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The null and alternative hypotheses are types of inferential statistics that we use to determine things about a population. We use the null hypothesis, or the “no-change” hypothesis, as the starting point of our inferential statistics; this hypothesis is the current reported condition of the population parameter we are examining (Durham College, 2011). The alternative hypothesis is another key starting point in inferential statistics, however it is based upon the result of the null hypothesis. The alternative hypothesis is the value of the population parameter, given the rejection of the null hypothesis (Durham College, 2011).

According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, adults should spend approximately 150 minutes per week exercising in some fashion, whether it be walking, weight-training, calisthenics, or any other form of exercise (CDC, 2015). In analyzing data for a population parameter, we wish to discover whether a factor or a treatment will influence the overall population (University of Wollongong Australia, 2013). We can determine this by conducting a research experiment that utilizes the available evidence and data to answer questions (University of Wollongong Australia, 2013). Given our data in Table 1, which describes the amount of time an individual spends working out over a period of five days, we want to determine “whether adults who get the recommended weekly amount of exercise are healthier” (as per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention). To answer this question, we can create null and alternative hypotheses to examine the patterns of the population parameters.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Cardio 35 40 Rest 60 0
Weight 35 20 Rest 0 60

Table 1: The number of minutes one spends working out every day, over a period of 5 days.

If we treat the data in Table 1 as the starting sample data for our experiment, then we can utilize it as a basis to answer our proposed research question. To validate our research question, we must collect additional data that represents a larger portion of the population to create statistically significant facts.[Click Essay Writer to order your essay] In determining whether adults who get the recommended amount of exercise are healthier, we must create both the null and alternative hypotheses as the starting point of our research (University of Wollongong Australia, 2013). In creating the null hypothesis, we must ask which parameter results in no effects on the population; that is, which parameters exhibit zero change (University of Wollongong Australia, 2013). From our proposed research question, this would be equivalent to “adults who get the recommended amount of exercise are not healthier than those who do not”.

Given that the alternative hypothesis results from the rejection of the null hypothesis, it would become “adults who get the recommended weekly amount of exercise are healthier than those who do not”. Our goal in answering our research question will be to reject the null hypothesis, and from this, accept the alternative hypothesis (University of Wollongong Australia, 2013). Once we have collected an adequate amount of data that rejects the null hypothesis, then we can accept the alternative hypothesis and prove our research question (University of Wollongong Australia, 2013). For our data to become significant, the rejection of the null hypothesis needs to be strong enough that it could not be explained by random fluctuations in data collection (Durham College, 2011).  [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]

This research question was chosen as an extension of the previously utilized sample data. The current data set answers the question of whether or not the particular individual gets enough exercise, however to expand this to the rest of the population, we must collect additional data to correlate this to overall health. This could be conducted by interviewing a series of individuals who get varying amounts of exercise, from zero minutes per week to over five hundred minutes per week, then asking them general questions about their overall health. If most of the healthiest individuals also get the most exercise, then we can reject our null hypothesis and accept our alternative hypothesis, thus proving our research question. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]


CDC. (2015, June 4). How much physical activity do adults need? Retrieved from CDC: Durham College. (2011, July 27). Statistics: The Null and Alternate Hypotheses. Retrieved from Student Academic Learning Services:

University of Wollongong Australia. (2013, August 12). 4.1 Using null and alternative hypotheses.Retrieved from University of Wollongong Australia:

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By Hanna Robinson

Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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