Dear Maths wizards,

Firstly, i hope my post is in the correct place.

I am not a mathematician but for a paper i am writing on music and education, i have conducted a study to find out if music capital affects pupils' engagement in classroom music lessons.

I am currently analysing my data which is what brought me to your forum. I have two variables: a pupil's level of Musical Capital [MC] and a pupil's level of engagement in lessons. Both of these variables have been coded into numeric form and i am looking at their relationship to see if MC affects engagement. I have so far done quite a lot of statistics research and i understand a lot more than i thought i would, but need a couple of things clarifying...

Would you agree that with the data i have and the fact that im looking at a relationship between two variables, i can use a null-hypothesis, a significance level and a p-value? All these look good to me, but i feel like im asking the 'chicken and the egg' question. Which of these comes first? Would you write about a null-hypothesis in your findings of a study or before? Do you decide on a 0.01 or 0.05 depending on how reliable you think your hypothesis is or is there a formula you have to apply to it? Once you have got this, how do you find your p-value (and what exactly is a p-value?!)

I have been reading about this all afternoon and just need some clarification.

As i said, im sorry if i have posted this in the wrong thread...

Any help on the questions i have asked as well as new advice would be so welcome.

Thank you in advance for your help,

Yours confusedly,

Olivia