Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.

  • Knowledge Base

Hypothesis Testing | A Step-by-Step Guide with Easy Examples

Published on November 8, 2019 by Rebecca Bevans . Revised on December 7, 2022.

Hypothesis testing is a formal procedure for investigating our ideas about the world using statistics . It is most often used by scientists to test specific predictions, called hypotheses, that arise from theories.

There are 5 main steps in hypothesis testing:

Though the specific details might vary, the procedure you will use when testing a hypothesis will always follow some version of these steps.

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, frequently asked questions about hypothesis testing.

After developing your initial research hypothesis (the prediction that you want to investigate), it is important to restate it as a null (H o ) and alternate (H a ) hypothesis so that you can test it mathematically.

The alternate hypothesis is usually your initial hypothesis that predicts a relationship between variables. The null hypothesis is a prediction of no relationship between the variables you are interested in.

For a statistical test to be valid , it is important to perform sampling and collect data in a way that is designed to test your hypothesis. If your data are not representative, then you cannot make statistical inferences about the population you are interested in.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

There are a variety of statistical tests available, but they are all based on the comparison of within-group variance (how spread out the data is within a category) versus between-group variance (how different the categories are from one another).

If the between-group variance is large enough that there is little or no overlap between groups, then your statistical test will reflect that by showing a low p -value . This means it is unlikely that the differences between these groups came about by chance.

Alternatively, if there is high within-group variance and low between-group variance, then your statistical test will reflect that with a high p -value. This means it is likely that any difference you measure between groups is due to chance.

Your choice of statistical test will be based on the type of variables and the level of measurement of your collected data .

Based on the outcome of your statistical test, you will have to decide whether to reject or fail to reject your null hypothesis.

In most cases you will use the p -value generated by your statistical test to guide your decision. And in most cases, your predetermined level of significance for rejecting the null hypothesis will be 0.05 – that is, when there is a less than 5% chance that you would see these results if the null hypothesis were true.

In some cases, researchers choose a more conservative level of significance, such as 0.01 (1%). This minimizes the risk of incorrectly rejecting the null hypothesis ( Type I error ).

The results of hypothesis testing will be presented in the results and discussion sections of your research paper , dissertation or thesis .

In the results section you should give a brief summary of the data and a summary of the results of your statistical test (for example, the estimated difference between group means and associated p -value). In the discussion , you can discuss whether your initial hypothesis was supported by your results or not.

In the formal language of hypothesis testing, we talk about rejecting or failing to reject the null hypothesis. You will probably be asked to do this in your statistics assignments.

However, when presenting research results in academic papers we rarely talk this way. Instead, we go back to our alternate hypothesis (in this case, the hypothesis that men are on average taller than women) and state whether the result of our test did or did not support the alternate hypothesis.

If your null hypothesis was rejected, this result is interpreted as “supported the alternate hypothesis.”

These are superficial differences; you can see that they mean the same thing.

You might notice that we don’t say that we reject or fail to reject the alternate hypothesis . This is because hypothesis testing is not designed to prove or disprove anything. It is only designed to test whether a pattern we measure could have arisen spuriously, or by chance.

If we reject the null hypothesis based on our research (i.e., we find that it is unlikely that the pattern arose by chance), then we can say our test lends support to our hypothesis . But if the pattern does not pass our decision rule, meaning that it could have arisen by chance, then we say the test is inconsistent with our hypothesis .

Hypothesis testing is a formal procedure for investigating our ideas about the world using statistics. It is used by scientists to test specific predictions, called hypotheses , by calculating how likely it is that a pattern or relationship between variables could have arisen by chance.

A hypothesis states your predictions about what your research will find. It is a tentative answer to your research question that has not yet been tested. For some research projects, you might have to write several hypotheses that address different aspects of your research question.

A hypothesis is not just a guess — it should be based on existing theories and knowledge. It also has to be testable, which means you can support or refute it through scientific research methods (such as experiments, observations and statistical analysis of data).

Null and alternative hypotheses are used in statistical hypothesis testing . The null hypothesis of a test always predicts no effect or no relationship between variables, while the alternative hypothesis states your research prediction of an effect or relationship.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Bevans, R. (2022, December 07). Hypothesis Testing | A Step-by-Step Guide with Easy Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved March 13, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/statistics/hypothesis-testing/

Is this article helpful?

Rebecca Bevans

Rebecca Bevans

Other students also liked, choosing the right statistical test | types & examples, understanding p values | definition and examples, what is your plagiarism score.

U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

The .gov means it’s official. Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.

The site is secure. The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Hypothesis tests

Associated data.

Learning objectives

By reading this article, you should be able to:

A hypothesis test is a procedure used in statistics to assess whether a particular viewpoint is likely to be true. They follow a strict protocol, and they generate a ‘ p- value’, on the basis of which a decision is made about the truth of the hypothesis under investigation. All of the routine statistical ‘tests’ used in research— t- tests, χ 2 tests, Mann–Whitney tests, etc.—are all hypothesis tests, and in spite of their differences they are all used in essentially the same way. But why do we use them at all?

Comparing the heights of two individuals is easy: we can measure their height in a standardised way and compare them. When we want to compare the heights of two small well-defined groups (for example two groups of children), we need to use a summary statistic that we can calculate for each group. Such summaries (means, medians, etc.) form the basis of descriptive statistics, and are well described elsewhere. 1 However, a problem arises when we try to compare very large groups or populations: it may be impractical or even impossible to take a measurement from everyone in the population, and by the time you do so, the population itself will have changed. A similar problem arises when we try to describe the effects of drugs—for example by how much on average does a particular vasopressor increase MAP?

