Spearman's rho  overview
This page offers structured overviews of one or more selected methods. Add additional methods for comparisons (max. of 3) by clicking on the dropdown button in the righthand column. To practice with a specific method click the button at the bottom row of the table
Spearman's rho  One sample Wilcoxon signedrank test 


Variable 1  Independent variable  
One of ordinal level  None  
Variable 2  Dependent variable  
One of ordinal level  One of ordinal level  
Null hypothesis  Null hypothesis  
H_{0}: $\rho_s = 0$
Here $\rho_s$ is the Spearman correlation in the population. The Spearman correlation is a measure for the strength and direction of the monotonic relationship between two variables of at least ordinal measurement level. In words, the null hypothesis would be: H_{0}: there is no monotonic relationship between the two variables in the population.  H_{0}: $m = m_0$
Here $m$ is the population median, and $m_0$ is the population median according to the null hypothesis.  
Alternative hypothesis  Alternative hypothesis  
H_{1} two sided: $\rho_s \neq 0$ H_{1} right sided: $\rho_s > 0$ H_{1} left sided: $\rho_s < 0$  H_{1} two sided: $m \neq m_0$ H_{1} right sided: $m > m_0$ H_{1} left sided: $m < m_0$  
Assumptions  Assumptions  

 
Test statistic  Test statistic  
$t = \dfrac{r_s \times \sqrt{N  2}}{\sqrt{1  r_s^2}} $ Here $r_s$ is the sample Spearman correlation and $N$ is the sample size. The sample Spearman correlation $r_s$ is equal to the Pearson correlation applied to the rank scores.  Two different types of test statistics can be used, but both will result in the same test outcome. We will denote the first option the $W_1$ statistic (also known as the $T$ statistic), and the second option the $W_2$ statistic.
In order to compute each of the test statistics, follow the steps below:
 
Sampling distribution of $t$ if H_{0} were true  Sampling distribution of $W_1$ and of $W_2$ if H_{0} were true  
Approximately the $t$ distribution with $N  2$ degrees of freedom  Sampling distribution of $W_1$:
If $N_r$ is large, $W_1$ is approximately normally distributed with mean $\mu_{W_1}$ and standard deviation $\sigma_{W_1}$ if the null hypothesis were true. Here $$\mu_{W_1} = \frac{N_r(N_r + 1)}{4}$$ $$\sigma_{W_1} = \sqrt{\frac{N_r(N_r + 1)(2N_r + 1)}{24}}$$ Hence, if $N_r$ is large, the standardized test statistic $$z = \frac{W_1  \mu_{W_1}}{\sigma_{W_1}}$$ follows approximately the standard normal distribution if the null hypothesis were true. Sampling distribution of $W_2$: If $N_r$ is large, $W_2$ is approximately normally distributed with mean $0$ and standard deviation $\sigma_{W_2}$ if the null hypothesis were true. Here $$\sigma_{W_2} = \sqrt{\frac{N_r(N_r + 1)(2N_r + 1)}{6}}$$ Hence, if $N_r$ is large, the standardized test statistic $$z = \frac{W_2}{\sigma_{W_2}}$$ follows approximately the standard normal distribution if the null hypothesis were true. If $N_r$ is small, the exact distribution of $W_1$ or $W_2$ should be used. Note: if ties are present in the data, the formula for the standard deviations $\sigma_{W_1}$ and $\sigma_{W_2}$ is more complicated.  
Significant?  Significant?  
Two sided:
 For large samples, the table for standard normal probabilities can be used: Two sided:
 
Example context  Example context  
Is there a monotonic relationship between physical health and mental health?  Is the median mental health score of office workers different from $m_0 = 50$?  
SPSS  SPSS  
Analyze > Correlate > Bivariate...
 Specify the measurement level of your variable on the Variable View tab, in the column named Measure. Then go to:
Analyze > Nonparametric Tests > One Sample...
 
Jamovi  Jamovi  
Regression > Correlation Matrix
 TTests > One Sample TTest
 
Practice questions  Practice questions  