Sign test  overview
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Sign test  Binomial test for a single proportion  McNemar's test 


Independent variable  Independent variable  Independent variable  
2 paired groups  None  2 paired groups  
Dependent variable  Dependent variable  Dependent variable  
One of ordinal level  One categorical with 2 independent groups  One categorical with 2 independent groups  
Null hypothesis  Null hypothesis  Null hypothesis  
 H_{0}: $\pi = \pi_0$
Here $\pi$ is the population proportion of 'successes', and $\pi_0$ is the population proportion of successes according to the null hypothesis.  Let's say that the scores on the dependent variable are scored 0 and 1. Then for each pair of scores, the data allow four options:
Other formulations of the null hypothesis are:
 
Alternative hypothesis  Alternative hypothesis  Alternative hypothesis  
 H_{1} two sided: $\pi \neq \pi_0$ H_{1} right sided: $\pi > \pi_0$ H_{1} left sided: $\pi < \pi_0$  The alternative hypothesis H_{1} is that for each pair of scores, P(first score of pair is 0 while second score of pair is 1) $\neq$ P(first score of pair is 1 while second score of pair is 0). That is, the probability that a pair of scores switches from 0 to 1 is not the same as the probability that a pair of scores switches from 1 to 0. Other formulations of the alternative hypothesis are:
 
Assumptions  Assumptions  Assumptions  


 
Test statistic  Test statistic  Test statistic  
$W = $ number of difference scores that is larger than 0  $X$ = number of successes in the sample  $X^2 = \dfrac{(b  c)^2}{b + c}$
Here $b$ is the number of pairs in the sample for which the first score is 0 while the second score is 1, and $c$ is the number of pairs in the sample for which the first score is 1 while the second score is 0.  
Sampling distribution of $W$ if H_{0} were true  Sampling distribution of $X$ if H0 were true  Sampling distribution of $X^2$ if H_{0} 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 $\sqrt{nP(1P)} = \sqrt{n \times 0.5(1  0.5)}$. 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).  If $b + c$ is large enough (say, > 20), approximately the chisquared distribution with 1 degree of freedom. If $b + c$ is small, the Binomial($n$, $P$) distribution should be used, with $n = b + c$ and $P = 0.5$. In that case the test statistic becomes equal to $b$.  
Significant?  Significant?  Significant?  
If $n$ is small, the table for the binomial distribution should be used: Two sided:
If $n$ is large, the table for standard normal probabilities can be used: Two sided:
 Two sided:
 For test statistic $X^2$:
 
Equivalent to  n.a.  Equivalent to  
Two sided sign test is equivalent to
  
 
Example context  Example context  Example context  
Do people tend to score higher on mental health after a mindfulness course?  Is the proportion of smokers amongst office workers different from $\pi_0 = 0.2$?  Does a tv documentary about spiders change whether people are afraid (yes/no) of spiders?  
SPSS  SPSS  SPSS  
Analyze > Nonparametric Tests > Legacy Dialogs > 2 Related Samples...
 Analyze > Nonparametric Tests > Legacy Dialogs > Binomial...
 Analyze > Nonparametric Tests > Legacy Dialogs > 2 Related Samples...
 
Jamovi  Jamovi  Jamovi  
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
 Frequencies > 2 Outcomes  Binomial test
 Frequencies > Paired Samples  McNemar test
 
Practice questions  Practice questions  Practice questions  