To solve this problem, we use random samples to estimate values for populations. By convention, the values we calculate from samples are referred to as statistics and denoted by Latin letters ( x ¯ for sample mean; SD for sample standard deviation) while the unknown population values are called parameters , and denoted by Greek letters (μ for population mean, σ for population standard deviation).

Inferential statistics describes the methods we use to estimate population parameters from random samples; how we can quantify the level of inaccuracy in a sample statistic; and how we can go on to use these estimates to compare populations.

Sampling error

There are many reasons why a sample may give an inaccurate picture of the population it represents: it may be biased, it may not be big enough, and it may not be truly random. However, even if we have been careful to avoid these pitfalls, there is an inherent difference between the sample and the population at large. To illustrate this, let us imagine that the actual average height of males in London is 174 cm. If I were to sample 100 male Londoners and take a mean of their heights, I would be very unlikely to get exactly 174 cm. Furthermore, if somebody else were to perform the same exercise, it would be unlikely that they would get the same answer as I did. The sample mean is different each time it is taken, and the way it differs from the actual mean of the population is described by the standard error of the mean (standard error, or SEM ). The standard error is larger if there is a lot of variation in the population, and becomes smaller as the sample size increases. It is calculated thus:

where SD is the sample standard deviation, and n is the sample size.

As errors are normally distributed, we can use this to estimate a 95% confidence interval on our sample mean as follows:

We can interpret this as meaning ‘We are 95% confident that the actual mean is within this range.’

Some confusion arises at this point between the SD and the standard error. The SD is a measure of variation in the sample. The range x ¯ ± ( 1.96 × SD ) will normally contain 95% of all your data. It can be used to illustrate the spread of the data and shows what values are likely. In contrast, standard error tells you about the precision of the mean and is used to calculate confidence intervals.

One straightforward way to compare two samples is to use confidence intervals. If we calculate the mean height of two groups and find that the 95% confidence intervals do not overlap, this can be taken as evidence of a difference between the two means. This method of statistical inference is reasonably intuitive and can be used in many situations. 2 Many journals, however, prefer to report inferential statistics using p -values.

Inference testing using a null hypothesis

In 1925, the British statistician R.A. Fisher described a technique for comparing groups using a null hypothesis , a method which has dominated statistical comparison ever since. The technique itself is rather straightforward, but often gets lost in the mechanics of how it is done. To illustrate, imagine we want to compare the HR of two different groups of people. We take a random sample from each group, which we call our data. Then:

Formally, we can define a p- value as ‘the probability of finding the observed result or a more extreme result, if the null hypothesis were true.’ Standard practice is to set a cut-off at p <0.05 (this cut-off is termed the alpha value). If the null hypothesis were true, a result such as this would only occur 5% of the time or less; this in turn would indicate that the null hypothesis itself is unlikely. Fisher described the process as follows: ‘Set a low standard of significance at the 5 per cent point, and ignore entirely all results which fail to reach this level. A scientific fact should be regarded as experimentally established only if a properly designed experiment rarely fails to give this level of significance.’ 3 This probably remains the most succinct description of the procedure.

A question which often arises at this point is ‘Why do we use a null hypothesis?’ The simple answer is that it is easy: we can readily describe what we would expect of our data under a null hypothesis, we know how data would behave, and we can readily work out the probability of getting the result that we did. It therefore makes a very simple starting point for our probability assessment. All probabilities require a set of starting conditions, in much the same way that measuring the distance to London needs a starting point. The null hypothesis can be thought of as an easy place to put the start of your ruler.

If a null hypothesis is rejected, an alternate hypothesis must be adopted in its place. The null and alternate hypotheses must be mutually exclusive, but must also between them describe all situations. If a null hypothesis is ‘no difference exists’ then the alternate should be simply ‘a difference exists’.

Hypothesis testing in practice

The components of a hypothesis test can be readily described using the acronym GOST: identify the Groups you wish to compare; define the Outcome to be measured; collect and Summarise the data; then evaluate the likelihood of the null hypothesis, using a Test statistic .

When considering groups, think first about how many. Is there just one group being compared against an audit standard, or are you comparing one group with another? Some studies may wish to compare more than two groups. Another situation may involve a single group measured at different points in time, for example before or after a particular treatment. In this situation each participant is compared with themselves, and this is often referred to as a ‘paired’ or a ‘repeated measures’ design. It is possible to combine these types of groups—for example a researcher may measure arterial BP on a number of different occasions in five different groups of patients. Such studies can be difficult, both to analyse and interpret.

In other studies we may want to see how a continuous variable (such as age or height) affects the outcomes. These techniques involve regression analysis, and are beyond the scope of this article.

The outcome measures are the data being collected. This may be a continuous measure, such as temperature or BMI, or it may be a categorical measure, such as ASA status or surgical specialty. Often, inexperienced researchers will strive to collect lots of outcome measures in an attempt to find something that differs between the groups of interest; if this is done, a ‘primary outcome measure’ should be identified before the research begins. In addition, the results of any hypothesis tests will need to be corrected for multiple measures.

The summary and the test statistic will be defined by the type of data that have been collected. The test statistic is calculated then transformed into a p- value using tables or software. It is worth looking at two common tests in a little more detail: the χ 2 test, and the t -test.

Categorical data: the χ 2 test

The χ 2 test of independence is a test for comparing categorical outcomes in two or more groups. For example, a number of trials have compared surgical site infections in patients who have been given different concentrations of oxygen perioperatively. In the PROXI trial, 4 685 patients received oxygen 80%, and 701 patients received oxygen 30%. In the 80% group there were 131 infections, while in the 30% group there were 141 infections. In this study, the groups were oxygen 80% and oxygen 30%, and the outcome measure was the presence of a surgical site infection.

