Santa and the Null Hypothesis
Here's a joke that come to me via email from someone in an electronic "discussion group" that I belong to:
Most of you do not know that when Santa was a young man he had to take a statistics course. When the class started covering two-sided hypothesis tests, he had a lot of trouble remembering where to put the equal sign. He started repeating to himself "The equal sign goes in the null hypothesis . . . the equal sign goes in the null hypothesis . . . the equal sign goes in the null hypothesis." Eventually, Santa was able to shorten this phrase to make it easier to remember. In fact, to this day you can still hear him say "Ho, Ho, Ho."
My comment is simply this: In hypothesis testing, the null hypothesis is usually (but not always) written so that it DOES, IN FACT, have an equal sign in it. In contrast, the alternative hypothesis is usually (but not always) written so that it does NOT have an equal sign. If you'll remember our last quiz, one of the items asked you to select, from four options, the symbolic statement that corresponded with the study's null hypothesis. Only one of those options had an equal sign . . . and that particular option was the correct answer!
Copyright © 2012
Schuyler W. Huck