# Sign test - overview

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Sign test
Binomial test for a single proportion
One way ANOVA
Independent variableIndependent variableIndependent/grouping variable
2 paired groupsNoneOne categorical with $I$ independent groups ($I \geqslant 2$)
Dependent variableDependent variableDependent variable
One of ordinal levelOne categorical with 2 independent groupsOne quantitative of interval or ratio level
Null hypothesisNull hypothesisNull hypothesis
• H0: P(first score of a pair exceeds second score of a pair) = P(second score of a pair exceeds first score of a pair)
If the dependent variable is measured on a continuous scale, this can also be formulated as:
• H0: the population median of the difference scores is equal to zero
A difference score is the difference between the first score of a pair and the second score of a pair.
H0: $\pi = \pi_0$

Here $\pi$ is the population proportion of 'successes', and $\pi_0$ is the population proportion of successes according to the null hypothesis.
ANOVA $F$ test:
• H0: $\mu_1 = \mu_2 = \ldots = \mu_I$
$\mu_1$ is the population mean for group 1; $\mu_2$ is the population mean for group 2; $\mu_I$ is the population mean for group $I$
$t$ Test for contrast:
• H0: $\Psi = 0$
$\Psi$ is the population contrast, defined as $\Psi = \sum a_i\mu_i$. Here $\mu_i$ is the population mean for group $i$ and $a_i$ is the coefficient for $\mu_i$. The coefficients $a_i$ sum to 0.
$t$ Test multiple comparisons:
• H0: $\mu_g = \mu_h$
$\mu_g$ is the population mean for group $g$; $\mu_h$ is the population mean for group $h$
Alternative hypothesisAlternative hypothesisAlternative hypothesis
• H1 two sided: P(first score of a pair exceeds second score of a pair) $\neq$ P(second score of a pair exceeds first score of a pair)
• H1 right sided: P(first score of a pair exceeds second score of a pair) > P(second score of a pair exceeds first score of a pair)
• H1 left sided: P(first score of a pair exceeds second score of a pair) < P(second score of a pair exceeds first score of a pair)
If the dependent variable is measured on a continuous scale, this can also be formulated as:
• H1 two sided: the population median of the difference scores is different from zero
• H1 right sided: the population median of the difference scores is larger than zero
• H1 left sided: the population median of the difference scores is smaller than zero
H1 two sided: $\pi \neq \pi_0$
H1 right sided: $\pi > \pi_0$
H1 left sided: $\pi < \pi_0$
ANOVA $F$ test:
• H1: not all population means are equal
$t$ Test for contrast:
• H1 two sided: $\Psi \neq 0$
• H1 right sided: $\Psi > 0$
• H1 left sided: $\Psi < 0$
$t$ Test multiple comparisons:
• H1 - usually two sided: $\mu_g \neq \mu_h$
AssumptionsAssumptionsAssumptions
• Sample of pairs is a simple random sample from the population of pairs. That is, pairs are independent of one another
• Sample is a simple random sample from the population. That is, observations are independent of one another
• Within each population, the scores on the dependent variable are normally distributed
• The standard deviation of the scores on the dependent variable is the same in each of the populations: $\sigma_1 = \sigma_2 = \ldots = \sigma_I$
• Group 1 sample is a simple random sample (SRS) from population 1, group 2 sample is an independent SRS from population 2, $\ldots$, group $I$ sample is an independent SRS from population $I$. That is, within and between groups, observations are independent of one another
Test statisticTest statisticTest statistic
$W =$ number of difference scores that is larger than 0$X$ = number of successes in the sampleANOVA $F$ test:
• \begin{aligned}[t] F &= \dfrac{\sum\nolimits_{subjects} (\mbox{subject's group mean} - \mbox{overall mean})^2 / (I - 1)}{\sum\nolimits_{subjects} (\mbox{subject's score} - \mbox{its group mean})^2 / (N - I)}\\ &= \dfrac{\mbox{sum of squares between} / \mbox{degrees of freedom between}}{\mbox{sum of squares error} / \mbox{degrees of freedom error}}\\ &= \dfrac{\mbox{mean square between}}{\mbox{mean square error}} \end{aligned}
where $N$ is the total sample size, and $I$ is the number of groups.
Note: mean square between is also known as mean square model, and mean square error is also known as mean square residual or mean square within.
$t$ Test for contrast:
• $t = \dfrac{c}{s_p\sqrt{\sum \dfrac{a^2_i}{n_i}}}$
Here $c$ is the sample estimate of the population contrast $\Psi$: $c = \sum a_i\bar{y}_i$, with $\bar{y}_i$ the sample mean in group $i$. $s_p$ is the pooled standard deviation based on all the $I$ groups in the ANOVA, $a_i$ is the contrast coefficient for group $i$, and $n_i$ is the sample size of group $i$.
Note that if the contrast compares only two group means with each other, this $t$ statistic is very similar to the two sample $t$ statistic (assuming equal population standard deviations). In that case the only difference is that we now base the pooled standard deviation on all the $I$ groups, which affects the $t$ value if $I \geqslant 3$. It also affects the corresponding degrees of freedom.
$t$ Test multiple comparisons:
• $t = \dfrac{\bar{y}_g - \bar{y}_h}{s_p\sqrt{\dfrac{1}{n_g} + \dfrac{1}{n_h}}}$
$\bar{y}_g$ is the sample mean in group $g$, $\bar{y}_h$ is the sample mean in group $h$, $s_p$ is the pooled standard deviation based on all the $I$ groups in the ANOVA, $n_g$ is the sample size of group $g$, and $n_h$ is the sample size of group $h$.
Note that this $t$ statistic is very similar to the two sample $t$ statistic (assuming equal population standard deviations). The only difference is that we now base the pooled standard deviation on all the $I$ groups, which affects the $t$ value if $I \geqslant 3$. It also affects the corresponding degrees of freedom.
n.a.n.a.Pooled standard deviation
--\begin{aligned} s_p &= \sqrt{\dfrac{(n_1 - 1) \times s^2_1 + (n_2 - 1) \times s^2_2 + \ldots + (n_I - 1) \times s^2_I}{N - I}}\\ &= \sqrt{\dfrac{\sum\nolimits_{subjects} (\mbox{subject's score} - \mbox{its group mean})^2}{N - I}}\\ &= \sqrt{\dfrac{\mbox{sum of squares error}}{\mbox{degrees of freedom error}}}\\ &= \sqrt{\mbox{mean square error}} \end{aligned}

