth an argument unless it can be shown to be incorrect beyond a reasonable doubt.
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 .
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 adecision. There are two options for a decision . They are “reject H 0 ” if the sample information favors the alternative hypothesis or “do not reject H 0 ” or “decline to reject H 0 ” if the sample information is insufficient to reject the null hypothesis.
Mathematical Symbols Used in H 0 and H a :
equal (=)  not equal (≠) greater than (>) less than (<) 
greater than or equal to (≥)  less than (<) 
less than or equal to (≤)  more than (>) 
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 coauthors 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.
H 0 : No more than 30% of the registered voters in Santa Clara County voted in the primary election. p ≤ 30
H a : More than 30% of the registered voters in Santa Clara County voted in the primary election. p > 30
A medical trial is conducted to test whether or not a new medicine reduces cholesterol by 25%. 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 ≠ 0.25
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 : μ = 2.0
H a : μ ≠ 2.0
We want to test whether the mean height of eighth graders is 66 inches. State the null and alternative hypotheses. Fill in the correct symbol (=, ≠, ≥, <, ≤, >) for the null and alternative hypotheses. H 0 : μ __ 66 H a : μ __ 66
 H 0 : μ = 66
 H a : μ ≠ 66
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 : μ ≥ 5
H a : μ < 5
We want to test if it takes fewer than 45 minutes to teach a lesson plan. State the null and alternative hypotheses. Fill in the correct symbol ( =, ≠, ≥, <, ≤, >) for the null and alternative hypotheses. H 0 : μ __ 45 H a : μ __ 45
 H 0 : μ ≥ 45
 H a : μ < 45
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 ≤ 0.066
H a : p > 0.066
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 (=, ≠, ≥, <, ≤, >) 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
Concept Review
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 (=, ≤ or ≥) Always write the alternative hypothesis , typically denoted with H a or H 1 , using less than, greater than, or not equals symbols, i.e., (≠, >, 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 nonabsolute certainties.
Formula Review
H 0 and H a are contradictory.
 OpenStax, Statistics, Null and Alternative Hypotheses. Provided by : OpenStax. Located at : http://cnx.org/contents/[email protected]:58/Introductory_Statistics . License : CC BY: Attribution
 Introductory Statistics . Authored by : Barbara Illowski, Susan Dean. Provided by : Open Stax. Located at : http://cnx.org/contents/[email protected] . License : CC BY: Attribution . License Terms : Download for free at http://cnx.org/contents/[email protected]
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 Math Article
Null Hypothesis
In mathematics, Statistics deals with the study of research and surveys on the numerical data. For taking surveys, we have to define the hypothesis. Generally, there are two types of hypothesis. One is a null hypothesis, and another is an alternative hypothesis .
In probability and statistics, the null hypothesis is a comprehensive statement or default status that there is zero happening or nothing happening. For example, there is no connection among groups or no association between two measured events. It is generally assumed here that the hypothesis is true until any other proof has been brought into the light to deny the hypothesis. Let us learn more here with definition, symbol, principle, types and example, in this article.
Table of contents:
 Comparison with Alternative Hypothesis
Null Hypothesis Definition
The null hypothesis is a kind of hypothesis which explains the population parameter whose purpose is to test the validity of the given experimental data. This hypothesis is either rejected or not rejected based on the viability of the given population or sample . In other words, the null hypothesis is a hypothesis in which the sample observations results from the chance. It is said to be a statement in which the surveyors wants to examine the data. It is denoted by H 0 .
Null Hypothesis Symbol
In statistics, the null hypothesis is usually denoted by letter H with subscript ‘0’ (zero), such that H 0 . It is pronounced as Hnull or Hzero or Hnought. At the same time, the alternative hypothesis expresses the observations determined by the nonrandom cause. It is represented by H 1 or H a .
Null Hypothesis Principle
The principle followed for null hypothesis testing is, collecting the data and determining the chances of a given set of data during the study on some random sample, assuming that the null hypothesis is true. In case if the given data does not face the expected null hypothesis, then the outcome will be quite weaker, and they conclude by saying that the given set of data does not provide strong evidence against the null hypothesis because of insufficient evidence. Finally, the researchers tend to reject that.
Null Hypothesis Formula
Here, the hypothesis test formulas are given below for reference.
