Thinking Math@TheCulture #7

Thinking@TheCulture is a series of questions that we, as tutors feel that are useful in helping students think and improve their understanding.

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This is an application question for hypothesis testing from the 9758 H2 Mathematics Specimen Paper 2 Question 10.

The average time required for the manufacture of a certain type of electronic control panel is 17 hours. An alternative manufacturing process is trialled, and the time taken, t hours, for the manufacture of each of 50 randomly chosen panels using the alternative process, in hours, is recorded. The results are summarized as follows

n = 50
\sum t = 835.7
\sum t^2 = 14067.17

The Production Manager wishes to test whether the average time taken for the manufacture of a control panel is different using the alternative process, by carrying out a hypothesis test.
(i) Explain whether the Production Manager should use a 1-tail or a 2-tail test.
(ii) Explain why the Production Manager is able to carry out a hypothesis test without knowing anything about the distribution of the times taken to manufacture the control panels.
(iii) Find unbiased estimates of the population mean and variance, and carry out the test at the 10% level of significance for the Production Manager.
(iv) Suggest a reason why the Production Manager might be prepared to use an alternative process that takes a longer average time than the original process.
The Finance Manager wishes to test whether the average time taken for the manufacture of a control panel is shorter using the alternative process. The Finance Manger finds that the average time taken for the manufacture of each of the 40 randomly chosen control panels, using the alternative process, is 16.7 hours. He carries out a hypothesis test at 10% level of significance.
(v) Explain, with justification, how the population variance of the times will affect the conclusion made by the Finance Manager.

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