Here $s^2_i$ is the variance in group $i.$
Sampling distribution of $W$ if H0 were trueSampling distribution of $X$ if H0 were trueSampling distribution of $F$ and of $t$ if H0 were true
The exact distribution of $W$ under the null hypothesis is the Binomial($n$, $P$) distribution, with $n =$ number of positive differences $+$ number of negative differences, and $P = 0.5$.

If $n$ is large, $W$ is approximately normally distributed under the null hypothesis, with mean $nP = n \times 0.5$ and standard deviation $\sqrt{nP(1-P)} = \sqrt{n \times 0.5(1 - 0.5)}$. Hence, if $n$ is large, the standardized test statistic $$z = \frac{W - n \times 0.5}{\sqrt{n \times 0.5(1 - 0.5)}}$$ follows approximately the standard normal distribution if the null hypothesis were true.
Binomial($n$, $P$) distribution.

Here $n = N$ (total sample size), and $P = \pi_0$ (population proportion according to the null hypothesis).
Sampling distribution of $F$:
• $F$ distribution with $I - 1$ (df between, numerator) and $N - I$ (df error, denominator) degrees of freedom
Sampling distribution of $t$:
• $t$ distribution with $N - I$ degrees of freedom
Significant?Significant?Significant?
If $n$ is small, the table for the binomial distribution should be used:
Two sided:
• Check if $W$ observed in sample is in the rejection region or
• Find two sided $p$ value corresponding to observed $W$ and check if it is equal to or smaller than $\alpha$
Right sided:
• Check if $W$ observed in sample is in the rejection region or
• Find right sided $p$ value corresponding to observed $W$ and check if it is equal to or smaller than $\alpha$
Left sided:
• Check if $W$ observed in sample is in the rejection region or
• Find left sided $p$ value corresponding to observed $W$ and check if it is equal to or smaller than $\alpha$

If $n$ is large, the table for standard normal probabilities can be used:
Two sided:
Right sided:
Left sided:
Two sided:
• Check if $X$ observed in sample is in the rejection region or
• Find two sided $p$ value corresponding to observed $X$ and check if it is equal to or smaller than $\alpha$
Right sided:
• Check if $X$ observed in sample is in the rejection region or
• Find right sided $p$ value corresponding to observed $X$ and check if it is equal to or smaller than $\alpha$
Left sided:
• Check if $X$ observed in sample is in the rejection region or
• Find left sided $p$ value corresponding to observed $X$ and check if it is equal to or smaller than $\alpha$
$F$ test:
• Check if $F$ observed in sample is equal to or larger than critical value $F^*$ or
• Find $p$ value corresponding to observed $F$ and check if it is equal to or smaller than $\alpha$ (e.g. .01 < $p$ < .025 when $F$ = 3.91, df between = 4, and df error = 20)

$t$ Test for contrast two sided:
$t$ Test for contrast right sided:
$t$ Test for contrast left sided:

$t$ Test multiple comparisons two sided:
• Check if $t$ observed in sample is at least as extreme as critical value $t^{**}$. Adapt $t^{**}$ according to a multiple comparison procedure (e.g., Bonferroni) or
