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Testing Hypotheses about a Mean

Testing a Hypothesis about a Mean

Given a population (, ), we saw that when we obtain a sample of n scores through random sampling and computed the sample mean of our scores, the means would vary from sample to sample. How do we infer the value of the population mean () when our sample mean is only one of many different sample means? Translate research question into a statistical hypothesis.

Testing a Hypothesis about a Mean

Large, national population of 6th grade students that took a math achievement test. Test manual indicates that the national norm for 6th grade students is 85. From our district, we have a sample (n = 100) of 6th grade students that complete the same test. Are they at the same level as students in the population? Statistical hypothesis: H0: X = 85.
The

population mean of the math achievement scores in our district is 85.

Testing a Hypothesis about a Mean

Hypotheses are always about parameters NOT statistics. H0 is for null hypothesis. It is tested by the researcher.
We

can reject or fail to reject (retain) H0. Null hypothesis is NOT synonymous with zero or nil hypothesis.

Every H0 has an alternative hypothesis (HA). It is the hypothesis that the researcher hopes is true.
X 85. Examples of alternative hypotheses (HA).
H A:

Testing a Hypothesis about a Mean

When do we reject or fail to reject H0?


If

a sample mean is so different from what is expected when H0 is true that it would be so unlikely to have occurred by chance, reject H0. Otherwise, do not reject H0. criterion is called the level of significance symbolized by alpha (). Often, .05.

What is the criterion for unlikely or unusual?


The

General Steps for Testing Hypotheses


1. Specify H0 and HA about a parameter of the population. 2. Random sample drawn from population and the value of the sample statistic is calculated. 3. Examine random sampling distribution of the sample statistic to learn what sample outcomes would occur by chance over an infinite number of repetitions (and with what probability) if H0 is true. 4. H0 is retained if the sample statistic is in line with the outcomes expected if H0 is true. Otherwise, reject H0 and accept HA.

Testing a Hypothesis about a Mean


Returning to our example: H0: X = 85 HA: X 85 Sample of 6th grade students (n = 100). The sample mean on the math achievement test for these students was 90. We will adopt the conventional .05 level of significance.
We will reject H0 only if our sample mean is so deviant that it falls in the upper .025 or lower .025 of all possible sample means that would occur by chance when H0 is true. Fail to reject H0 if our sample mean falls in the central .95.

Critical values

Critical values: value(s) that separates the region of rejection from the region of retention. In our case, look under Table A in Appendix D for the critical z values. Region of rejection: portion of the sampling distribution that leads to rejection of H0. Region of retention: portion of the sampling distribution that leads to retention of H0.

Testing a Hypothesis about a Mean

We have a sample mean of 90. But, we still need to determine the relative position of our sample mean. How do we do this?

X X

X X

Assume = 20.

Testing a Hypothesis about a Mean

X X

90 85 2.5 20 n 100

X X

Assume = 20.

Conclusion: Reject H0. It is unreasonable to believe that the mean of the population from which the sample came is 85.

Rejecting versus Retaining H0

Rejecting H0 indicates that it does not seem reasonable to believe that H0 is true. Failing to reject (or retaining) H0 indicates that we do not have sufficient evidence to reject H0.
NEVER

say that we accept H0.

Testing a Hypothesis about a Mean

Nondirectional hypothesis test. Two-tailed test.


Possible

to detect difference between true value and hypothesized value of the parameter regardless of direction of the difference. See previous example

Directional hypothesis test. One-tailed test.


Interest

lies in detecting differences in a particular direction. For example: H0: X = 100 HA: X < 100

For our one-tailed test, if our sample mean was 130, would we reject H0 or fail to reject H0? Why?

Testing a Hypothesis about a Mean

In the example involving 6th grade students, we computed a z statistic associated with the corresponding sample mean. Here, was known. If is unknown, we use a different statistic called a t statistic. Because is unknown, we must estimate with s (the unbiased sample standard deviation). Thus, instead of converting our sample mean to a z, we are converting our sample mean to a t.

When is Unknown
z X X X X

Instead of:

We use:

X X X X t s sX n

When is Unknown
Because is unknown, the Standard Error of the Mean is also unknown.

X X

X X

By using s, we have an Estimate of the Standard Error of the Mean.

X X X X t s sX n

t distribution

The t statistic is an approximation of z. t is not normally distributed. The proper distribution of t was discovered by William S. Gosset who published under the pseudonym Student. Gosset discovered this distribution while working at Guinness Brewing Company. The distribution came to be known as Students distribution of t.

Characteristics of the t Distribution

Not a single distribution, but a family of distributions. Each differs in its approximation to the standard normal curve. Exact shape of a t distribution depends on the sample size, or more specifically, the degrees of freedom (df). When testing a hypothesis about a single mean, df = n 1. Because Students distribution of t is an approximation of z, not surprisingly, t shares some similarities to z.
Mean of 0. Unimodal. Symmetric.

Characteristics of the t Distribution

Differences between t and z. The t distribution:


is narrower at the peak and it has fatter tails than z. has a larger standard deviation than z.

What is the standard deviation of the z distribution?

depends on df.
Consider a hypothesis test about a mean when n = 5. df =? Consider a hypothesis test about a mean when n = 13. df =? Consider when we have an infinite sample size. df = .

As N increases, the variance of the t distribution approaches the variance of the standard normal distribution1

t Distribution

In summary, when is unknown, we will use t to test a hypothesis about a mean. Instead of referring to the z table, we will refer to the table for Students distribution of t (Table D in Appendix D). To use this table, need to know:
df whether

our test is one-tailed or two-tailed

Example 1

Background: Based on a babys chronologic age, there are various psychomotor skills that a baby should attain (e.g., looking at own hand, able to grasp objects voluntarily, roll from front to back, etc.). On the index below, we will assume that higher scores suggest more impairment while lower scores suggest having advanced psychomotor development (relative to age).

Example 1

Sample of 56 low birth weight babies. The Psychomotor Development Index (PDI) was administered when 6 months old. For a normal population of babies, the mean on the PDI is 100. For our sample of babies, the mean PDI score was 104.125. The sample standard deviation of the PDI scores was 12.584. Does the population mean from which our sample came differ from that of a normal population? Assume = .05.

Example 1

H0: = 100 HA: 100

X X X X 104.125 100 t 2.45 s 12.584 sX n 56

Table D in Appendix D. df = 55. Critical t = 2.004.

Example 1

Conclusion: Reject H0. The population from which our sample was drawn differs significantly from the normal population of children on the PDI. It appears that the population from which our sample was drawn is more impaired in terms of their psychomotor skills.

Example 2

Background: A Health Director at a local university believes that students at her campus are very healthconscious and, as a result, tend to consume less sugar than do most people living in the U.S. The director knows that the average person in the U.S. consumes 100 lbs. of sugar a year (mostly in the form of soft drinks, candy, pastries).

Example 2

The director decides to obtain a random sample of 25 students enrolled at the university and determine the quantity of sugar consumed by each student during a 2-week period. (Note that yearly sugar consumption can be calculated by multiplying the 2-week total by 26.) Assume = .05. The mean yearly amount of sugar consumed by the 25 students is 80 (= 3.0769 x 26).

The sample standard deviation for the yearly amount of sugar consumed by the 25 students is 35.5.

Example 2

H0: = 100 HA: < 100

X X X X 80 100 t 2.8169 s 35.5 sX n 25

Table D in Appendix D. df = 24. Critical t = 1.711.

Example 2

Conclusion: Reject H0. The population from which our sample was drawn differs significantly from the population mean yearly amount of sugar consumed in the U.S. The population of students at the university are more health conscious than the typical person in the U.S.