Suppose that I did an experiment and collected a dataset. In previous literature these type of dataset are explained by a well-accepted model, called Model M. I believe that the Model M cannot explain my data, so I need to test it.

One procedure to accomplish this is through a hypothesis test:

$H_o:$ The data's distribution is same as the Model M's predicted distribution.

$H_1:$ The data's distribution is not distributed according to Model M.

Is this procedure reasonable? Or has anyone set the null-hypothesis as an existing model? If anyone has done it then I think I can justify this procedure, too.

I think, at a first glance, this null should be fine. However, usually the $H_o$ is something like "the data is random", and the $H_1$ is something like: "the data is explained the model". I am basically swapping the position of $H_o$ and $H_1$.

All details are taken from the real world problem as exact numbers:

The dataset contains seven columns and 1246 ranks. For the seven columns, there are six independent variables, $x\in\mathbb R^6$, and one dependent variable $y\in \{-1,1\}$.

For each $x$, variables are inputted in the experiment, and the resulted $y$ will be either -1 or 1.

The experiment is done for 1246 times, each time with a different $\theta$.

The model M is a deterministic real function $\hat y=\text{sgn} [f(x,\theta)+\epsilon]$.

$\epsilon$ is an error term. When $\text{sgn} [f(x,\theta)+\epsilon]=0$, set $\hat y=1$.

Of course, to make it a statistical model, there has to be an error term, which is either normal distribution or Extreme Value Type I Distribution (because this is basically a binary choice problem).

Then, there are two different ways of finding $\theta$:

  1. $\theta$ is estimated through MLE using the entire dataset. In this case, $\theta$ is same for all 1246 rows.

  2. The 1246 rows of data are equally divided into 89 different groups based on the person who did the experiment. 89 different $\theta$ will be estimated.

  • $\begingroup$ There are lots of goodness-of-fit tests. The null hypothesis is that the model is correct and we are looking for evidence to the contrary. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 28, 2021 at 23:55
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    $\begingroup$ 1. You have it the "usual" way around for a hypothesis test. "The data are random" is too vague for a hypothesis (random, how, specifically?). Once you pin down what that exactly means, you'll usually see it relate more closely to the sort of null you have in your question. 2. This is the second recent post I've seen from you where you appear to be excessively coy about your models. This is very likely to lead to a perfectly reasonable answer to the wrong question. Very often the specifics yield important details that get left out of a vague generalization ...and which may change the answer. $\endgroup$
    – Glen_b
    Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 3:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Glen_b Thanks for you comment. Those two questions are about different models. I was trying to put the question to be as general as possible because giving too much details will make this question too specific and it is against the rule of MSE (not sure about StatSE). Too my limited knowledge, MSE explicitly discourages specific questions that are too specific, only benefit one person, and consider home-work questions. Probably I have misunderstandings. Still much much appreciate for your efforts; I will attach specific examples next time. $\endgroup$
    – High GPA
    Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 4:54
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    $\begingroup$ Probably most questions at MSE are rather general. Cross Validated gets many applied questions from academic researchers and professional data analysts, where details are important. I think it’s fine for CV and MSE to diverge in this way. $\endgroup$
    – Dave
    Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 5:01
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    $\begingroup$ Oh, and if the extreme value distribution you mentioned was the Gumbel, you'd get a cloglog model. There's other choices but those three would cover well over 99% of the GLM models that people fit to binary data. (Edit: yep, type I is Gumbel ...I don't remember the numbers) $\endgroup$
    – Glen_b
    Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 10:11

1 Answer 1


That’s fine. A standard example of this is the Shapiro-Wilk test, which has a null hypothesis that the data come from a normal distribution and an alternative hypothesis that the data do not come from a normal distribution.

Keep in mind, however, that hypothesis testing is literal, and, given a large sample size, will (correctly) indicate statistical significance when there might not be practical significance.

Is normality testing 'essentially useless'?


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