• Find two sided $p$ value corresponding to observed $t$ and check if it is equal to or smaller than $\alpha$. Adapt the $p$ value or $\alpha$ according to a multiple comparison procedure
$t$ Test multiple comparisons right sided
• Check if $t$ observed in sample is equal to or larger than critical value $t^{**}$. Adapt $t^{**}$ according to a multiple comparison procedure (e.g., Bonferroni) or
• Find right sided $p$ value corresponding to observed $t$ and check if it is equal to or smaller than $\alpha$. Adapt the $p$ value or $\alpha$ according to a multiple comparison procedure
$t$ Test multiple comparisons left sided
• Check if $t$ observed in sample is equal to or smaller than critical value $t^{**}$. Adapt $t^{**}$ according to a multiple comparison procedure (e.g., Bonferroni) or
• Find left sided $p$ value corresponding to observed $t$ and check if it is equal to or smaller than $\alpha$. Adapt the $p$ value or $\alpha$ according to a multiple comparison procedure
n.a.n.a.$C\%$ confidence interval for $\Psi$, for $\mu_g - \mu_h$, and for $\mu_i$
--Confidence interval for $\Psi$ (contrast):
• $c \pm t^* \times s_p\sqrt{\sum \dfrac{a^2_i}{n_i}}$
where the critical value $t^*$ is the value under the $t_{N - I}$ distribution with the area $C / 100$ between $-t^*$ and $t^*$ (e.g. $t^*$ = 2.086 for a 95% confidence interval when df = 20). Note that $n_i$ is the sample size of group $i$, and $N$ is the total sample size, based on all the $I$ groups.
Confidence interval for $\mu_g - \mu_h$ (multiple comparisons):
• $(\bar{y}_g - \bar{y}_h) \pm t^{**} \times s_p\sqrt{\dfrac{1}{n_g} + \dfrac{1}{n_h}}$
where $t^{**}$ depends upon $C$, degrees of freedom ($N - I$), and the multiple comparison procedure. If you do not want to apply a multiple comparison procedure, $t^{**} = t^* =$ the value under the $t_{N - I}$ distribution with the area $C / 100$ between $-t^*$ and $t^*$. Note that $n_g$ is the sample size of group $g$, $n_h$ is the sample size of group $h$, and $N$ is the total sample size, based on all the $I$ groups.
Confidence interval for single population mean $\mu_i$:
• $\bar{y}_i \pm t^* \times \dfrac{s_p}{\sqrt{n_i}}$
where $\bar{y}_i$ is the sample mean in group $i$, $n_i$ is the sample size of group $i$, and the critical value $t^*$ is the value under the $t_{N - I}$ distribution with the area $C / 100$ between $-t^*$ and $t^*$ (e.g. $t^*$ = 2.086 for a 95% confidence interval when df = 20). Note that $n_i$ is the sample size of group $i$, and $N$ is the total sample size, based on all the $I$ groups.
n.a.n.a.Effect size
--
• Proportion variance explained $\eta^2$ and $R^2$:
Proportion variance of the dependent variable $y$ explained by the independent variable: \begin{align} \eta^2 = R^2 &= \dfrac{\mbox{sum of squares between}}{\mbox{sum of squares total}} \end{align} Only in one way ANOVA $\eta^2 = R^2.$ $\eta^2$ (and $R^2$) is the proportion variance explained in the sample. It is a positively biased estimate of the proportion variance explained in the population.