The formula for the null hypothesis is:
H 0 : p = p 0
The formula for the alternative hypothesis is:
H a = p >p 0 , < p 0 ≠ p 0
The formula for the test static is:
Remember that, p 0 is the null hypothesis and p – hat is the sample proportion.
Also, read:
Types of Null Hypothesis
There are different types of hypothesis. They are:
Simple Hypothesis
It completely specifies the population distribution. In this method, the sampling distribution is the function of the sample size.
Composite Hypothesis
The composite hypothesis is one that does not completely specify the population distribution.
Exact Hypothesis
Exact hypothesis defines the exact value of the parameter. For example μ= 50
Inexact Hypothesis
This type of hypothesis does not define the exact value of the parameter. But it denotes a specific range or interval. For example 45< μ <60
Null Hypothesis Rejection
Sometimes the null hypothesis is rejected too. If this hypothesis is rejected means, that research could be invalid. Many researchers will neglect this hypothesis as it is merely opposite to the alternate hypothesis. It is a better practice to create a hypothesis and test it. The goal of researchers is not to reject the hypothesis. But it is evident that a perfect statistical model is always associated with the failure to reject the null hypothesis.
How do you Find the Null Hypothesis?
The null hypothesis says there is no correlation between the measured event (the dependent variable) and the independent variable. We don’t have to believe that the null hypothesis is true to test it. On the contrast, you will possibly assume that there is a connection between a set of variables ( dependent and independent).
When is Null Hypothesis Rejected?
The null hypothesis is rejected using the Pvalue approach. If the Pvalue is less than or equal to the α, there should be a rejection of the null hypothesis in favour of the alternate hypothesis. In case, if Pvalue is greater than α, the null hypothesis is not rejected.
Null Hypothesis and Alternative Hypothesis
Now, let us discuss the difference between the null hypothesis and the alternative hypothesis.

 
1  The null hypothesis is a statement. There exists no relation between two variables  Alternative hypothesis a statement, there exists some relationship between two measured phenomenon 
2  Denoted by H  Denoted by H 
3  The observations of this hypothesis are the result of chance  The observations of this hypothesis are the result of real effect 
4  The mathematical formulation of the null hypothesis is an equal sign  The mathematical formulation alternative hypothesis is an inequality sign such as greater than, less than, etc. 
Null Hypothesis Examples
Here, some of the examples of the null hypothesis are given below. Go through the below ones to understand the concept of the null hypothesis in a better way.
If a medicine reduces the risk of cardiac stroke, then the null hypothesis should be “the medicine does not reduce the chance of cardiac stroke”. This testing can be performed by the administration of a drug to a certain group of people in a controlled way. If the survey shows that there is a significant change in the people, then the hypothesis is rejected.
Few more examples are:
1). Are there is 100% chance of getting affected by dengue?
Ans: There could be chances of getting affected by dengue but not 100%.
2). Do teenagers are using mobile phones more than grownups to access the internet?
Ans: Age has no limit on using mobile phones to access the internet.
3). Does having apple daily will not cause fever?
Ans: Having apple daily does not assure of not having fever, but increases the immunity to fight against such diseases.
4). Do the children more good in doing mathematical calculations than grownups?
Ans: Age has no effect on Mathematical skills.
In many common applications, the choice of the null hypothesis is not automated, but the testing and calculations may be automated. Also, the choice of the null hypothesis is completely based on previous experiences and inconsistent advice. The choice can be more complicated and based on the variety of applications and the diversity of the objectives.
The main limitation for the choice of the null hypothesis is that the hypothesis suggested by the data is based on the reasoning which proves nothing. It means that if some hypothesis provides a summary of the data set, then there would be no value in the testing of the hypothesis on the particular set of data.
Frequently Asked Questions on Null Hypothesis
What is meant by the null hypothesis.
In Statistics, a null hypothesis is a type of hypothesis which explains the population parameter whose purpose is to test the validity of the given experimental data.
What are the benefits of hypothesis testing?
Hypothesis testing is defined as a form of inferential statistics, which allows making conclusions from the entire population based on the sample representative.
When a null hypothesis is accepted and rejected?
The null hypothesis is either accepted or rejected in terms of the given data. If Pvalue is less than α, then the null hypothesis is rejected in favor of the alternative hypothesis, and if the Pvalue is greater than α, then the null hypothesis is accepted in favor of the alternative hypothesis.
Why is the null hypothesis important?
