Sign test - overview

This page offers structured overviews of one or more selected methods. Add additional methods for comparisons by clicking on the dropdown button in the right-hand column. To practice with a specific method click the button at the bottom row of the table

Sign test
Pearson correlation
Logistic regression
Independent variableVariable 1Independent variables
2 paired groupsOne quantitative of interval or ratio levelOne or more quantitative of interval or ratio level and/or one or more categorical with independent groups, transformed into code variables
Dependent variableVariable 2Dependent variable
One of ordinal levelOne quantitative of interval or ratio levelOne categorical with 2 independent groups
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: $\rho = \rho_0$

$\rho$ is the unknown Pearson correlation in the population, $\rho_0$ is the correlation in the population according to the null hypothesis (usually 0). The Pearson correlation is a measure for the strength and direction of the linear relationship between two variables of at least interval measurement level.
Model chi-squared test for the complete regression model:
  • H0: $\beta_1 = \beta_2 = \ldots = \beta_K = 0$
Wald test for individual regression coefficient $\beta_k$:
  • H0: $\beta_k = 0$
    or in terms of odds ratio:
  • H0: $e^{\beta_k} = 1$
Likelihood ratio chi-squared test for individual regression coefficient $\beta_k$:
  • H0: $\beta_k = 0$
    or in terms of odds ratio:
  • H0: $e^{\beta_k} = 1$
in the regression equation $ \ln \big(\frac{\pi_{y = 1}}{1 - \pi_{y = 1}} \big) = \beta_0 + \beta_1 \times x_1 + \beta_2 \times x_2 + \ldots + \beta_K \times x_K $. Here $ x_i$ represents independent variable $ i$, $\beta_i$ is the regression weight for independent variable $ x_i$, and $\pi_{y = 1}$ represents the true probability that the dependent variable $ y = 1$ (or equivalently, the proportion of $ y = 1$ in the population) given the scores on the independent variables.
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: $\rho \neq \rho_0$
H1 right sided: $\rho > \rho_0$
H1 left sided: $\rho < \rho_0$
Model chi-squared test for the complete regression model:
  • H1: not all population regression coefficients are 0
Wald test for individual regression coefficient $\beta_k$:
  • H1: $\beta_k \neq 0$
    or in terms of odds ratio:
  • H1: $e^{\beta_k} \neq 1$
    If defined as Wald $ = \dfrac{b_k}{SE_{b_k}}$ (see 'Test statistic'), also one sided alternatives can be tested:
  • H1 right sided: $\beta_k > 0$
  • H1 left sided: $\beta_k < 0$
Likelihood ratio chi-squared test for individual regression coefficient $\beta_k$:
  • H1: $\beta_k \neq 0$
    or in terms of odds ratio:
  • H1: $e^{\beta_k} \neq 1$
AssumptionsAssumptions of test for correlationAssumptions
  • Sample of pairs is a simple random sample from the population of pairs. That is, pairs are independent of one another
  • In the population, the two variables are jointly normally distributed (this covers the normality, homoscedasticity, and linearity assumptions)
  • Sample of pairs is a simple random sample from the population of pairs. That is, pairs are independent of one another
Note: these assumptions are only important for the significance test and confidence interval, not for the correlation coefficient itself. The correlation coefficient just measures the strength of the linear relationship between two variables.
