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A SECOND LOOK AT RESEARCH HYPOTHESES VERSUS STATISTICAL HYPOTHESES

What ofthen confuses the novice researcher is that testing the null
hyphotesis involves nothing more than a statistical comparison of the data from
two situations one hypothetical ( a theoretical distribution) and one real (the
data collected from a research sample). To the research data, we apply certain
statistical produres to determine whether calculated values sufficiently diverge
from the statistical ideal to reject the null hypothesis.

It is frequently the case the statistical hypothesis is the opposite of the


research hyphothesis. For example, we might, as our researc hyphotesis, propose
that two groups are different from one another. As we begin our statistical
analysis, we set out to set test the statistical hypothesis that the two groups are
the same. By disconfirming the null hypothesis, we indirectly find support for our
research hypothesis. This is, to be sure, a backdoor approach to finding evidence
for a research hypothesis, yet it is the approach is that typically taken.(Taken
reason for this approach are too complex to be dealt with in a text such as this
one; suffice it to say that it is statistically much easier to test a hypothesis that
an equivalence exists than a hypothesis that a difference exists)

We should look at hypothesis testing from another point of view as well.


Testing the null hyphothesis, in and of itself , does not contribute much to the
fulfillment of the basic aim of research: a systematic quest for undicovered
knowledge . Earlier, we described statistic as tools that enable us to find patterns
in the data. Thus they help us detect possible dynamics working within data.
These imporant dynamics are what the reseacher seeks to identify and evaluate.

Statistical hypothesis teting is of critical importance to researches who must


make decisions based on statistical characteristic of samples. All researchers
must ultimately develop an intelectual acuity that looks with unprejudiced
candor at their procedures and result One must never stop at running data
through a statistical formula and ending up with one or more numeical values.
One must also interpret those values and give them meanig . the letter process
includess the former, but the two should never confused