Null-hypothesis significance testing does not determine the truth or falseness of claims. It determines whether confidence in a claim based solely on a sample-based estimate exceeds a threshold. It is a research quality assurance test, widely used as one requirement for publication of experimental research with statistical results. It is uniformly agreed that statistical significance is not the only consideration in assessing the importance of research results. Rejecting the null hypothesis is not a sufficient condition for publication.

statistical testing meaning

When we fail to reject the null, that certainly doesn’t mean the null is true . As a more general comment I have the feeling the test you’re describing, in quite abstract terms, is not likely to be clear to a learner who is just learning how to perform a test. The lack of a clearly defined test statistic doesn’t sit well with the original question asking how to interpret t-statistic too. The answer is very interesting (+1), but a few things are confused together at the end. What does it mean for a $p$-value to be “significant at the 5% level”?

I.2.2 Power and robustness: inferential statistics applied to multivariate analysis

You may notice that a Z-test statistic is just a z-score for a particular value of a normally distributed statistic. We can use these in hypothesis tests, where the sample statistic is being used in the test is approximately normally distributed. One such variation of the Z-test statistic is the Z-test for proportions. It is often difficult to prove a theory; therefore, investigators test to reject the null hypothesis.

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The multitude of statistical tests makes a researcher difficult to remember which statistical test to use in which condition. There are various points which one needs to ponder upon while choosing a statistical test. These include the type of study design , number of groups for comparison and type of data (i.e., continuous, dichotomous or categorical).

One-Tailed and Two-Tailed Hypothesis Testing

“Until we go through the accounts of testing hypotheses, separating [Neyman–Pearson] decision elements from conclusion elements, the intimate mixture of disparate elements will be a continual source of confusion.” … “There is a place for both “doing one’s best” and “saying only what is certain,” but it is important to know, in each instance, both which one is being done, and which one ought to be done.” Confusion resulting from combining the methods of Fisher and Neyman–Pearson which are conceptually distinct. The test does not directly assert the presence of radioactive material.

  • A number of other approaches to reaching a decision based on data are available via decision theory and optimal decisions, some of which have desirable properties.
  • The Mann–Whitney U test can be used for the comparison of a non-normally distributed, but at least ordinally scaled, parameter in two unpaired samples.
  • In this instance, values nearer zero would indeed be more persuasive that the telescope has become more reliable, but it requires some linguistic acrobatics to describe them as “more extreme”.
  • The dispute between Fisher and Neyman–Pearson was waged on philosophical grounds, characterized by a philosopher as a dispute over the proper role of models in statistical inference.
  • If the effect is statistically significant but the effect size is very small, then it is a stretch to consider the effect theoretically important.
  • Such data may come from a larger population, or from a data-generating process.
  • Therefore, given a significance level α, the homogeneity as a null hypothesis is rejected if p-valueH.

According to classical statistics, parameters are constants and cannot be represented as random variables. Bayesian proponents argue that, if a parameter value is unknown, then it makes sense to specify a probability distribution that describes the possible values for the parameter as well as their likelihood. The Bayesian approach permits the use of objective data or subjective opinion in specifying a prior distribution. With the Bayesian approach, different individuals might specify different prior distributions.

2.2 Population Distributions

The decision rule is to reject the null hypothesis H0 if the observed value tobs is in the critical region, and not to reject the null hypothesis otherwise. Select a significance level (α), a probability threshold below which the null hypothesis will be rejected. The second step is to consider the statistical assumptions being made about the sample in doing the test; for example, assumptions about the statistical independence or about the form of the distributions of the observations. This is equally important as invalid assumptions will mean that the results of the test are invalid.

If you choose a significance level of 0.05 for your test, we would reject the null hypothesis, since the p-value of 0.04 is less than the significance level of 0.05. The null hypothesis is rejected if the P value is less than a level of significance which has been defined in advance. In our case, there might be the difference in mean BP after 6 months.

What is a statistical test?

The statistical test is most often a Z-Test, T-test or an appropriate equivalent. A statistical test called a t-test is employed to compare the means of two groups. To determine whether two groups differ or if a procedure or treatment affects the population of interest, it is frequently used in hypothesis testing. The findings of hypothesis testing will be discussed in the results and discussion portions of your research paper, dissertation, or thesis. You should include a concise overview of the data and a summary of the findings of your statistical test in the results section. You can talk about whether your results confirmed your initial hypothesis or not in the conversation.

statistical testing meaning

Emphasis on statistical significance to the exclusion of estimation and confirmation by repeated experiments. A statistical analysis of misleading data produces misleading conclusions. In forecasting for example, there is no agreement on a measure of forecast accuracy.

What is a Null Hypothesis Statistical Test?

If results can be obtained for each patient under all experimental conditions, the study design is paired . For example, two times of measurement may be compared, or the two groups may be paired with respect to other characteristics. A statistical test then calculates the probability of obtaining the observed difference between the two groups and tells us whether the observed difference is due to chance or real . Statistical tests are mathematical tools for analyzing quantitative data generated in a research study.

statistical testing meaning

The basis of hypothesis testing is to examine and analyze the null hypothesis and alternative hypothesis to know which one is the most plausible assumption. Since both assumptions statistical testing are mutually exclusive, only one can be true. In other words, the occurrence of a null hypothesis destroys the chances of the alternative coming to life, and vice-versa.


These numbers were estimated from an empirical distribution generated by a simple Monte Carlo routine run in R and the resultant quantiles of the sampling distribution. Simply take out 100 marbles from the bag and count how many of this sample are white. Before touching this topic, I always make sure that students are happy moving between percentages, decimals, odds and fractions. If they are not completely happy with this then they can get confused very quickly. Uniquely insightful as always, thank you for taking the time to write out those incredibly helpful answers. I really wonder why textbooks are never written in a way that offers anywhere near these levels of clarity and intuition.