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When social scientific communication researchers are seeking to test a theory or idea, they typically pose a hypothesis, collect data, and then analyze that data in order to make a judgment regarding the proposed hypothesis. However, the hypothesis proposed in most research studies is actually the alternative hypothesis (also called the research hypothesis or the residual hypothesis). The alternative hypothesis, which typically proposes some level of correlation or correlations between variables or differences between groups or factors, is the alternative to the hypothesis that is actually being tested—the null hypothesis (H0). This entry introduces the null hypothesis, discusses why it is controversial, and considers its application in communication research.

Defining the Null Hypothesis

The alternative hypothesis is a statement of the relationship between variables or differences ...

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