You have seen the χ2 test statistic used in three different circumstances. The following bulleted list is a summary that will help you decide which χ2 test is the appropriate one to use:
- Goodness-of-Fit: Use the goodness-of-fit test to decide whether a population with an unknown distribution fits a known distribution. In this case there will be a single qualitative survey question or a single outcome of an experiment from a single population. Goodness-of-fit is typically used to see if the population is uniform (all outcomes occur with equal frequency), the population is normal, or the population is the same as another population with a known distribution. The null and alternative hypotheses are as follows:
Ha: The population does not fit the given distribution.
- Independence: Use the test for independence to decide whether two variables—factors—are independent or dependent. In this case there will be two qualitative survey questions or experiments and a contingency table will be constructed. The goal is to see if the two variables are unrelated/independent or related/dependent. The null and alternative hypotheses are as follows:
Ha: The two variables, factors, are dependent.
- Homogeneity: Use the test for homogeneity to decide if two populations with unknown distributions have the same distribution. In this case there will be a single qualitative survey question or experiment given to two different populations. The null and alternative hypotheses are as follows:
Ha: The two populations have different distributions.