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A Null and an Alternate Hypothesis Essay

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Updated: May 9th, 2022

Coming up with hypotheses from a number of research questions is quite an easy task. To achieve this, study the research questions keenly, and come up with a positive statement about the scenario; that is, a statement that suggests that there is a relationship between two variables, for research that seeks to establish the existence of a correlation between variables or come up with a statement that suggests a difference between groups. This will be an alternative hypothesis. On the other hand, a negative statement that does not suggest a relationship and difference respectively will be a null hypothesis (Siegle, n.d.).

A null hypothesis, normally denoted by Ho, is a proposition that forms the basis of an argument, by being proven to be either true or false. Normally, a null hypothesis is framed in such a way that it suggests the non-existence of a relationship between variables, or the non-existence of a difference between groups. The reason why the null hypothesis is structured this way is that the hypothesis is normally formulated for rejection. That is, as one formulates the null hypothesis, he/she intends to use it to determine the existence of a relationship between variables or investigate the similarity between two groups. A fact about the null hypothesis that can also e considered as its use is that the final findings of any statistical hypothesis test are presented in terms of the null hypothesis. Another thing to note is that it is considered unprofessional to accept the null hypothesis. In case, the analysis of research data shows that the null hypothesis is not false, one should say that he/she does not reject the null hypothesis (Easton, and McColl, 2006, p. 1). An example of a null hypothesis is:

  • Ho: there is no significant difference between drug A and drug B.

An alternative hypothesis, normally denoted by H1, is a proposition that is made to support what the statistical test intends to establish. That is, it is not formulated for rejection like the null hypothesis. Therefore, the alternative hypothesis is used to state the intention of the study, and test. It thus comes in handy, in situations where the null hypothesis is rejected because it gives the status quo of the variables or groups being tested (Easton, and McColl, 2006, p. 1). For instance, in the null hypothesis above, the intention of the study, and the test could have been to establish if a newly developed drug is better than an existent one. The alternative hypothesis for the given null hypothesis would therefore be something like:

  • H1: drug A is better than drug B.

Therefore, for every null hypothesis, there should be an alternative hypothesis that is framed in such a way that it is more or less the opposite of the null hypothesis.

As evidenced in the discussion above, the alternative hypothesis and the null hypothesis are literally competing. The hypotheses are thus “mutually exclusive and exhaustive” (Easton, and McColl, 2006, p. 1). It is also evident that the null hypothesis is always assumed to e true, although it is formulated for rejection. It is thus true that the null hypothesis is structured in such a way that it will prove that a certain situation is not like it may be thought to be, in case it is rejected, or that a certain situation is as it is thought to be. In the latter case, it is not rejected.

Reference List

Easton, V. J., & McColl, J., H. (2006). .

Siegle, D. (n.d.). Null and Alternative Hypotheses. Web.

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