The summary is a table ( Table 1 ), and the hypothesis test compares this table (the ‘observed’ table) with the table that would be expected if the proportion of infections in each group was the same (the ‘expected’ table). The test statistic is χ 2 , from which a p- value is calculated. In this instance the p -value is 0.64, which means that results like this would occur 64% of the time if the null hypothesis were true. We thus have no evidence to reject the null hypothesis; the observed difference probably results from sampling variation rather than from an inherent difference between the two groups.

Table 1

Summary of the results of the PROXI trial. Figures are numbers of patients.

Continuous data: the t- test

The t- test is a statistical method for comparing means, and is one of the most widely used hypothesis tests. Imagine a study where we try to see if there is a difference in the onset time of a new neuromuscular blocking agent compared with suxamethonium. We could enlist 100 volunteers, give them a general anaesthetic, and randomise 50 of them to receive the new drug and 50 of them to receive suxamethonium. We then time how long it takes (in seconds) to have ideal intubation conditions, as measured by a quantitative nerve stimulator. Our data are therefore a list of times. In this case, the groups are ‘new drug’ and suxamethonium, and the outcome is time, measured in seconds. This can be summarised by using means; the hypothesis test will compare the means of the two groups, using a p- value calculated from a ‘ t statistic’. Hopefully it is becoming obvious at this point that the test statistic is usually identified by a letter, and this letter is often cited in the name of the test.

The t -test comes in a number of guises, depending on the comparison being made. A single sample can be compared with a standard (Is the BMI of school leavers in this town different from the national average?); two samples can be compared with each other, as in the example above; or the same study subjects can be measured at two different times. The latter case is referred to as a paired t- test, because each participant provides a pair of measurements—such as in a pre- or postintervention study.

A large number of methods for testing hypotheses exist; the commonest ones and their uses are described in Table 2 . In each case, the test can be described by detailing the groups being compared ( Table 2 , columns) the outcome measures (rows), the summary, and the test statistic. The decision to use a particular test or method should be made during the planning stages of a trial or experiment. At this stage, an estimate needs to be made of how many test subjects will be needed. Such calculations are described in detail elsewhere. 5

Table 2

The principle types of hypothesis test. Tests comparing more than two samples can indicate that one group differs from the others, but will not identify which. Subsequent ‘post hoc’ testing is required if a difference is found.

Controversies surrounding hypothesis testing

Although hypothesis tests have been the basis of modern science since the middle of the 20th century, they have been plagued by misconceptions from the outset; this has led to what has been described as a crisis in science in the last few years: some journals have gone so far as to ban p -value s outright. 6 This is not because of any flaw in the concept of a p -value, but because of a lack of understanding of what they mean.

Possibly the most pervasive misunderstanding is the belief that the p- value is the chance that the null hypothesis is true, or that the p- value represents the frequency with which you will be wrong if you reject the null hypothesis (i.e. claim to have found a difference). This interpretation has frequently made it into the literature, and is a very easy trap to fall into when discussing hypothesis tests. To avoid this, it is important to remember that the p- value is telling us something about our sample , not about the null hypothesis. Put in simple terms, we would like to know the probability that the null hypothesis is true, given our data. The p- value tells us the probability of getting these data if the null hypothesis were true, which is not the same thing. This fallacy is referred to as ‘flipping the conditional’; the probability of an outcome under certain conditions is not the same as the probability of those conditions given that the outcome has happened.

A useful example is to imagine a magic trick in which you select a card from a normal deck of 52 cards, and the performer reveals your chosen card in a surprising manner. If the performer were relying purely on chance, this would only happen on average once in every 52 attempts. On the basis of this, we conclude that it is unlikely that the magician is simply relying on chance. Although simple, we have just performed an entire hypothesis test. We have declared a null hypothesis (the performer was relying on chance); we have even calculated a p -value (1 in 52, ≈0.02); and on the basis of this low p- value we have rejected our null hypothesis. We would, however, be wrong to suggest that there is a probability of 0.02 that the performer is relying on chance—that is not what our figure of 0.02 is telling us.

To explore this further we can create two populations, and watch what happens when we use simulation to take repeated samples to compare these populations. Computers allow us to do this repeatedly, and to see what p- value s are generated (see Supplementary online material). 7 Fig 1 illustrates the results of 100,000 simulated t -tests, generated in two set of circumstances. In Fig 1 a , we have a situation in which there is a difference between the two populations. The p- value s cluster below the 0.05 cut-off, although there is a small proportion with p >0.05. Interestingly, the proportion of comparisons where p <0.05 is 0.8 or 80%, which is the power of the study (the sample size was specifically calculated to give a power of 80%).

Figure 1

The p- value s generated when 100,000 t -tests are used to compare two samples taken from defined populations. ( a ) The populations have a difference and the p- value s are mostly significant. ( b ) The samples were taken from the same population (i.e. the null hypothesis is true) and the p- value s are distributed uniformly.

Figure 1 b depicts the situation where repeated samples are taken from the same parent population (i.e. the null hypothesis is true). Somewhat surprisingly, all p- value s occur with equal frequency, with p <0.05 occurring exactly 5% of the time. Thus, when the null hypothesis is true, a type I error will occur with a frequency equal to the alpha significance cut-off.

Figure 1 highlights the underlying problem: when presented with a p -value <0.05, is it possible with no further information, to determine whether you are looking at something from Fig 1 a or Fig 1 b ?

Finally, it cannot be stressed enough that although hypothesis testing identifies whether or not a difference is likely, it is up to us as clinicians to decide whether or not a statistically significant difference is also significant clinically.

Hypothesis testing: what next?

As mentioned above, some have suggested moving away from p -values, but it is not entirely clear what we should use instead. Some sources have advocated focussing more on effect size; however, without a measure of significance we have merely returned to our original problem: how do we know that our difference is not just a result of sampling variation?

