# Alternative hypothesis - Biology-Online Dictionary

In the olden days, when people looked up *P* values in printed tables, they would report the results of a statistical test as "*P**P**P*>0.10", etc. Nowadays, almost all computer statistics programs give the exact *P* value resulting from a statistical test, such as *P*=0.029, and that's what you should report in your publications. You will conclude that the results are either significant or they're not significant; they either reject the null hypothesis (if *P* is below your pre-determined significance level) or don't reject the null hypothesis (if *P* is above your significance level). But other people will want to know if your results are "strongly" significant (*P* much less than 0.05), which will give them more confidence in your results than if they were "barely" significant (*P*=0.043, for example). In addition, other researchers will need the exact *P* value if they want to combine your results with others into a .

## Hypothesis testing - Handbook of Biological Statistics

### you reject the null hypothesis and accept an alternative ..

This number, 0.030, is the *P* value. It is defined as the probability of getting the observed result, or a more extreme result, if the null hypothesis is true. So "*P*=0.030" is a shorthand way of saying "The probability of getting 17 or fewer male chickens out of 48 total chickens, *IF* the null hypothesis is true that 50% of chickens are male, is 0.030."

### Learn About Null Hypothesis and Alternative Hypothesis

In the figure above, I used the to calculate the probability of getting each possible number of males, from 0 to 48, under the null hypothesis that 0.5 are male. As you can see, the probability of getting 17 males out of 48 total chickens is about 0.015. That seems like a pretty small probability, doesn't it? However, that's the probability of getting *exactly* 17 males. What you want to know is the probability of getting 17 *or fewer* males. If you were going to accept 17 males as evidence that the sex ratio was biased, you would also have accepted 16, or 15, or 14,… males as evidence for a biased sex ratio. You therefore need to add together the probabilities of all these outcomes. The probability of getting 17 or fewer males out of 48, under the null hypothesis, is 0.030. That means that if you had an infinite number of chickens, half males and half females, and you took a bunch of random samples of 48 chickens, 3.0% of the samples would have 17 or fewer males.