Section 5: Hypothesis Testing

Fundamentals of Social Statistics by Adam J. McKee

In the first chapter, we made a passing mention of a family of techniques called inferential statistics.  We quickly moved ahead with an in-depth discussion of descriptive statistics, leaving our discussion of statistical inference for some future date.  That time has come; this chapter concerns itself with the essence of inferential statistics:  testing null hypotheses.

As we move on, we will discuss several different statistical tests.  These are all different, and which one you should choose depends on your research question and, by extension, the nature of the data that you have collected.  While these methods have different assumptions and involve different computations, they all have the same underlying logic.  If you understand the logic of hypothesis testing, then you can move on with confidence.  If you don’t understand why you are doing all these different tests, it becomes a jumbled mess in your mind.  Be sure to master the underlying logic of hypothesis testing before you move on to trying to understand particular hypothesis tests!

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Last Modified:  11/15/2023

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