Glossary of Statistical Terms: Definition Alternative hypothesis

Hypotheses are derived from statistical observations and facts amongst other things, and take the form of statements or conclusions in particular contexts. Going beyond current knowledge on particular subjects, an assumption is established. When a hypothesis either contradicts or complements current knowledge, it is labeled the counter or alternative hypothesis. “The earth is a sphere” is an example of an early alternative hypothesis, going against the established view that the earth is flat. A hypothesis against the alternative hypothesis is known as the null hypothesis.

Please note that the definitions in our statistics encyclopedia are simplified explanations of terms. Our goal is to make the definitions accessible for a broad audience; thus it is possible that some definitions do not adhere entirely to scientific standards.

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