One solution is to use Bayesian statistics. Up until very recently, these techniques have been considered both too difficult and not sufficiently rigorous. However, recent advances in computing have led to the development of Bayesian equivalents of a number of standard hypothesis tests. 8 These generate a ‘Bayes Factor’ (BF), which tells us how more (or less) likely the alternative hypothesis is after our experiment. A BF of 1.0 indicates that the likelihood of the alternate hypothesis has not changed. A BF of 10 indicates that the alternate hypothesis is 10 times more likely than we originally thought. A number of classifications for BF exist; greater than 10 can be considered ‘strong evidence’, while BF greater than 100 can be classed as ‘decisive’.

Figures such as the BF can be quoted in conjunction with the traditional p- value, but it remains to be seen whether they will become mainstream.

Declaration of interest

The author declares that they have no conflict of interest.

The associated MCQs (to support CME/CPD activity) will be accessible at www.bjaed.org/cme/home by subscribers to BJA Education .

Jason Walker FRCA FRSS BSc (Hons) Math Stat is a consultant anaesthetist at Ysbyty Gwynedd Hospital, Bangor, Wales, and an honorary senior lecturer at Bangor University. He is vice chair of his local research ethics committee, and an examiner for the Primary FRCA.

Matrix codes: 1A03, 2A04, 3J03

Supplementary data to this article can be found online at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bjae.2019.03.006 .

Supplementary material

The following is the Supplementary data to this article:

La Trobe University Library

Hypothesis testing

When interpreting research findings, researchers need to assess whether these findings may have occurred by chance. Hypothesis testing is a systematic procedure for deciding whether the results of a research study support a particular theory which applies to a population.

Hypothesis testing uses sample data to evaluate a hypothesis about a population . A hypothesis test assesses how unusual the result is, whether it is reasonable chance variation or whether the result is too extreme to be considered chance variation.

Basic concepts

Probability value and types of errors

Effect size and statistical significance.

Null and research hypotheses

To carry out statistical hypothesis testing, research and null hypothesis are employed:

H A: There is a relationship between intelligence and academic results.

H A: First year university students obtain higher grades after an intensive Statistics course.

H A; Males and females differ in their levels of stress.

H o : There is no relationship between intelligence and academic results.

H o:  First year university students do not obtain higher grades after an intensive Statistics course.

H o : Males and females will not differ in their levels of stress.

The purpose of hypothesis testing is to test whether the null hypothesis (there is no difference, no effect) can be rejected or approved. If the null hypothesis is rejected, then the research hypothesis can be accepted. If the null hypothesis is accepted, then the research hypothesis is rejected.

In hypothesis testing, a value is set to assess whether the null hypothesis is accepted or rejected and whether the result is statistically significant:

The probability value, or p value , is the probability of an outcome or research result given the hypothesis. Usually, the probability value is set at 0.05: the null hypothesis will be rejected if the probability value of the statistical test is less than 0.05. There are two types of errors associated to hypothesis testing:

These situations are known as Type I and Type II errors:

hypothesis testing process and types of errors

These errors cannot be eliminated; they can be minimised, but minimising one type of error will increase the probability of committing the other type.

The probability of making a Type I error depends on the criterion that is used to accept or reject the null hypothesis: the p value or alpha level . The alpha is set by the researcher, usually at .05, and is the chance the researcher is willing to take and still claim the significance of the statistical test.). Choosing a smaller alpha level will decrease the likelihood of committing Type I error.

For example, p<0.05  indicates that there are 5 chances in 100 that the difference observed was really due to sampling error – that 5% of the time a Type I error will occur or that there is a 5% chance that the opposite of the null hypothesis is actually true.

With a p<0.01, there will be 1 chance in 100 that the difference observed was really due to sampling error – 1% of the time a Type I error will occur.

The p level is specified before analysing the data. If the data analysis results in a probability value below the α (alpha) level, then the null hypothesis is rejected; if it is not, then the null hypothesis is not rejected.

When the null hypothesis is rejected, the effect is said to be statistically significant. However, statistical significance does not mean that the effect is important.

A result can be statistically significant, but the effect size may be small. Finding that an effect is significant does not provide information about how large or important the effect is. In fact, a small effect can be statistically significant if the sample size is large enough.

Information about the effect size, or magnitude of the result, is given by the statistical test. For example, the strength of the correlation between two variables is given by the coefficient of correlation, which varies from 0 to 1.

The hypothesis testing process

The hypothesis testing process can be divided into five steps:

This example illustrates how these five steps can be applied to text a hypothesis:

Step 1 : There are two populations of interest.

Population 1: People who go through the experimental procedure (drink coffee).

Population 2: People who do not go through the experimental procedure (drink water).

Step 2 : We know that the characteristics of the comparison distribution (student population) are:

Population M = 19, Population SD= 4, normally distributed. These are the mean and standard deviation of the distribution of scores on the memory test for the general student population.

Step 3 : For a two-tailed test (the direction of the effect is not specified) at the 5% level (25% at each tail), the cut off sample scores are +1.96 and -1.99.

hypothesis testing in research paper

Step 4 : Your sample score of 27 needs to be converted into a Z value. To calculate Z = (27-19)/4= 2 ( check the Converting into Z scores section if you need to review how to do this process)

Step 5 : A ‘Z’ score of 2 is more extreme than the cut off Z of +1.96 (see figure above). The result is significant and, thus, the null hypothesis is rejected.

You can find more examples here:

Some commonly used statistical techniques

Correlation analysis, multiple regression.

