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a significance level (α) of a probability

What is Hypothesis Testing?

statistical hypothesis is an assumption about a population parameter. This assumption may or may not be true.Hypothesis testing refers to the formal procedures used by statisticians to accept or reject statistical hypotheses.

Statistical Hypotheses

The best way to determine whether a statistical hypothesis is true would be to examine the entire population. Since that is often impractical, researchers typically examine a random sample from the population. If sample data are not consistent with the statistical hypothesis, the hypothesis is rejected.

There are two types of statistical hypotheses.

  • Null hypothesis. The null hypothesis, denoted by Ho, is usually the hypothesis that sample observations result purely from chance.
  • Alternative hypothesis. The alternative hypothesis, denoted by H1 or Ha, is the hypothesis that sample observations are influenced by some non-random cause.

For example, suppose we wanted to determine whether a coin was fair and balanced. A null hypothesis might be that half the flips would result in Heads and half, in Tails. The alternative hypothesis might be that the number of Heads and Tails would be very different. Symbolically, these hypotheses would be expressed as

Ho: P = 0.5 
Ha: P ≠ 0.5

Suppose we flipped the coin 50 times, resulting in 40 Heads and 10 Tails. Given this result, we would be inclined to reject the null hypothesis. We would conclude, based on the evidence, that the coin was probably not fair and balanced.