# hypothesis test

hypothesis test
an abstract procedure for determining whether a set of observations is consistent with a hypothesis under consideration; it is the theoretical basis of most statistical tests. A hypothesis test decides between two hypotheses, one stating that the effect under investigation does not exist (the null hypothesis, H0>), and the other that some specified effect does exist (the alternative hypothesis, Ha> or H1>), based on the observed value of a test statistic whose sampling distribution is completely determined by H0>. When the test statistic falls in a set of values known as the critical region, H0> is rejected. The level of probability of incorrectly rejecting H0> may be set before the data are collected, usually at 0.05 or 0.01; this is called the significance level or α level. It is now more common to report the smallest α at which the null hypothesis can be rejected; this is called the significance probability or P value>.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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