Chi-square test for independence

Correlation analysis explores the association between variables . The purpose of correlational analysis is to discover whether there is a relationship between variables, which is unlikely to occur by sampling error. The null hypothesis is that there is no relationship between the two variables. Correlation analysis provides information about:

A positive correlation indicates that high scores on one variable are associated with high scores on the other variable; low scores on one variable are associated with low scores on the second variable . For instance, in the figure below, higher scores on negative affect are associated with higher scores on perceived stress

example of positive correlation graph

A negative correlation indicates that high scores on one variable are associated with low scores on the other variable. The graph shows that a person who scores high on perceived stress will probably score low on mastery. The slope of the graph is downwards- as it moves to the right. In the figure below, higher scores on mastery are associated with lower scores on perceived stress.

example of negative correlation graph

Fig 2. Negative correlation between two variables. Adapted from Pallant, J. (2013). SPSS survival manual: A step by step guide to data analysis using IBM SPSS (5th ed.). Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, London: Allen & Unwin

2. The strength or magnitude of the relationship

The strength of a linear relationship between two variables is measured by a statistic known as the correlation coefficient , which varies from 0 to -1, and from 0 to +1. There are several correlation coefficients; the most widely used are Pearson’s r and Spearman’s rho. The strength of the relationship is interpreted as follows:

It is important to note that correlation analysis does not imply causality. Correlation is used to explore the association between variables, however, it does not indicate that one variable causes the other. The correlation between two variables could be due to the fact that a third variable is affecting the two variables.

Multiple regression is an extension of correlation analysis. Multiple regression is used to explore the relationship between one dependent variable and a number of independent variables or predictors . The purpose of a multiple regression model is to predict values of a dependent variable based on the values of the independent variables or predictors. For example, a researcher may be interested in predicting students’ academic success (e.g. grades) based on a number of predictors, for example, hours spent studying, satisfaction with studies, relationships with peers and lecturers.

A multiple regression model can be conducted using statistical software (e.g. SPSS). The software will test the significance of the model (i.e. does the model significantly predicts scores on the dependent variable using the independent variables introduced in the model?), how much of the variance in the dependent variable is explained by the model, and the individual contribution of each independent variable.

Example of multiple regression model

example of multiple regression model to predict help-seeking

From Dunn et al. (2014). Influence of academic self-regulation, critical thinking, and age on online graduate students' academic help-seeking.

In this model, help-seeking is the dependent variable; there are three independent variables or predictors. The coefficients show the direction (positive or negative) and magnitude of the relationship between each predictor and the dependent variable. The model was statistically significant and predicted 13.5% of the variance in help-seeking.

t-Tests are employed to compare the mean score on some continuous variable for two groups . The null hypothesis to be tested is there are no differences between the two groups (e.g. anxiety scores for males and females are not different).

If the significance value of the t-test is equal or less than .05, there is a significant difference in the mean scores on the variable of interest for each of the two groups. If the value is above .05, there is no significant difference between the groups.

t-Tests can be employed to compare the mean scores of two different groups (independent-samples t-test ) or to compare the same group of people on two different occasions ( paired-samples t-test) .

In addition to assessing whether the difference between the two groups is statistically significant, it is important to consider the effect size or magnitude of the difference between the groups. The effect size is given by partial eta squared (proportion of variance of the dependent variable that is explained by the independent variable) and Cohen’s d (difference between groups in terms of standard deviation units).

In this example, an independent samples t-test was conducted to assess whether males and females differ in their perceived anxiety levels. The significance of the test is .004. Since this value is less than .05, we can conclude that there is a statistically significant difference between males and females in their perceived anxiety levels.

t-test results obtained using SPSS

Whilst t-tests compare the mean score on one variable for two groups, analysis of variance is used to test more than two groups . Following the previous example, analysis of variance would be employed to test whether there are differences in anxiety scores for students from different disciplines.

Analysis of variance compare the variance (variability in scores) between the different groups (believed to be due to the independent variable) with the variability within each group (believed to be due to chance). An F ratio is calculated; a large F ratio indicates that there is more variability between the groups (caused by the independent variable) than there is within each group (error term). A significant F test indicates that we can reject the null hypothesis; i.e. that there is no difference between the groups.

Again, effect size statistics such as Cohen’s d and eta squared are employed to assess the magnitude of the differences between groups.

In this example, we examined differences in perceived anxiety between students from different disciplines. The results of the Anova Test show that the significance level is .005. Since this value is below .05, we can conclude that there are statistically significant differences between students from different disciplines in their perceived anxiety levels.

ANOVA results obtained using SPSS

Chi-square test for independence is used to explore the relationship between two categorical variables. Each variable can have two or more categories.

For example, a researcher can use a Chi-square test for independence to assess the relationship between study disciplines (e.g. Psychology, Business, Education,…) and help-seeking behaviour (Yes/No). The test compares the observed frequencies of cases with the values that would be expected if there was no association between the two variables of interest. A statistically significant Chi-square test indicates that the two variables are associated (e.g. Psychology students are more likely to seek help than Business students). The effect size is assessed using effect size statistics: Phi and Cramer’s V .

In this example, a Chi-square test was conducted to assess whether males and females differ in their help-seeking behaviour (Yes/No). The crosstabulation table shows the percentage of males of females who sought/didn't seek help. The table 'Chi square tests' shows the significance of the test (Pearson Chi square asymp sig: .482). Since this value is above .05, we conclude that there is no statistically significant difference between males and females in their help-seeking behaviour.

Chi-square test results obtained using SPSS

Enago Academy

6 Steps to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Statistical Hypothesis Testing

' src=

You know what is tragic? Having the potential to complete the research study but not doing the correct hypothesis testing. Quite often, researchers think the most challenging aspect of research is standardization of experiments, data analysis or writing the thesis! But in all honesty, creating an effective research hypothesis is the most crucial step in designing and executing a research study. An effective research hypothesis will provide researchers the correct basic structure for building the research question and objectives.

In this article, we will discuss how to formulate and identify an effective research hypothesis testing to benefit researchers in designing their research work.