The importance of the null hypothesis is that it provides an approximate description of the phenomena of the given data. It allows the investigators to directly test the relational statement in a research study.
How to accept or reject the null hypothesis in the chisquare test?
If the result of the chisquare test is bigger than the critical value in the table, then the data does not fit the model, which represents the rejection of the null hypothesis.
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1.2  the 7 step process of statistical hypothesis testing.
We will cover the seven steps one by one.
Step 1: State the Null Hypothesis
The null hypothesis can be thought of as the opposite of the "guess" the researchers made. In the example presented in the previous section, the biologist "guesses" plant height will be different for the various fertilizers. So the null hypothesis would be that there will be no difference among the groups of plants. Specifically, in more statistical language the null for an ANOVA is that the means are the same. We state the null hypothesis as:
\(H_0 \colon \mu_1 = \mu_2 = ⋯ = \mu_T\)
for T levels of an experimental treatment.
Step 2: State the Alternative Hypothesis
\(H_A \colon \text{ treatment level means not all equal}\)
The alternative hypothesis is stated in this way so that if the null is rejected, there are many alternative possibilities.
For example, \(\mu_1\ne \mu_2 = ⋯ = \mu_T\) is one possibility, as is \(\mu_1=\mu_2\ne\mu_3= ⋯ =\mu_T\). Many people make the mistake of stating the alternative hypothesis as \(\mu_1\ne\mu_2\ne⋯\ne\mu_T\) which says that every mean differs from every other mean. This is a possibility, but only one of many possibilities. A simple way of thinking about this is that at least one mean is different from all others. To cover all alternative outcomes, we resort to a verbal statement of "not all equal" and then follow up with mean comparisons to find out where differences among means exist. In our example, a possible outcome would be that fertilizer 1 results in plants that are exceptionally tall, but fertilizers 2, 3, and the control group may not differ from one another.
Step 3: Set \(\alpha\)
If we look at what can happen in a hypothesis test, we can construct the following contingency table:
Decision  In Reality  

\(H_0\) is TRUE  \(H_0\) is FALSE  
Accept \(H_0\)  correct  Type II Error \(\beta\) = probability of Type II Error 
Reject \(H_0\)  Type I Error  correct 
You should be familiar with Type I and Type II errors from your introductory courses. It is important to note that we want to set \(\alpha\) before the experiment ( apriori ) because the Type I error is the more grievous error to make. The typical value of \(\alpha\) is 0.05, establishing a 95% confidence level. For this course, we will assume \(\alpha\) =0.05, unless stated otherwise.
Step 4: Collect Data
Remember the importance of recognizing whether data is collected through an experimental design or observational study.
Step 5: Calculate a test statistic
For categorical treatment level means, we use an F statistic, named after R.A. Fisher. We will explore the mechanics of computing the F statistic beginning in Lesson 2. The F value we get from the data is labeled \(F_{\text{calculated}}\).
Step 6: Construct Acceptance / Rejection regions
As with all other test statistics, a threshold (critical) value of F is established. This F value can be obtained from statistical tables or software and is referred to as \(F_{\text{critical}}\) or \(F_\alpha\). As a reminder, this critical value is the minimum value of the test statistic (in this case \(F_{\text{calculated}}\)) for us to reject the null.
The F distribution, \(F_\alpha\), and the location of acceptance/rejection regions are shown in the graph below:
Step 7: Based on Steps 5 and 6, draw a conclusion about \(H_0\)
If \(F_{\text{calculated}}\) is larger than \(F_\alpha\), then you are in the rejection region and you can reject the null hypothesis with \(\left(1\alpha \right)\) level of confidence.
Note that modern statistical software condenses Steps 6 and 7 by providing a p value. The p value here is the probability of getting an \(F_{\text{calculated}}\) even greater than what you observe assuming the null hypothesis is true. If by chance, the \(F_{\text{calculated}} = F_\alpha\), then the p value would be exactly equal to \(\alpha\). With larger \(F_{\text{calculated}}\) values, we move further into the rejection region and the p value becomes less than \(\alpha\). So, the decision rule is as follows:
If the p value obtained from the ANOVA is less than \(\alpha\), then reject \(H_0\) in favor of \(H_A\).
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What Is a Null Hypothesis?
The alternative hypothesis.
 Additional Examples
 Null Hypothesis and Investments
The Bottom Line
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Null Hypothesis: What Is It, and How Is It Used in Investing?
Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance. Adam received his master's in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of WisconsinMadison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
A null hypothesis is a type of statistical hypothesis that proposes that no statistical significance exists in a set of given observations. Hypothesis testing is used to assess the credibility of a hypothesis by using sample data. Sometimes referred to simply as the “null,” it is represented as H 0 .
The null hypothesis, also known as “the conjecture,” is used in quantitative analysis to test theories about markets, investing strategies, and economies to decide if an idea is true or false.
Key Takeaways
 A null hypothesis is a type of conjecture in statistics that proposes that there is no difference between certain characteristics of a population or datagenerating process.
 The alternative hypothesis proposes that there is a difference.
 Hypothesis testing provides a method to reject a null hypothesis within a certain confidence level.
 If you can reject the null hypothesis, it provides support for the alternative hypothesis.
 Null hypothesis testing is the basis of the principle of falsification in science.
Alex Dos Diaz / Investopedia
Understanding a Null Hypothesis
A gambler may be interested in whether a game of chance is fair. If it is, then the expected earnings per play come to zero for both players. If it is not, then the expected earnings are positive for one player and negative for the other.
To test whether the game is fair, the gambler collects earnings data from many repetitions of the game, calculates the average earnings from these data, then tests the null hypothesis that the expected earnings are not different from zero.
If the average earnings from the sample data are sufficiently far from zero, then the gambler will reject the null hypothesis and conclude the alternative hypothesis—namely, that the expected earnings per play are different from zero. If the average earnings from the sample data are near zero, then the gambler will not reject the null hypothesis, concluding instead that the difference between the average from the data and zero is explainable by chance alone.
A null hypothesis can only be rejected, not proven.
The null hypothesis assumes that any kind of difference between the chosen characteristics that you see in a set of data is due to chance. For example, if the expected earnings for the gambling game are truly equal to zero, then any difference between the average earnings in the data and zero is due to chance.
Analysts look to reject the null hypothesis because doing so is a strong conclusion. This requires evidence in the form of an observed difference that is too large to be explained solely by chance. Failing to reject the null hypothesis—that the results are explainable by chance alone—is a weak conclusion because it allows that while factors other than chance may be at work, they may not be strong enough for the statistical test to detect them.
An important point to note is that we are testing the null hypothesis because there is an element of doubt about its validity. Whatever information that is against the stated null hypothesis is captured in the alternative (alternate) hypothesis (H 1 ).
For the examples below, the alternative hypothesis would be:
 Students score an average that is not equal to seven.
 The mean annual return of a mutual fund is not equal to 8% per year.
In other words, the alternative hypothesis is a direct contradiction of the null hypothesis.
Null Hypothesis Examples
Here is a simple example: A school principal claims that students in her school score an average of seven out of 10 in exams. The null hypothesis is that the population mean is not 7.0. To test this null hypothesis, we record marks of, say, 30 students ( sample ) from the entire student population of the school (say, 300) and calculate the mean of that sample.
We can then compare the (calculated) sample mean to the (hypothesized) population mean of 7.0 and attempt to reject the null hypothesis. (The null hypothesis here—that the population mean is not 7.0—cannot be proved using the sample data. It can only be rejected.)
Take another example: The annual return of a particular mutual fund is claimed to be 8%. Assume that the mutual fund has been in existence for 20 years. The null hypothesis is that the mean return is not 8% for the mutual fund. We take a random sample of annual returns of the mutual fund for, say, five years (sample) and calculate the sample mean. We then compare the (calculated) sample mean to the (claimed) population mean (8%) to test the null hypothesis.
For the above examples, null hypotheses are:
 Example A: Students in the school don’t score an average of seven out of 10 in exams.
 Example B: The mean annual return of the mutual fund is not 8% per year.
For the purposes of determining whether to reject the null hypothesis (abbreviated H0), said hypothesis is assumed, for the sake of argument, to be true. Then the likely range of possible values of the calculated statistic (e.g., the average score on 30 students’ tests) is determined under this presumption (e.g., the range of plausible averages might range from 6.2 to 7.8 if the population mean is 7.0).
If the sample average is outside of this range, the null hypothesis is rejected. Otherwise, the difference is said to be “explainable by chance alone,” being within the range that is determined by chance alone.
How Null Hypothesis Testing Is Used in Investments
As an example related to financial markets, assume Alice sees that her investment strategy produces higher average returns than simply buying and holding a stock . The null hypothesis states that there is no difference between the two average returns, and Alice is inclined to believe this until she can conclude contradictory results.