  • In the population, the relationship between the independent variables and the log odds $\ln (\frac{\pi_{y=1}}{1 - \pi_{y=1}})$ is linear
  • The residuals are independent of one another
Often ignored additional assumption:
  • Variables are measured without error
Also pay attention to:
  • Multicollinearity
  • Outliers
Test statisticTest statisticTest statistic
$W = $ number of difference scores that is larger than 0Test statistic for testing H0: $\rho = 0$:
  • $t = \dfrac{r \times \sqrt{N - 2}}{\sqrt{1 - r^2}} $
    where $r$ is the sample correlation $r = \frac{1}{N - 1} \sum_{j}\Big(\frac{x_{j} - \bar{x}}{s_x} \Big) \Big(\frac{y_{j} - \bar{y}}{s_y} \Big)$ and $N$ is the sample size
Test statistic for testing values for $\rho$ other than $\rho = 0$:
  • $z = \dfrac{r_{Fisher} - \rho_{0_{Fisher}}}{\sqrt{\dfrac{1}{N - 3}}}$
    • $r_{Fisher} = \dfrac{1}{2} \times \log\Bigg(\dfrac{1 + r}{1 - r} \Bigg )$, where $r$ is the sample correlation
    • $\rho_{0_{Fisher}} = \dfrac{1}{2} \times \log\Bigg( \dfrac{1 + \rho_0}{1 - \rho_0} \Bigg )$, where $\rho_0$ is the population correlation according to H0
Model chi-squared test for the complete regression model:
  • $X^2 = D_{null} - D_K = \mbox{null deviance} - \mbox{model deviance} $
    $D_{null}$, the null deviance, is conceptually similar to the total variance of the dependent variable in OLS regression analysis. $D_K$, the model deviance, is conceptually similar to the residual variance in OLS regression analysis.
Wald test for individual $\beta_k$:
The wald statistic can be defined in two ways:
  • Wald $ = \dfrac{b_k^2}{SE^2_{b_k}}$
  • Wald $ = \dfrac{b_k}{SE_{b_k}}$
SPSS uses the first definition

Likelihood ratio chi-squared test for individual $\beta_k$:
  • $X^2 = D_{K-1} - D_K$
    $D_{K-1}$ is the model deviance, where independent variable $k$ is excluded from the model. $D_{K}$ is the model deviance, where independent variable $k$ is included in the model.
Sampling distribution of $W$ if H0 were trueSampling distribution of $t$ and of $z$ if H0 were trueSampling distribution of $X^2$ and of the Wald statistic 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.
Sampling distribution of $t$:
  • $t$ distribution with $N - 2$ degrees of freedom
Sampling distribution of $z$:
  • Approximately the standard normal distribution
Sampling distribution of $X^2$, as computed in the model chi-squared test for the complete model:
  • chi-squared distribution with $K$ (number of independent variables) degrees of freedom
Sampling distribution of the Wald statistic:
  • If defined as Wald $ = \dfrac{b_k^2}{SE^2_{b_k}}$: approximately the chi-squared distribution with 1 degree of freedom
  • If defined as Wald $ = \dfrac{b_k}{SE_{b_k}}$: approximately the standard normal distribution
Sampling distribution of $X^2$, as computed in the likelihood ratio chi-squared test for individual $\beta_k$:
  • chi-squared distribution with 1 degree 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:
$t$ Test two sided: $t$ Test right sided: $t$ Test left sided: $z$ Test two sided: $z$ Test right sided: $z$ Test left sided: For the model chi-squared test for the complete regression model and likelihood ratio chi-squared test for individual $\beta_k$:
  • Check if $X^2$ observed in sample is equal to or larger than critical value $X^{2*}$ or
  • Find $p$ value corresponding to observed $X^2$ and check if it is equal to or smaller than $\alpha$
For the Wald test:
  • If defined as Wald $ = \dfrac{b_k^2}{SE^2_{b_k}}$: same procedure as for the chi-squared tests. Wald can be interpret as $X^2$
  • If defined as Wald $ = \dfrac{b_k}{SE_{b_k}}$: same procedure as for any $z$ test. Wald can be interpreted as $z$.
n.a.Approximate $C$% confidence interval for $\rho$Wald-type approximate $C\%$ confidence interval for $\beta_k$
-First compute the approximate $C$% confidence interval for $\rho_{Fisher}$:
  • $lower_{Fisher} = r_{Fisher} - z^* \times \sqrt{\dfrac{1}{N - 3}}$
  • $upper_{Fisher} = r_{Fisher} + z^* \times \sqrt{\dfrac{1}{N - 3}}$
where $r_{Fisher} = \frac{1}{2} \times \log\Bigg(\dfrac{1 + r}{1 - r} \Bigg )$ and the critical value $z^*$ is the value under the normal curve with the area $C / 100$ between $-z^*$ and $z^*$ (e.g. $z^*$ = 1.96 for a 95% confidence interval).
