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Psy 315 Wk 3 DQ 1.




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Week 3 DQ 1
What is the five-step process for hypothesis testing? Is the order important? Explain why or
why not. Why do alphas differ among different fields of scientific investigation? How do
ethics affect your chosen level of significance?
Step 1: Specify the Null Hypothesis
The null hypothesis is a statement of no effect, relationship, or difference between two or
more groups or factors.
Step 2: Specify the Alternative Hypothesis
The alternative hypothesis is the statement that there is an effect or difference. This is usually
the hypothesis the researcher is interested in proving. The alternative hypothesis can be one-
sided or two-sided. We often use two-sided tests even when our true hypothesis is one-sided
because it requires more evidence against the null hypothesis to accept the alternative
Step 3: Set the Significance Level (a)
The significance level is generally set at 0.05. This means that there is a 5% chance that you
will accept your alternative hypothesis when your null hypothesis is actually true. The
smaller the significance level, the greater the burden of proof needed to reject the null
hypothesis, or in other words, to support the alternative hypothesis.
Step 4: Calculate the Test Statistic and Corresponding P-Value
Hypothesis testing generally uses a test statistic that compares groups or examines
associations between variables. When describing a single sample without establishing
relationships between variables, a confidence interval is commonly used.
The p-value describes the probability of obtaining a sample statistic as or more extreme by
chance alone if your null hypothesis is true. This p-value is determined based on the result of
your test statistic. Your conclusions about the hypothesis are based on your p-value and your
significance level.
Step 5: Drawing a Conclusion
Hypothesis testing is not set up so that you can absolutely prove a null hypothesis. Therefore,
when you do not find evidence against the null hypothesis, you fail to reject the null
hypothesis. When you do find strong enough evidence against the null hypothesis, you reject
the null hypothesis. Your conclusions also translate into a statement about your alternative

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Is the order important? Yes, it is - they are in order according to which step is done first. You
cannot do step 4 before step 2.
There are different levels of alphas that are used in areas of research where there are more
likely to be erroneous findings, such as neuroscience. Sometimes researchers try to cheat and
use big alphas to say their results are “significant” when really they are not too reliable or
impressive. Decisions based on probability will always be wrong a proportion of the time. It
is always wrong for anyone to believe anything based upon insufficient evidence.

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