## 11.1 Facts About the Chi-Square Distribution

The chi-square distribution is a useful tool for assessment in a series of problem categories. These problem categories include primarily (i) whether a data set fits a particular distribution, (ii) whether the distributions of two populations are the same, (iii) whether two events might be independent, and (iv) whether there is a different variability than expected within a population.

An important parameter in a chi-square distribution is the degrees of freedom \(df\) in a given problem. The random variable in the chi-square distribution is the sum of squares of \(df\) standard normal variables, which must be independent. The key characteristics of the chi-square distribution also depend directly on the degrees of freedom.

The chi-square distribution curve is skewed to the right, and its shape depends on the degrees of freedom \(df\). For \(df > 90\), the curve approximates the normal distribution. Test statistics based on the chi-square distribution are always greater than or equal to zero. Such application tests are almost always right-tailed tests.

## 11.2 Test of a Single Variance

To test variability, use the chi-square test of a single variance. The test may be left-, right-, or two-tailed, and its hypotheses are always expressed in terms of the variance (or standard deviation).

## 11.3 Goodness-of-Fit Test

To assess whether a data set fits a specific distribution, you can apply the goodness-of-fit hypothesis test that uses the chi-square distribution. The null hypothesis for this test states that the data come from the assumed distribution. The test compares observed values against the values you would expect to have if your data followed the assumed distribution. The test is almost always right-tailed. Each observation or cell category must have an expected value of at least five.

## 11.4 Test of Independence

To assess whether two factors are independent or not, you can apply the test of independence that uses the chi-square distribution. The null hypothesis for this test states that the two factors are independent. The test compares observed values to expected values. The test is right-tailed. Each observation or cell category must have an expected value of at least 5.

## 11.5 Test for Homogeneity

To assess whether two data sets are derived from the same distribution—which need not be known, you can apply the test for homogeneity that uses the chi-square distribution. The null hypothesis for this test states that the populations of the two data sets come from the same distribution. The test compares the observed values against the expected values if the two populations followed the same distribution. The test is right-tailed. Each observation or cell category must have an expected value of at least five.

## 11.6 Comparison of the Chi-Square Tests

The goodness-of-fit test is typically used to determine if data fits a particular distribution. The test of independence makes use of a contingency table to determine the independence of two factors. The test for homogeneity determines whether two populations come from the same distribution, even if this distribution is unknown.