Refuting the null hypothesis would require showing statistical significance, which can be found by a variety of tests. The alternative hypothesis would state that the investment strategy has a higher average return than a traditional buyandhold strategy.
One tool that can determine the statistical significance of the results is the pvalue. A pvalue represents the probability that a difference as large or larger than the observed difference between the two average returns could occur solely by chance.
A pvalue that is less than or equal to 0.05 often indicates whether there is evidence against the null hypothesis. If Alice conducts one of these tests, such as a test using the normal model, resulting in a significant difference between her returns and the buyandhold returns (the pvalue is less than or equal to 0.05), she can then reject the null hypothesis and conclude the alternative hypothesis.
How Is the Null Hypothesis Identified?
The analyst or researcher establishes a null hypothesis based on the research question or problem they are trying to answer. Depending on the question, the null may be identified differently. For example, if the question is simply whether an effect exists (e.g., does X influence Y?), the null hypothesis could be H 0 : X = 0. If the question is instead, is X the same as Y, the H 0 would be X = Y. If it is that the effect of X on Y is positive, H 0 would be X > 0. If the resulting analysis shows an effect that is statistically significantly different from zero, the null can be rejected.
How Is Null Hypothesis Used in Finance?
In finance , a null hypothesis is used in quantitative analysis. It tests the premise of an investing strategy, the markets, or an economy to determine if it is true or false.
For instance, an analyst may want to see if two stocks, ABC and XYZ, are closely correlated. The null hypothesis would be ABC ≠ XYZ.
How Are Statistical Hypotheses Tested?
Statistical hypotheses are tested by a fourstep process . The first is for the analyst to state the two hypotheses so that only one can be right. The second is to formulate an analysis plan, which outlines how the data will be evaluated. The third is to carry out the plan and physically analyze the sample data. The fourth and final step is to analyze the results and either reject the null hypothesis or claim that the observed differences are explainable by chance alone.
What Is an Alternative Hypothesis?
An alternative hypothesis is a direct contradiction of a null hypothesis. This means that if one of the two hypotheses is true, the other is false.
A null hypothesis states there is no difference between groups or relationship between variables. It is a type of statistical hypothesis and proposes that no statistical significance exists in a set of given observations. “Null” means nothing.
The null hypothesis is used in quantitative analysis to test theories about economies, investing strategies, and markets to decide if an idea is true or false. Hypothesis testing assesses the credibility of a hypothesis by using sample data. It is represented as H 0 and is sometimes simply known as “the null.”
Sage Publishing. “ Chapter 8: Introduction to Hypothesis Testing ,” Page 4.
Sage Publishing. “ Chapter 8: Introduction to Hypothesis Testing ,” Pages 4 to 7.
Sage Publishing. “ Chapter 8: Introduction to Hypothesis Testing ,” Page 7.
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Example 1: Weight of Turtles. A biologist wants to test whether or not the true mean weight of a certain species of turtles is 300 pounds. To test this, he goes out and measures the weight of a random sample of 40 turtles. Here is how to write the null and alternative hypotheses for this scenario: H0: μ = 300 (the true mean weight is equal to ...
When your sample contains sufficient evidence, you can reject the null and conclude that the effect is statistically significant. Statisticians often denote the null hypothesis as H 0 or H A.. Null Hypothesis H 0: No effect exists in the population.; Alternative Hypothesis H A: The effect exists in the population.; In every study or experiment, researchers assess an effect or relationship.
Write a statistical null hypothesis as a mathematical equation, such as. μ 1 = μ 2 {\displaystyle \mu _ {1}=\mu _ {2}} if you're comparing group means. Adjust the format of your null hypothesis to match the statistical method you used to test it, such as using "mean" if you're comparing the mean between 2 groups.
Null hypothesis (H 0): Independent variable does not affect dependent variable. Alternative hypothesis (H a): Independent variable affects dependent variable. Testspecific template sentences. 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 ...
Step 1: Figure out the hypothesis from the problem. The hypothesis is usually hidden in a word problem, and is sometimes a statement of what you expect to happen in the experiment. The hypothesis in the above question is "I expect the average recovery period to be greater than 8.2 weeks.". Step 2: Convert the hypothesis to math.
