Chi Square Test

7th May 2021 0 By indiafreenotes

A chi-squared test, also written as χ2 test, is a statistical hypothesis test that is valid to perform when the test statistic is chi-squared distributed under the null hypothesis, specifically Pearson’s chi-squared test and variants thereof. Pearson’s chi-squared test is used to determine whether there is a statistically significant difference between the expected frequencies and the observed frequencies in one or more categories of a contingency table.

In the standard applications of this test, the observations are classified into mutually exclusive classes. If the null hypothesis that there are no differences between the classes in the population is true, the test statistic computed from the observations follows a χ2 frequency distribution. The purpose of the test is to evaluate how likely the observed frequencies would be assuming the null hypothesis is true.

Test statistics that follow a χ2 distribution occur when the observations are independent and normally distributed, which are assumptions often justified under the central limit theorem. There are also χ2 tests for testing the null hypothesis of independence of a pair of random variables based on observations of the pairs.

Chi-squared tests often refers to tests for which the distribution of the test statistic approaches the χ2 distribution asymptotically, meaning that the sampling distribution (if the null hypothesis is true) of the test statistic approximates a chi-squared distribution more and more closely as sample sizes increase.

There are two types of chi-square tests. Both use the chi-square statistic and distribution for different purposes:

  • A chi-square goodness of fit test determines if sample data matches a population. For more details on this type, see: Goodness of Fit Test.
  • A chi-square test for independence compares two variables in a contingency table to see if they are related. In a more general sense, it tests to see whether distributions of categorical variables differ from each another.
  • A very small chi square test statistic means that your observed data fits your expected data extremely well. In other words, there is a relationship.
  • A very large chi square test statistic means that the data does not fit very well. In other words, there isn’t a relationship.

The formula for the chi-square statistic used in the chi square test is:


The subscript “c” is the degrees of freedom. “O” is your observed value and E is your expected value. It’s very rare that you’ll want to actually use this formula to find a critical chi-square value by hand. The summation symbol means that you’ll have to perform a calculation for every single data item in your data set. As you can probably imagine, the calculations can get very, very, lengthy and tedious. Instead, you’ll probably want to use technology: