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How to Write a Null Hypothesis (5 Examples)

A hypothesis test uses sample data to determine whether or not some claim about a population parameter is true.

Whenever we perform a hypothesis test, we always write a null hypothesis and an alternative hypothesis, which take the following forms:

H 0 (Null Hypothesis): Population parameter =,  ≤, ≥ some value

H A  (Alternative Hypothesis): Population parameter <, >, ≠ some value

Note that the null hypothesis always contains the equal sign .

We interpret the hypotheses as follows:

Null hypothesis: The sample data provides no evidence to support some claim being made by an individual.

Alternative hypothesis: The sample data  does provide sufficient evidence to support the claim being made by an individual.

For example, suppose it’s assumed that the average height of a certain species of plant is 20 inches tall. However, one botanist claims the true average height is greater than 20 inches.

To test this claim, she may go out and collect a random sample of plants. She can then use this sample data to perform a hypothesis test using the following two hypotheses:

H 0 : μ ≤ 20 (the true mean height of plants is equal to or even less than 20 inches)

H A : μ > 20 (the true mean height of plants is greater than 20 inches)

If the sample data gathered by the botanist shows that the mean height of this species of plants is significantly greater than 20 inches, she can reject the null hypothesis and conclude that the mean height is greater than 20 inches.

Read through the following examples to gain a better understanding of how to write a null hypothesis in different situations.

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:

H 0 : μ = 300 (the true mean weight is equal to 300 pounds)

H A : μ ≠ 300 (the true mean weight is not equal to 300 pounds)

Example 2: Height of Males

It’s assumed that the mean height of males in a certain city is 68 inches. However, an independent researcher believes the true mean height is greater than 68 inches. To test this, he goes out and collects the height of 50 males in the city.

H 0 : μ ≤ 68 (the true mean height is equal to or even less than 68 inches)

H A : μ > 68 (the true mean height is greater than 68 inches)

Example 3: Graduation Rates

A university states that 80% of all students graduate on time. However, an independent researcher believes that less than 80% of all students graduate on time. To test this, she collects data on the proportion of students who graduated on time last year at the university.

H 0 : p ≥ 0.80 (the true proportion of students who graduate on time is 80% or higher)

H A : μ < 0.80 (the true proportion of students who graduate on time is less than 80%)

Example 4: Burger Weights

A food researcher wants to test whether or not the true mean weight of a burger at a certain restaurant is 7 ounces. To test this, he goes out and measures the weight of a random sample of 20 burgers from this restaurant.

H 0 : μ = 7 (the true mean weight is equal to 7 ounces)

H A : μ ≠ 7 (the true mean weight is not equal to 7 ounces)

Example 5: Citizen Support

A politician claims that less than 30% of citizens in a certain town support a certain law. To test this, he goes out and surveys 200 citizens on whether or not they support the law.

H 0 : p ≥ .30 (the true proportion of citizens who support the law is greater than or equal to 30%)

H A : μ < 0.30 (the true proportion of citizens who support the law is less than 30%)

Additional Resources

Introduction to Hypothesis Testing Introduction to Confidence Intervals An Explanation of P-Values and Statistical Significance

Featured Posts

7 Common Beginner Stats Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Hey there. My name is Zach Bobbitt. I have a Masters of Science degree in Applied Statistics and I’ve worked on machine learning algorithms for professional businesses in both healthcare and retail. I’m passionate about statistics, machine learning, and data visualization and I created Statology to be a resource for both students and teachers alike.  My goal with this site is to help you learn statistics through using simple terms, plenty of real-world examples, and helpful illustrations.

2 Replies to “How to Write a Null Hypothesis (5 Examples)”

you are amazing, thank you so much

Say I am a botanist hypothesizing the average height of daisies is 20 inches, or not? Does T = (ave – 20 inches) / √ variance / (80 / 4)? … This assumes 40 real measures + 40 fake = 80 n, but that seems questionable. Please advise.

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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 :

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.

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 non-absolute 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]
  • Simple hypothesis testing | Probability and Statistics | Khan Academy. Authored by : Khan Academy. Located at : https://youtu.be/5D1gV37bKXY . License : All Rights Reserved . License Terms : Standard YouTube License

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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 .

Table of contents

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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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 (\(H_a\)).

When writing hypotheses there are three things that we need to know: (1) the parameter that we are testing (2) the direction of the test (non-directional, right-tailed or left-tailed), and (3) the value of the hypothesized parameter.

  • At this point we can write hypotheses for a single mean (\(\mu\)), paired means(\(\mu_d\)), a single proportion (\(p\)), the difference between two independent means (\(\mu_1-\mu_2\)), the difference between two proportions (\(p_1-p_2\)), a simple linear regression slope (\(\beta\)), and a correlation (\(\rho\)). 
  • The research question will give us the information necessary to determine if the test is two-tailed (e.g., "different from," "not equal to"), right-tailed (e.g., "greater than," "more than"), or left-tailed (e.g., "less than," "fewer than").
  • The research question will also give us the hypothesized parameter value. This is the number that goes in the hypothesis statements (i.e., \(\mu_0\) and \(p_0\)). For the difference between two groups, regression, and correlation, this value is typically 0.

Hypotheses are always written in terms of population parameters (e.g., \(p\) and \(\mu\)).  The tables below display all of the possible hypotheses for the parameters that we have learned thus far. Note that the null hypothesis always includes the equality (i.e., =).

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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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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 a sample mean or proportion and a population mean or proportion. In other words, the difference equals 0. 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 cannot accept \(H_0\). The alternative hypothesis is the contender and must win with significant evidence to overthrow the status quo. This concept is sometimes referred to the tyranny of the status quo because as we will see later, to overthrow the null hypothesis takes usually 90 or greater confidence that this is the proper decision.

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 "cannot accept \(H_0\)" 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. These conclusions are all based upon a level of probability, a significance level, that is set my the analyst.

Table 9.1 presents the various hypotheses in the relevant pairs. For example, if the null hypothesis is equal to some value, the alternative has to be not equal to that value.

As a mathematical convention \(H_0\) always has a symbol with an equal in it. Ha never has a symbol with an equal in it. The choice of symbol depends on the wording of the hypothesis test.

Example 9.1

\(H_0\): 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. \(p > 30\)

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: \(H_0: \mu = 2.0\) \(H_a: \mu \neq 2.0\)

Example 9.3

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: \(H_0: \mu \geq 5\) \(H_a: \mu < 5\)

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: 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.

Mathematical Symbols Used in H 0 and H a :

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 9.1

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.

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: 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 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

Example 9.4

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 ≤ 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

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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Writing Null Hypotheses in Research and Statistics

Last Updated: January 17, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Joseph Quinones and by wikiHow staff writer, Jennifer Mueller, JD . Joseph Quinones is a High School Physics Teacher working at South Bronx Community Charter High School. Joseph specializes in astronomy and astrophysics and is interested in science education and science outreach, currently practicing ways to make physics accessible to more students with the goal of bringing more students of color into the STEM fields. He has experience working on Astrophysics research projects at the Museum of Natural History (AMNH). Joseph recieved his Bachelor's degree in Physics from Lehman College and his Masters in Physics Education from City College of New York (CCNY). He is also a member of a network called New York City Men Teach. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 26,153 times.

Are you working on a research project and struggling with how to write a null hypothesis? Well, you've come to the right place! Start by recognizing that the basic definition of "null" is "none" or "zero"—that's your biggest clue as to what a null hypothesis should say. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the null hypothesis, including how it relates to your research question and your alternative hypothesis as well as how to use it in different types of studies.

Things You Should Know

  • Write a research null hypothesis as a statement that the studied variables have no relationship to each other, or that there's no difference between 2 groups.

{\displaystyle \mu _{1}=\mu _{2}}

  • 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.

What is a null hypothesis?

A null hypothesis states that there's no relationship between 2 variables.

  • Research hypothesis: States in plain language that there's no relationship between the 2 variables or there's no difference between the 2 groups being studied.
  • Statistical hypothesis: States the predicted outcome of statistical analysis through a mathematical equation related to the statistical method you're using.

Examples of Null Hypotheses

Step 1 Research question:

Null Hypothesis vs. Alternative Hypothesis

Step 1 Null hypotheses and alternative hypotheses are mutually exclusive.

  • For example, your alternative hypothesis could state a positive correlation between 2 variables while your null hypothesis states there's no relationship. If there's a negative correlation, then both hypotheses are false.

Step 2 Proving the null hypothesis false is a precursor to proving the alternative.

  • You need additional data or evidence to show that your alternative hypothesis is correct—proving the null hypothesis false is just the first step.
  • In smaller studies, sometimes it's enough to show that there's some relationship and your hypothesis could be correct—you can leave the additional proof as an open question for other researchers to tackle.

How do I test a null hypothesis?

Use statistical methods on collected data to test the null hypothesis.

  • Group means: Compare the mean of the variable in your sample with the mean of the variable in the general population. [6] X Research source
  • Group proportions: Compare the proportion of the variable in your sample with the proportion of the variable in the general population. [7] X Research source
  • Correlation: Correlation analysis looks at the relationship between 2 variables—specifically, whether they tend to happen together. [8] X Research source
  • Regression: Regression analysis reveals the correlation between 2 variables while also controlling for the effect of other, interrelated variables. [9] X Research source

Templates for Null Hypotheses

Step 1 Group means

  • Research null hypothesis: There is no difference in the mean [dependent variable] between [group 1] and [group 2].

{\displaystyle \mu _{1}+\mu _{2}=0}

  • Research null hypothesis: The proportion of [dependent variable] in [group 1] and [group 2] is the same.

{\displaystyle p_{1}=p_{2}}

  • Research null hypothesis: There is no correlation between [independent variable] and [dependent variable] in the population.

\rho =0

  • Research null hypothesis: There is no relationship between [independent variable] and [dependent variable] in the population.

{\displaystyle \beta =0}

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  • ↑ https://online.stat.psu.edu/stat100/lesson/10/10.1
  • ↑ https://online.stat.psu.edu/stat501/lesson/2/2.12
  • ↑ https://support.minitab.com/en-us/minitab/21/help-and-how-to/statistics/basic-statistics/supporting-topics/basics/null-and-alternative-hypotheses/
  • ↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5635437/
  • ↑ https://online.stat.psu.edu/statprogram/reviews/statistical-concepts/hypothesis-testing
  • ↑ https://education.arcus.chop.edu/null-hypothesis-testing/
  • ↑ https://sphweb.bumc.bu.edu/otlt/mph-modules/bs/bs704_hypothesistest-means-proportions/bs704_hypothesistest-means-proportions_print.html

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AP®︎/College Statistics

Course: ap®︎/college statistics   >   unit 10.

  • Idea behind hypothesis testing
  • Examples of null and alternative hypotheses

Writing null and alternative hypotheses

  • P-values and significance tests
  • Comparing P-values to different significance levels
  • Estimating a P-value from a simulation
  • Estimating P-values from simulations
  • Using P-values to make conclusions

how to state null and alternative hypothesis in words

  • (Choice A)   H 0 : p = 0.1 H a : p ≠ 0.1 ‍   A H 0 : p = 0.1 H a : p ≠ 0.1 ‍  
  • (Choice B)   H 0 : p ≠ 0.1 H a : p = 0.1 ‍   B H 0 : p ≠ 0.1 H a : p = 0.1 ‍  
  • (Choice C)   H 0 : p = 0.1 H a : p > 0.1 ‍   C H 0 : p = 0.1 H a : p > 0.1 ‍  
  • (Choice D)   H 0 : p = 0.1 H a : p < 0.1 ‍   D H 0 : p = 0.1 H a : p < 0.1 ‍  

About the null and alternative hypotheses

The null and alternative hypotheses are two mutually exclusive statements about a population. A hypothesis test uses sample data to determine whether to reject the null hypothesis.

One-sided and two-sided hypotheses

Examples of two-sided and one-sided hypotheses.

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  4. State Null and Alternative Hypotheses: A car dealership announces that mean time for an oil change

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COMMENTS

  1. Null & Alternative Hypotheses

    Revised on June 22, 2023. The null and alternative hypotheses are two competing claims that researchers weigh evidence for and against using a statistical test: Null hypothesis (H0): There's no effect in the population. Alternative hypothesis (Ha or H1): There's an effect in the population. The effect is usually the effect of the ...