Table of Contents

What Is Research Hypothesis Testing?

Hypothesis testing is a systematic procedure derived from the research question and decides if the results of a research study support a certain theory which can be applicable to the population. Moreover, it is a statistical test used to determine whether the hypothesis assumed by the sample data stands true to the entire population.

The purpose of testing the hypothesis is to make an inference about the population of interest on the basis of random sample taken from that population. Furthermore, it is the assumption which is tested to determine the relationship between two data sets.

Types of Statistical Hypothesis Testing

Source: https://www.youtube.com/c/365DataScience

1. there are two types of hypothesis in statistics, a. null hypothesis.

This is the assumption that the event will not occur or there is no relation between the compared variables. A null hypothesis has no relation with the study’s outcome unless it is rejected. Null hypothesis uses H0 as its symbol.

b. Alternate Hypothesis

The alternate hypothesis is the logical opposite of the null hypothesis. Furthermore, the acceptance of the alternative hypothesis follows the rejection of the null hypothesis. It uses H1 or Ha as its symbol

Hypothesis Testing Example: A sanitizer manufacturer company claims that its product kills 98% of germs on average. To put this company’s claim to test, create null and alternate hypothesis H0 (Null Hypothesis): Average = 98% H1/Ha (Alternate Hypothesis): The average is less than 98%

2. Depending on the population distribution, you can categorize the statistical hypothesis into two types.

A. simple hypothesis.

A simple hypothesis specifies an exact value for the parameter.

b. Composite Hypothesis

A composite hypothesis specifies a range of values.

Hypothesis Testing Example: A company claims to have achieved 1000 units as their average sales for this quarter. (Simple Hypothesis) The company claims to achieve the sales in the range of 900 to 100o units. (Composite Hypothesis).

3. Based on the type of statistical testing, the hypothesis in statistics is of two types.

A. one-tailed.

One-Tailed test or directional test considers a critical region of data which would result in rejection of the null hypothesis if the test sample falls in that data region. Therefore, accepting the alternate hypothesis. Furthermore, the critical distribution area in this test is one-sided which means the test sample is either greater or lesser than a specific value.

hypothesis testing

b. Two-Tailed

Two-Tailed test or nondirectional test is designed to show if the sample mean is significantly greater than and significantly less than the mean population. Here, the critical distribution area is two-sided. If the sample falls within the range, the alternate hypothesis is accepted and the null hypothesis is rejected.

hypothesis testing

Statistical Hypothesis Testing Example: Suppose H0: mean = 100 and H1: mean is not equal to 100 According to the H1, the mean can be greater than or less than 100. (Two-Tailed test) Similarly, if H0: mean >= 100, then H1: mean < 100 Here the mean is less than 100. (One-Tailed test)

Steps in Statistical Hypothesis Testing

Step 1: develop initial research hypothesis.

Research hypothesis is developed from research question. It is the prediction that you want to investigate. Moreover, an initial research hypothesis is important for restating the null and alternate hypothesis, to test the research question mathematically.

Step 2: State the null and alternate hypothesis based on your research hypothesis

Usually, the alternate hypothesis is your initial hypothesis that predicts relationship between variables. However, the null hypothesis is a prediction of no relationship between the variables you are interested in.

Step 3: Perform sampling and collection of data for statistical testing

It is important to perform sampling and collect data in way that assists the formulated research hypothesis. You will have to perform a statistical testing to validate your data and make statistical inferences about the population of your interest.

Step 4: Perform statistical testing based on the type of data you collected

There are various statistical tests available. Based on the comparison of within group variance and between group variance, you can carry out the statistical tests for the research study. If the between group variance is large enough and there is little or no overlap between groups, then the statistical test will show low p-value. (Difference between the groups is not a chance event).

Alternatively, if the within group variance is high compared to between group variance, then the statistical test shows a high p-value. (Difference between the groups is a chance event).

Step 5: Based on the statistical outcome, reject or fail to reject your null hypothesis

In most cases, you will use p-value generated from your statistical test to guide your decision. You will consider a predetermined level of significance of 0.05 for rejecting your null hypothesis , i.e. there is less than 5% chance of getting the results wherein the null hypothesis is true.

Step 6: Present your final results of hypothesis testing

You will present the results of your hypothesis in the results and discussion section of the research paper . In results section, you provide a brief summary of the data and a summary of the results of your statistical test. Meanwhile, in discussion, you can mention whether your results support your initial hypothesis.

Note that we never reject or fail to reject the alternate hypothesis. This is because the testing of hypothesis is not designed to prove or disprove anything. However, it is designed to test if a result is spuriously occurred, or by chance. Thus, statistical hypothesis testing becomes a crucial statistical tool to mathematically define the outcome of a research question.

Have you ever used hypothesis testing as a means of statistically analyzing your research data? How was your experience? Do write to us or comment below.

' src=

Well written and informative article.

good article

Nicely explained!

Its amazing & really helpful.

Rate this article Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published.

hypothesis testing in research paper

Enago Academy's Most Popular

hypothesis testing in research paper

Qualitative Vs. Quantitative Research — A step-wise guide to conduct research

A research study includes the collection and analysis of data. In quantitative research, the data…

statistical test

7 Ways to Choose the Right Statistical Test for Your Research Study

What are Statistical Tests? Statistical tests are a way of mathematically determining whether two sets…

explanatory variables

Explanatory & Response Variable in Statistics — A quick guide for early career researchers!

Often researchers have a difficult time choosing the parameters and variables (like explanatory and response…

Statistical Validity

What Is Statistical Validity? -Understanding Trends in Validating Research Data

With an aim to understand, analyze, and draw conclusions based on the enormous data often…

data visualization techniques

How to Use Creative Data Visualization Techniques for Easy Comprehension of Qualitative Research

“A picture is worth a thousand words!”—an adage used so often stands true even whilst…

How to Use Creative Data Visualization Techniques for Easy Comprehension of…

Sign-up to read more

Subscribe for free to get unrestricted access to all our resources on research writing and academic publishing including:

We hate spam too. We promise to protect your privacy and never spam you.

I am looking for Editing/ Proofreading services for my manuscript Tentative date of next journal submission:

hypothesis testing in research paper

For what are you most likely to depend on AI-assistance?

Formplus Blog

Hypothesis testing is as old as the scientific method and is at the heart of the research process. 

Research exists to validate or disprove assumptions about various phenomena. The process of validation involves testing and it is in this context that we will explore hypothesis testing. 

What is a Hypothesis? 

A hypothesis is a calculated prediction or assumption about a population parameter based on limited evidence. The whole idea behind hypothesis formulation is testing—this means the researcher subjects his or her calculated assumption to a series of evaluations to know whether they are true or false. 

Typically, every research starts with a hypothesis—the investigator makes a claim and experiments to prove that this claim is true or false . For instance, if you predict that students who drink milk before class perform better than those who don’t, then this becomes a hypothesis that can be confirmed or refuted using an experiment.  

Read: What is Empirical Research Study? [Examples & Method]

What are the Types of Hypotheses? 

1. simple hypothesis.

Also known as a basic hypothesis, a simple hypothesis suggests that an independent variable is responsible for a corresponding dependent variable. In other words, an occurrence of the independent variable inevitably leads to an occurrence of the dependent variable. 

Typically, simple hypotheses are considered as generally true, and they establish a causal relationship between two variables. 

Examples of Simple Hypothesis  

2. Complex Hypothesis

A complex hypothesis is also known as a modal. It accounts for the causal relationship between two independent variables and the resulting dependent variables. This means that the combination of the independent variables leads to the occurrence of the dependent variables . 

Examples of Complex Hypotheses  

3. Null Hypothesis

As the name suggests, a null hypothesis is formed when a researcher suspects that there’s no relationship between the variables in an observation. In this case, the purpose of the research is to approve or disapprove this assumption. 

Examples of Null Hypothesis

Read: Research Report: Definition, Types + [Writing Guide]

4. Alternative Hypothesis 

To disapprove a null hypothesis, the researcher has to come up with an opposite assumption—this assumption is known as the alternative hypothesis. This means if the null hypothesis says that A is false, the alternative hypothesis assumes that A is true. 

An alternative hypothesis can be directional or non-directional depending on the direction of the difference. A directional alternative hypothesis specifies the direction of the tested relationship, stating that one variable is predicted to be larger or smaller than the null value while a non-directional hypothesis only validates the existence of a difference without stating its direction. 

Examples of Alternative Hypotheses  

5. Logical Hypothesis

Logical hypotheses are some of the most common types of calculated assumptions in systematic investigations. It is an attempt to use your reasoning to connect different pieces in research and build a theory using little evidence. In this case, the researcher uses any data available to him, to form a plausible assumption that can be tested. 

Examples of Logical Hypothesis

6. Empirical Hypothesis  

After forming a logical hypothesis, the next step is to create an empirical or working hypothesis. At this stage, your logical hypothesis undergoes systematic testing to prove or disprove the assumption. An empirical hypothesis is subject to several variables that can trigger changes and lead to specific outcomes. 

Examples of Empirical Testing 

7. Statistical Hypothesis

When forming a statistical hypothesis, the researcher examines the portion of a population of interest and makes a calculated assumption based on the data from this sample. A statistical hypothesis is most common with systematic investigations involving a large target audience. Here, it’s impossible to collect responses from every member of the population so you have to depend on data from your sample and extrapolate the results to the wider population. 

Examples of Statistical Hypothesis  

What is Hypothesis Testing? 

Hypothesis testing is an assessment method that allows researchers to determine the plausibility of a hypothesis. It involves testing an assumption about a specific population parameter to know whether it’s true or false. These population parameters include variance, standard deviation, and median. 

Typically, hypothesis testing starts with developing a null hypothesis and then performing several tests that support or reject the null hypothesis. The researcher uses test statistics to compare the association or relationship between two or more variables. 

Explore: Research Bias: Definition, Types + Examples

Researchers also use hypothesis testing to calculate the coefficient of variation and determine if the regression relationship and the correlation coefficient are statistically significant.

How Hypothesis Testing Works

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 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. 

Interesting: 21 Chrome Extensions for Academic Researchers in 2021

What Are The Stages of Hypothesis Testing?  

To successfully confirm or refute an assumption, the researcher goes through five (5) stages of hypothesis testing; 

Like we mentioned earlier, hypothesis testing starts with creating a null hypothesis which stands as an assumption that a certain statement is false or implausible. For example, the null hypothesis (H0) could suggest that different subgroups in the research population react to a variable in the same way. 

Once you know the variables for the null hypothesis, the next step is to determine the alternative hypothesis. The alternative hypothesis counters the null assumption by suggesting the statement or assertion is true. Depending on the purpose of your research, the alternative hypothesis can be one-sided or two-sided. 

Using the example we established earlier, the alternative hypothesis may argue that the different sub-groups react differently to the same variable based on several internal and external factors. 

Many researchers create a 5% allowance for accepting the value of an alternative hypothesis, even if the value is untrue. This means that there is a 0.05 chance that one would go with the value of the alternative hypothesis, despite the truth of the null hypothesis. 

Something to note here is that the smaller the significance level, the greater the burden of proof needed to reject the null hypothesis and support the alternative hypothesis.

