Type 1 and Type 2 errors

  • Created by: *lucy*
  • Created on: 12-03-19 11:41

Type 1 error

This error occurs when we reject the null hypothesis when we should have retained it. That means that we believe we found a genuine effect when in reality there isn’t one. The probability of a type I error occurring is represented by α and as a convention, the threshold is set at 0.05 (also known as significance level). When setting a threshold at 0.05 we are accepting that there is a 5% probability of identifying an effect when actually there isn’t one.

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Type 2 error

This error occurs when we fail to reject the null hypothesis. In other words, we believe that there isn’t a genuine effect when actually there is one. The probability of a Type II error is represented as β and this is related to the power of the test (power = 1- β). Cohen (1998) proposed that the maximum accepted probability of a Type II error should be 20% (β = 0.2).

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Aviod errors

When designing and planning a study the researcher should decide the values of α and β, bearing in mind that inferential statistics involve a balance between Type I and Type II errors. If α is set at a very small value the researcher is more rigorous with the standards of rejection of the null hypothesis. For example, if α = 0.01 the researcher is accepting a probability of 1% of erroneously rejecting the null hypothesis, but there is an increase in the probability of a Type II error.

In summary, we can see on the table the possible outcomes of a hypothesis test:

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