Table of contents. Step 1: State your null and alternate hypothesis. Step 2: Collect data. Step 3: Perform a statistical test. Step 4: Decide whether to reject or fail to reject your null hypothesis. Step 5: Present your findings. Other interesting articles. Frequently asked questions about hypothesis testing.
The actual test begins by considering two hypotheses.They are called the null hypothesis and the alternative hypothesis.These hypotheses contain opposing viewpoints. H 0, the —null hypothesis: a statement of no difference between sample means or proportions or no difference between a sample mean or proportion and a population mean or proportion. In other words, the difference equals 0.
To distinguish it from other hypotheses, the null hypothesis is written as H 0 (which is read as "Hnought," "Hnull," or "Hzero"). 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% or 99% is common. Keep in mind, even if the confidence level is high, there is still a small chance the ...
The null hypothesis and the alternative hypothesis are types of conjectures used in statistical tests to make statistical inferences, which are formal methods of reaching conclusions and separating scientific claims from statistical noise.. The statement being tested in a test of statistical significance is called the null hypothesis. The test of significance is designed to assess the strength ...
This null hypothesis can be written as: H0: μobese −μaverage = 0 (8.3.1) (8.3.1) H 0: μ o b e s e − μ a v e r a g e = 0. In words, the null hypothesis should be written in the format: There is no difference between the time spent with obese patients and the time spent with averageweight patients. The null hypothesis in a correlational ...
5.2  Writing Hypotheses. The first step in conducting a hypothesis test is to write the hypothesis statements that are going to be tested. For each test you will have a null hypothesis ( H 0) and an alternative hypothesis ( H a ). Null Hypothesis. The statement that there is not a difference in the population (s), denoted as H 0.
The null hypothesis is the statement of no change (the dull hypothesis). In this context, the proportion of coin spins that land tails up is 50% (the same as flipping a penny). In mathematical symbols, \(H_0: p=0.5\) Daquan's claim is what we call the alternative hypothesis. The proportion of coin spins that land tails up is actually more than ...
Review. 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.
To formulate a null hypothesis, first identify the research question or problem. Then, state the null hypothesis in a way that it asserts no effect or no difference between groups or variables. It should be clear, specific, and testable, often structured as H0: parameter = value (e.g., H0: μ1 = μ2).
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.
Null Hypothesis Examples. "Hyperactivity is unrelated to eating sugar " is an example of a null hypothesis. If the hypothesis is tested and found to be false, using statistics, then a connection between hyperactivity and sugar ingestion may be indicated. A significance test is the most common statistical test used to establish confidence in a ...
10.1  Setting the Hypotheses: Examples. A significance test examines whether the null hypothesis provides a plausible explanation of the data. The null hypothesis itself does not involve the data. It is a statement about a parameter (a numerical characteristic of the population). These population values might be proportions or means or ...
When your pvalue is less than or equal to your significance level, you reject the null hypothesis. In other words, smaller pvalues are taken as stronger evidence against the null hypothesis. Conversely, when the pvalue is greater than your significance level, you fail to reject the null hypothesis. In this case, the sample data provides ...
Concept Review. 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.
Step 1: State Null and Alternative Hypotheses. Null Hypothesis: Population mean weight of medium fries = 135 grams. Alternative Hypothesis: Population mean weight of medium fries < 135 grams. Step 2: Collect and summarize the data so that a test statistic can be calculated. The sample mean weight was 130 grams.
It is the opposite of your research hypothesis. The alternative hypothesisthat is, the research hypothesisis the idea, phenomenon, observation that you want to prove. If you suspect that girls take longer to get ready for school than boys, then: Alternative: girls time > boys time. Null: girls time <= boys time.
Here, the hypothesis test formulas are given below for reference. The formula for the null hypothesis is: H 0 : p = p 0. The formula for the alternative hypothesis is: H a = p >p 0, < p 0 ≠ p 0. The formula for the test static is: Remember that, p 0 is the null hypothesis and p  hat is the sample proportion.
Step 7: Based on Steps 5 and 6, draw a conclusion about H 0. If F calculated is larger than F α, then you are in the rejection region and you can reject the null hypothesis with ( 1 − α) level of confidence. Note that modern statistical software condenses Steps 6 and 7 by providing a p value. The p value here is the probability of getting ...
Null Hypothesis: A null hypothesis is a type of hypothesis used in statistics that proposes that no statistical significance exists in a set of given observations. The null hypothesis attempts to ...