Explore: What is Data Interpretation? + [Types, Method & Tools]

Test statistics in hypothesis testing allow you to compare different groups between variables while the p-value accounts for the probability of obtaining sample statistics if your null hypothesis is true. In this case, your test statistics can be the mean, median and similar parameters. 

If your p-value is 0.65, for example, then it means that the variable in your hypothesis will happen 65 in100 times by pure chance. Use this formula to determine the p-value for your data: 

hypothesis testing in research paper

After conducting a series of tests, you should be able to agree or refute the hypothesis based on feedback and insights from your sample data.  

Applications of Hypothesis Testing in Research

Hypothesis testing isn’t only confined to numbers and calculations; it also has several real-life applications in business, manufacturing, advertising, and medicine. 

In a factory or other manufacturing plants, hypothesis testing is an important part of quality and production control before the final products are approved and sent out to the consumer. 

During ideation and strategy development, C-level executives use hypothesis testing to evaluate their theories and assumptions before any form of implementation. For example, they could leverage hypothesis testing to determine whether or not some new advertising campaign, marketing technique, etc. causes increased sales. 

In addition, hypothesis testing is used during clinical trials to prove the efficacy of a drug or new medical method before its approval for widespread human usage. 

What is an Example of Hypothesis Testing?

An employer claims that her workers are of above-average intelligence. She takes a random sample of 20 of them and gets the following results: 

Mean IQ Scores: 110

Standard Deviation: 15 

Mean Population IQ: 100

Step 1: Using the value of the mean population IQ, we establish the null hypothesis as 100.

Step 2: State that the alternative hypothesis is greater than 100.

Step 3: State the alpha level as 0.05 or 5% 

Step 4: Find the rejection region area (given by your alpha level above) from the z-table. An area of .05 is equal to a z-score of 1.645.

Step 5: Calculate the test statistics using this formula

hypothesis testing in research paper

Z = (110–100) ÷ (15÷√20) 

10 ÷ 3.35 = 2.99 

If the value of the test statistics is higher than the value of the rejection region, then you should reject the null hypothesis. If it is less, then you cannot reject the null. 

In this case, 2.99 > 1.645 so we reject the null. 

Importance/Benefits of Hypothesis Testing 

The most significant benefit of hypothesis testing is it allows you to evaluate the strength of your claim or assumption before implementing it in your data set. Also, hypothesis testing is the only valid method to prove that something “is or is not”. Other benefits include: 

Criticism and Limitations of Hypothesis Testing

Several limitations of hypothesis testing can affect the quality of data you get from this process. Some of these limitations include: 


Collect Quality Data for Your Research with Formplus for Free


You may also like:

Alternative vs Null Hypothesis: Pros, Cons, Uses & Examples

We are going to discuss alternative hypotheses and null hypotheses in this post and how they work in research.

hypothesis testing in research paper

Internal Validity in Research: Definition, Threats, Examples

In this article, we will discuss the concept of internal validity, some clear examples, its importance, and how to test it.

Type I vs Type II Errors: Causes, Examples & Prevention

This article will discuss the two different types of errors in hypothesis testing and how you can prevent them from occurring in your research

What is Pure or Basic Research? + [Examples & Method]

Simple guide on pure or basic research, its methods, characteristics, advantages, and examples in science, medicine, education and psychology

Formplus - For Seamless Data Collection

Collect data the right way with a versatile data collection tool. try formplus and transform your work productivity today..


  1. Stirring Hypothesis Testing Research Paper Pdf ~ Museumlegs

    hypothesis testing in research paper

  2. 001 Hypothesis Testing Research Paper Pdf ~ Museumlegs

    hypothesis testing in research paper

  3. Hypothesis Examples For Research Paper : How to formulate a hypothesis for a research paper

    hypothesis testing in research paper

  4. Research Hypothesis Samples

    hypothesis testing in research paper

  5. 💌 Hypothesis in a research paper. How to write a hypothesis in a research paper. 2019-02-20

    hypothesis testing in research paper

  6. Hypothesis Examples For Research Paper : Writing Research Questions And Hypothesis Examples : It

    hypothesis testing in research paper


  1. Introduction to Hypothesis Testing

  2. Hypothesis Testing Introduction

  3. 9.5 Additional Information and Full Hypothesis Test Examples

  4. Section7 1 Introduction to Hypothesis Testing Part2

  5. Statistics: Introduction to Hypothesis Testing



  1. Hypothesis Testing

    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

  2. Hypothesis Testing

    In this article we describe hypothesis testing, which is the process of drawing conclusions on the basis of statistical testing of collected data

  3. An Introduction to Statistics: Understanding Hypothesis Testing and

    A clinical trial begins with an assumption or belief, and then proceeds to either prove or disprove this assumption. In statistical terms, this belief or

  4. Hypothesis tests

    A hypothesis test is a procedure used in statistics to assess whether a particular viewpoint is likely to be true.

  5. Introduction to Hypothesis Testing

    The test statistic is a mathematical formula that allows researchers to determine the likelihood of obtaining sample outcomes if the null hypothesis were true.

  6. Hypothesis Testing

    23.1 How Hypothesis Tests ... Use the test statistic to determine the p-value. ... Researchers conducted two-tailed tests for possibility the.

  7. Hypothesis testing

    When interpreting research findings, researchers need to assess whether these findings may have occurred by chance. Hypothesis testing is a

  8. 6 Steps to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Statistical Hypothesis Testing

    Statistical hypothesis testing is a systematic procedure derived from the research question and decides if the results of a research study

  9. Hypothesis Testing: Definition, Uses, Limitations + Examples

    Hypothesis testing is as old as the scientific method and is at the heart of the research process. Research exists to validate or disprove

  10. (PDF) Hypotheses and Hypothesis Testing

    A hypothesis testing is the pillar of true research findings. This write-up substantiates the role of a hypothesis, steps in hypothesis