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In the above rating scale example, if the result of our statistical test for this one
attitude scale item indicates that our sample mean is “close to 4,” we say that we
accept the null hypothesis that the parents of 8 th grade pupils were neither satisfied
nor dissatisfied with the quality of the science program offered by their son’s or
daughter’s school.
In the above example, if the result of our statistical test indicates that the sample
mean is significantly different from 4 , we reject the null hypothesis and accept the
research hypothesis by stating either that :
“Parents of 8 th grade pupils were significantly satisfied with the quality of the science
program offered by their son’s or daughter’s school” (this is true whenever our sample
mean is significantly greater than our expected population mean of 4).
or
“Parents of 8 th grade pupils were significantly dissatisfied with the quality of the science
program offered by their son’s or daughter’s school” (this is accepted as true whenever our
sample mean is significantly less than our expected population mean of 4).
Both of these conclusions cannot be true. We accept one of the hypotheses as
“true” based on the data set in our research study, and the other one as “not true”
based on our data set.
The job of the research scientist, then, is to decide which of these two
hypotheses, the null hypothesis or the research hypothesis, he or she will accept
as true given the data set in the research study.
Let’s try some examples of rating scales so that you can practice figuring out
what the null hypothesis and the research hypothesis are for each rating scale.
In the spaces in Fig. 3.7 , write in the null hypothesis and the research hypothesis
for the rating scales:
How did you do?
Here are the answers to these three questions:
m ¼
m
1. The null hypothesis is
3, and the research hypothesis is
3 on this 5-point
scale (i.e. the “middle” of the scale is 3).
2. The null hypothesis is
m ¼
4, and the research hypothesis is
m
4 on this 7-point
scale (i.e., the “middle” of the scale is 4).
3. The null hypothesis is
5.5 on this 10-
point scale (i.e., the “middle” of the scale is 5.5 since there are 5 numbers below
5.5 and 5 numbers above 5.5).
m ¼
5.5, and the research hypothesis is
m
As another example, suppose Texas Parks and Wildlife uses a 4-point scale in its
post-hunting satisfaction survey. The results of this survey are used to determine the
number of licenses issued for wildlife management the following hunting season.
The scale is as follows:
1
¼
Not So Good
2
¼
Average
3
¼
Very Good
4
¼
Great
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