Then transform back to get the approximate $C$% confidence interval for $\rho$:
  • lower bound = $\dfrac{e^{2 \times lower_{Fisher}} - 1}{e^{2 \times lower_{Fisher}} + 1}$
  • upper bound = $\dfrac{e^{2 \times upper_{Fisher}} - 1}{e^{2 \times upper_{Fisher}} + 1}$
$b_k \pm z^* \times SE_{b_k}$
where the critical value $z^*$ is the value under the normal curve with the area $C / 100$ between $-z^*$ and $z^*$ (e.g. $z^*$ = 1.96 for a 95% confidence interval)
n.a.Properties of the Pearson correlation coefficientGoodness of fit measure $R^2_L$
-
  • The Pearson correlation coefficient is a measure for the linear relationship between two quantitative variables.
  • The Pearson correlation coefficient squared reflects the proportion of variance explained in one variable by the other variable.
  • The Pearson correlation coefficient can take on values between -1 (perfect negative relationship) and 1 (perfect positive relationship). A value of 0 means no linear relationship.
  • The absolute size of the Pearson correlation coefficient is not affected by any linear transformation of the variables. However, the sign of the Pearson correlation will flip when the scores on one of the two variables are multiplied by a negative number (reversing the direction of measurement of that variable).
    For example:
    • the correlation between $x$ and $y$ is equivalent to the correlation between $3x + 5$ and $2y - 6$.
    • the absolute value of the correlation between $x$ and $y$ is equivalent to the absolute value of the correlation between $-3x + 5$ and $2y - 6$. However, the signs of the two correlation coefficients will be in opposite directions, due to the multiplication of $x$ by $-3$.
  • The Pearson correlation coefficient does not say anything about causality.
  • The Pearson correlation coefficient is sensitive to outliers.
$R^2_L = \dfrac{D_{null} - D_K}{D_{null}}$
There are several other goodness of fit measures in logistic regression. In logistic regression, there is no single agreed upon measure of goodness of fit.
Equivalent toEquivalent ton.a.
Two sided sign test is equivalent to OLS regression with one independent variable:
  • $b_1 = r \times \frac{s_y}{s_x}$
  • Results significance test ($t$ and $p$ value) testing $H_0$: $\beta_1 = 0$ are equivalent to results significance test testing $H_0$: $\rho = 0$
-
Example contextExample contextExample context
Do people tend to score higher on mental health after a mindfulness course?Is there a linear relationship between physical health and mental health?Can body mass index, stress level, and gender predict whether people get diagnosed with diabetes?
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 > Correlate > Bivariate...
  • Put your two variables in the box below Variables
Analyze > Regression > Binary Logistic...
  • Put your dependent variable in the box below Dependent and your independent (predictor) variables in the box below Covariate(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
Regression > Correlation Matrix
  • Put your two variables in the white box at the right
  • Under Correlation Coefficients, select Pearson (selected by default)
  • Under Hypothesis, select your alternative hypothesis
Regression > 2 Outcomes - Binomial
  • Put your dependent variable in the box below Dependent Variable and your independent variables of interval/ratio level in the box below Covariates
  • If you also have code (dummy) variables as independent variables, you can put these in the box below Covariates as well
  • Instead of transforming your categorical independent variable(s) into code variables, you can also put the untransformed categorical independent variables in the box below Factors. Jamovi will then make the code variables for you 'behind the scenes'
Practice questionsPractice questionsPractice questions