  2. 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.

  3. How to Write a Null Hypothesis (5 Examples)

    Whenever we perform a hypothesis test, we always write a null hypothesis and an alternative hypothesis, which take the following forms: H0 (Null Hypothesis): Population parameter =, ≤, ≥ some value. HA (Alternative Hypothesis): Population parameter <, >, ≠ some value. Note that the null hypothesis always contains the equal sign.

  4. 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: 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.

  5. Null and Alternative Hypotheses

    The null and alternative hypotheses are two competing claims that researchers weigh evidence for and against using a statistical test: Null hypothesis (H0): There's no effect in the population. Alternative hypothesis (HA): There's an effect in the population. The effect is usually the effect of the independent variable on the dependent ...

  6. 8.1.1: Null and Alternative Hypotheses

    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.

  7. 10.1

    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 ...

  8. Null Hypothesis: Definition, Rejecting & Examples

    The null states that there is no correlation between this pair of variables. As screen time increases, test performance does not tend to increase or decrease. Null Hypothesis H 0: The correlation in the population is zero: ρ = 0. Alternative Hypothesis H A: The correlation in the population is not zero: ρ ≠ 0.

  9. 9.1 Null and Alternative Hypothesis

    Section 9.1 Null and Alternative Hypothesis. Learning Objective: In this section, you will: • Understand the general concept and use the terminology of hypothesis testing. I claim that my coin is a fair coin. This means that the probability of heads and the probability of tails are both 50% or 0.50. Out of 200 flips of the coin, tails is ...

  10. Null and Alternative Hypotheses

    Some of the following statements refer to the null hypothesis, some to the alternate hypothesis. State the null hypothesis, H 0, and the alternative hypothesis. H a, in terms of the appropriate parameter (μ or p). The mean number of years Americans work before retiring is 34. At most 60% of Americans vote in presidential elections.

  11. Null Hypothesis Definition and Examples, How to State

    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.

  12. 5.2

    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\)

  13. Examples of null and alternative hypotheses

    It is the opposite of your research hypothesis. The alternative hypothesis--that is, the research hypothesis--is 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.

  14. How Does the Null Hypothesis Work?

    The null hypothesis is the hypothesis of "no effect," i.e., the hypothesis opposite to the effect we want to test for. In contrast, the alternative hypothesis is the one positing the existence of the effect of interest. 3. Effects and Null Hypothesis. The effect depends on our research question.

  15. 10.2: Null and Alternative Hypotheses

    The alternative hypothesis ( Ha H a) is a claim about the population that is contradictory to H0 H 0 and what we conclude when we reject H0 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 ...

  16. How to Write a Strong Hypothesis

    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.

  17. 9.1: Null and Alternative Hypotheses

    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.

  18. 7.2: Null and Alternative Hypotheses

    7.2: 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. H0 H 0: The null hypothesis: It is a statement of no difference between a sample mean or proportion and a population mean or proportion.

  19. Null & Alternative Hypothesis

    The general procedure for testing the null hypothesis is as follows: State the null and alternative hypotheses. Specify α and the sample size. Select an appropriate statistical test. Collect data (note that the previous steps should be done before collecting data) Compute the test statistic based on the sample data.

  20. 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: 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.

  21. How to Write a Null Hypothesis (with Examples and Templates)

    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.

  22. Writing null and alternative hypotheses

    Writing null and alternative hypotheses. A ketchup company regularly receives large shipments of tomatoes. For each shipment that is received, a supervisor takes a random sample of 500 tomatoes to see what percent of the sample is bruised and performs a significance test. If the sample shows convincing evidence that more than 10 % of the entire ...

  23. About the null and alternative hypotheses

    Null hypothesis (H 0) The null hypothesis states that a population parameter (such as the mean, the standard deviation, and so on) is equal to a hypothesized value. The null hypothesis is often an initial claim that is based on previous analyses or specialized knowledge. The alternative hypothesis states that a population parameter is smaller ...