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I realise after submitting my dissertation lask week that I posed my hypothesis in the wrong manner.

I posed them as

I believe that X will not be a predictor of Y

I subsequently went on with results which returned a p value of 0.01 and subsequently said we reject the null throughout my discussion.

It may be simply viewed as a typo. Am I likely to suffer greatly as a result of this mistake. I proceed with my methods, data analysis and discussion as if the hypotheses are proposed in the correct manner and given the overall premise of the dissertation and explanation of the result, it's quite clear what I am trying to achieve I believe.

Am I likely to simply be failed as a result of this error?

Any help greatly appreciated as I'm very as this has been submitted and I am extremely worried

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I'm hoping to be correct here, but this depends partially on personalities. Since you found the error, you should immediately inform everyone involved of the error and offer to supply a corrected version immediately. If people are reasonable they should act reasonably, of course. If you wait, and someone else notices it, you will have difficulties.

Getting things absolutely backwards is likely more common than you imagine. Also, when you write and then proofread your own writing, you are very likely to see what you want to see, what you think you wrote, rather than what you actually wrote. Most reasonable people will recognize that, have a bit of a chuckle and move on.

But you have to be the one to raise the flag.

You raise this issue on a week end. If at all possible, don't wait for the new week to inform at least your professor.


One of the reasons that books have editors and journals assign reviewers is to catch these kind of errors of inattention. Sometimes an advisor will perform that function for a student, but not always.

  • Hi, thanks for the response. I previously had a formatting issue they allowed me to correct so I simply come across as careless at this stage which made me apprehensive to say anything. However, I decided to mail my course director and make him aware of my error. Our course although MSc dealt sparingly with hypothesis testing so I'm hoping he understands, do you think if he simply rejects my offer to correct that it will be failed? – db123 Jul 15 '18 at 1:52
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    "If you wait, and someone else notices it, you will have difficulties." - I think this may be too strong. The OP may have difficulties. I think it's far more likely that graders will chuckle and read on. Quite probably, they typos like this regularly. After all, as you write, "Getting things absolutely backwards is likely more common than you imagine." So: by all means inform people (even if you already previously informed them of a formatting issue - yes, it's unfortunate, but better than not to inform them), but certainly don't worry about it inordinately. – S. Kolassa - Reinstate Monica Jul 15 '18 at 6:14
  • Hi Stephen, thanks for that, it settles my mind a tad. I just hate coming across unprofessional but I simply have so much invested that I don't want this to be a difference maker. I emailed them and asked them to be aware as resubmission 3 days later is probably too much and not necessary. Thanks for the comments they're very much appreciated. – db123 Jul 15 '18 at 6:55

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