Stating null and alternative hypotheses has become one of the basic cornerstones of conducting epidemiological research. A hypothesis is typically defined as a tentative proposal or statement that explains certain observations or facts and is testable by further investigation. Testing hypotheses allows researchers to assess scientifically whether the explanation in question can be falsified. Critical to this process is the idea that, in research, it can never be directly proven that a proposition is true. To do so would imply that the results of a single study would hold across all time, all persons, and all cultures. Therefore, falsification of the null hypothesis has become the basis of scientific investigation as currently practiced.

Researchers approach the idea of ‘truth’ indirectly by developing and testing null ...

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