• Proportion variance explained $\omega^2$:
Corrects for the positive bias in $\eta^2$ and is equal to: $$\omega^2 = \frac{\mbox{sum of squares between} - \mbox{df between} \times \mbox{mean square error}}{\mbox{sum of squares total} + \mbox{mean square error}}$$ $\omega^2$ is a better estimate of the explained variance in the population than $\eta^2.$

• Cohen's $d$:
Standardized difference between the mean in group $g$ and in group $h$: $$d_{g,h} = \frac{\bar{y}_g - \bar{y}_h}{s_p}$$ Cohen's $d$ indicates how many standard deviations $s_p$ two sample means are removed from each other.
n.a.n.a.ANOVA table
--
Click the link for a step by step explanation of how to compute the sum of squares.
Equivalent ton.a.Equivalent to
Two sided sign test is equivalent to
-OLS regression with one categorical independent variable transformed into $I - 1$ code variables:
• $F$ test ANOVA is equivalent to $F$ test regression model
• $t$ test for contrast $i$ is equivalent to $t$ test for regression coefficient $\beta_i$ (specific contrast tested depends on how the code variables are defined)
Example contextExample contextExample context
Do people tend to score higher on mental health after a mindfulness course?Is the proportion of smokers amongst office workers different from $\pi_0 = 0.2$?Is the average mental health score different between people from a low, moderate, and high economic class?
SPSSSPSSSPSS
Analyze > Nonparametric Tests > Legacy Dialogs > 2 Related Samples...
• Put the two paired variables in the boxes below Variable 1 and Variable 2
• Under Test Type, select the Sign test
Analyze > Nonparametric Tests > Legacy Dialogs > Binomial...
• Put your dichotomous variable in the box below Test Variable List
• Fill in the value for $\pi_0$ in the box next to Test Proportion
Analyze > Compare Means > One-Way ANOVA...
• Put your dependent (quantitative) variable in the box below Dependent List and your independent (grouping) variable in the box below Factor
or
Analyze > General Linear Model > Univariate...
• Put your dependent (quantitative) variable in the box below Dependent Variable and your independent (grouping) variable in the box below Fixed Factor(s)
JamoviJamoviJamovi
Jamovi does not have a specific option for the sign test. However, you can do the Friedman test instead. The $p$ value resulting from this Friedman test is equivalent to the two sided $p$ value that would have resulted from the sign test. Go to:

ANOVA > Repeated Measures ANOVA - Friedman
• Put the two paired variables in the box below Measures
Frequencies > 2 Outcomes - Binomial test
• Put your dichotomous variable in the white box at the right
• Fill in the value for $\pi_0$ in the box next to Test value
• Under Hypothesis, select your alternative hypothesis
ANOVA > ANOVA
• Put your dependent (quantitative) variable in the box below Dependent Variable and your independent (grouping) variable in the box below Fixed Factors
Practice questionsPractice questionsPractice questions