Null and Alternate Hypotheses

“A hypothesis is an idea that can be tested” .There are two hypotheses that are made: the null hypothesis, denoted H0, and the alternative hypothesis, denoted H1or HA.




The null and alternative hypotheses are two mutually exclusive statements about a population. A hypothesis test uses sample data to determine whether to reject the null hypothesis.

The null hypothesis (H0 ), stated as the null, is a statement about a population parameter, such as the population mean, that is assumed to be true. The null hypothesis is a starting point. We will test whether the value stated in the null hypothesis is likely to be true. This states that there is no relation between the phenomena under investigation. An example of a null hypothesis statement is: There is no relationship between gender and income

The null hypothesis is the one to be tested and the alternative is everything else.

In our example: The null hypothesis would be: The mean data scientist salary is 113,000 dollars. While the alternative: The mean data scientist salary is not 113,000 dollars.

Now, you would want to check if 113,000 is close enough to the true mean, predicted by our sample. In case it is, you would accept the null hypothesis. Otherwise, you would reject the null hypothesis.The concept of the null hypothesis is similar to: innocent until proven guilty. We assume that the mean salary is 113,000 dollars and we try to prove otherwise.

An alternative hypothesis (H1 ) is a statement that directly contradicts a null hypothesis by stating that that the actual value of a population parameter is less than, greater than, or not equal to the value stated in the null hypothesis. The alternative hypothesis states what we think is wrong about the null hypothesis. Alternative hypothesis is also referred to as the research hypothesis. It states that the researcher wishes to approve or disapprove. It is always a contrary of the null hypothesis and has the following forms.

The alternative will cover everything else, thus: The mean data scientist salary is less than or equal to 125,000 dollars.

A hypothesis is an approximate explanation that relates to the set of facts that can be tested by certain further investigations. There are basically two types, namely, null hypothesis and alternative hypothesis. A research generally starts with a problem. Next, these hypotheses provide the researcher with some specific restatements and clarifications of the research problem.

The criteria of the research problem in the form of null hypothesis and alternative hypothesis should be expressed as a relationship between two or more variables. The criteria is that the statements should be the one that expresses the relationship between the two or more measurable variables. The null hypothesis and alternative hypothesis should carry clear implications for testing and stating relations.

The major differences between the null hypothesis and alternative hypothesis and the research problems are that the research problems are simple questions that cannot be tested. These two hypotheses can be tested, though.

The null hypothesis and alternative hypothesis are required to be fragmented properly before the data collection and interpretation phase in the research. Well fragmented hypotheses indicate that the researcher has adequate knowledge in that particular area and is thus able to take the investigation further because they can use a much more systematic system. It gives direction to the researcher on his/her collection and interpretation of data.

The null hypothesis and alternative hypothesis are useful only if they state the expected relationship between the variables or if they are consistent with the existing body of knowledge. They should be expressed as simply and concisely as possible. They are useful if they have explanatory power.


The purpose and importance of the null hypothesis and alternative hypothesis are that they provide an approximate description of the phenomena. The purpose is to provide the researcher or an investigator with a relational statement that is directly tested in a research study. The purpose is to provide the framework for reporting the inferences of the study. The purpose is to behave as a working instrument of the theory. The purpose is to prove whether or not the test is supported, which is separated from the investigator’s own values and decisions. They also provide direction to the research.

The null hypothesis is generally denoted as H0. It states the exact opposite of what an investigator or an experimenter predicts or expects. It basically defines the statement which states that there is no exact or actual relationship between the variables.

The alternative hypothesis is generally denoted as H1. It makes a statement that suggests or advises a potential result or an outcome that an investigator or the researcher may expect. It has been categorized into two categories: directional alternative hypothesis and non directional alternative hypothesis.

The directional hypothesis is a kind that explains the direction of the expected findings. Sometimes this type of alternative hypothesis is developed to examine the relationship among the variables rather than a comparison between the groups.

The non directional hypothesis is a kind that has no definite direction of the expected findings being specified.