The alternative hypothesis is the hypothesis that is inferred, given a rejected null hypothesis. Also called the research hypothesis, it is best described as an explanation for why the null hypothesis was rejected. Unlike the null, the alternative hypothesis is usually of most interest to the researcher.

This entry distinguishes between two types of alternatives: the substantive and the statistical. In addition, this entry provides an example and discusses the importance of experimental controls in the inference of alternative hypotheses and the rejection of the null hypothesis.

Substantive or Conceptual Alternative

It is important to distinguish between the substantive (or conceptual, scientific) alternative and the statistical alternative. The conceptual alternative is that which is inferred by the scientist given a rejected null. It is an explanation or theory ...

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