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Exploring Research Question and Hypothesis Examples: A Comprehensive Guide

Exploring Research Question and Hypothesis Examples: A Comprehensive Guide

This comprehensive guide explores the intricacies of formulating research questions and hypotheses across various academic disciplines. By delving into examples and methodological approaches, the article aims to provide scholars and researchers with the tools necessary to develop robust and effective research frameworks. Understanding and crafting well-formed research questions and hypotheses are pivotal in conducting meaningful research that can significantly contribute to knowledge within a field.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand the fundamental differences and connections between research questions and hypotheses.
  • Learn how to craft effective and precise research questions that guide the research process.
  • Explore various types of hypotheses and methods for testing and refining them.
  • Examine practical examples of research questions and hypotheses across multiple disciplines.
  • Gain insights into the impact of well-constructed research questions and hypotheses on research outcomes, academic publishing, and grant applications.

Understanding the Fundamentals of Research Questions and Hypotheses

Defining research questions.

Research questions are the backbone of any scholarly inquiry, guiding you through the exploration of your chosen topic. They help you focus your study and determine the direction of your research. A well-crafted research question should be clear, focused, and answerable within the constraints of your study.

Characteristics of a Strong Hypothesis

A strong hypothesis provides a specific, testable prediction about the expected outcomes of your research. It is not merely a guess but is grounded in existing literature and theory. To develop a robust hypothesis, consider the variables involved and ensure that it is feasible to test them within your study's design.

Interrelation Between Research Questions and Hypotheses

Understanding the interrelation between research questions and hypotheses is crucial for structuring your research effectively. Your hypothesis should directly address the gap in the literature highlighted by your research question, providing a clear pathway for investigation. This alignment ensures that your study can contribute valuable insights to your field.

Crafting Effective Research Questions

Identifying the purpose.

To craft an effective research question , you must first identify the purpose of your study. This involves understanding what you aim to discover or elucidate through your research. Ask yourself what the core of your inquiry is and what outcomes you hope to achieve. This clarity will guide your entire research process, ensuring that your question is not only relevant but also deeply rooted in your specific academic or practical goals.

Scope and Limitations

It's crucial to define the scope and limitations of your research early on. This helps in setting realistic boundaries and expectations for your study. Consider factors such as time, resources, and the breadth of the subject area. Narrowing down your focus to a manageable scope can prevent the common pitfall of an overly broad or vague question, which can dilute the impact of your findings.

Formulating Questions that Drive Inquiry

The final step in crafting your research question is formulating it in a way that drives inquiry. This means your question should be clear, concise, and structured to prompt detailed investigation and critical analysis. It should challenge existing knowledge and push the boundaries of what is already known. Utilizing strategies like the Thesis Dialogue Blueprint or the Research Proposal Compass can be instrumental in refining your question to ensure it is both innovative and feasible.

Developing Hypotheses in Research

From research questions to hypotheses.

When you transition from research questions to hypotheses, you are essentially moving from what you want to know to what you predict will happen. This shift involves formulating a specific, testable prediction that directly stems from your initial question. Ensure your hypothesis is directly linked to and derived from your research question to maintain a coherent research strategy.

Types of Hypotheses

There are several types of hypotheses you might encounter, including simple, complex, directional, nondirectional, associative, causal, null, and alternative. Each type serves a different purpose and is chosen based on the specifics of the research question and the nature of the study. For instance, a null hypothesis might be used to test the effectiveness of a new teaching method compared to the standard.

Testing and Refining Hypotheses

Testing your hypothesis is a critical step in the research process. This phase involves collecting data, conducting experiments, or utilizing other research methods to determine the validity of your hypothesis. After testing, you may find that your hypothesis needs refining or even reformation based on the outcomes. This iterative process is essential for narrowing down the most accurate explanation or prediction for your research question.

Examples of Research Questions in Various Disciplines

Humanities and social sciences.

In the realm of Humanities and Social Sciences, research questions often explore cultural, social, historical, or philosophical aspects. How does gender representation in 20th-century American literature reflect broader social changes? This question not only seeks to uncover specific literary trends but also ties them to societal shifts, offering a rich field for analysis.

Natural Sciences

Research questions in the Natural Sciences are typically aimed at understanding natural phenomena or solving specific scientific problems. A common question might be, What are the effects of plastic pollutants on marine biodiversity? This inquiry highlights the environmental concerns and seeks empirical data to understand the impact.

Applied Sciences

In Applied Sciences, the focus is often on improving technology or engineering solutions. A pertinent question could be, How can renewable energy sources be integrated into existing power grids? This question addresses the practical challenges and potential innovations in energy systems, crucial for advancing sustainable technologies.

Analyzing Hypothesis Examples Across Fields

Case studies in psychology.

In psychology, hypotheses often explore the causal relationships between cognitive functions and behaviors. Consider how a hypothesis might predict the impact of stress on memory recall . By examining various case studies, you can see how hypotheses are specifically tailored to address intricate psychological phenomena.

Experimental Research in Biology

Biology experiments frequently test hypotheses about physiological processes or genetic information. For instance, a hypothesis might propose that a specific gene influences plant growth rates. Through rigorous testing, these hypotheses contribute significantly to our understanding of biological systems.

Field Studies in Environmental Science

Field studies in environmental science provide a rich ground for testing hypotheses related to ecosystem dynamics and conservation strategies. A common hypothesis might explore the effects of human activity on biodiversity. These studies often involve complex data collection and analysis, highlighting the interrelation between empirical evidence and theoretical predictions.

Methodological Approaches to Formulating Hypotheses

Quantitative vs. qualitative research.

When you embark on hypothesis formulation, understanding the distinction between quantitative and qualitative research methodologies is crucial. Quantitative research focuses on numerical data and statistical analysis, ideal for hypotheses that require measurable evidence. In contrast, qualitative research delves into thematic and descriptive data, providing depth and context to hypotheses that explore behaviors, perceptions, and experiences.

The Role of Theoretical Frameworks

Theoretical frameworks serve as the backbone for developing robust hypotheses. They provide a structured way to align your hypothesis with existing knowledge. By integrating theories and models relevant to your study, you ensure that your hypothesis has a solid foundation and aligns with established academic thought.

Utilizing Existing Literature to Form Hypotheses

A thorough review of existing literature is indispensable for crafting a well-informed hypothesis. This process not only highlights gaps in current research but also allows you to build on the work of others. By synthesizing findings from previous studies, you can formulate hypotheses that are both innovative and grounded in academic precedent.

Evaluating the Impact of Well-Formed Research Questions and Hypotheses

On research outcomes.

Understanding the impact of well-formed research questions and hypotheses on research outcomes is crucial. Well-crafted questions and hypotheses serve as a framework that guides the entire research process , ensuring that the study remains focused and relevant. They help in defining the scope of the study and in identifying the variables that need to be measured, thus directly influencing the validity and reliability of the research findings.

In Academic Publishing

The role of well-defined research questions and hypotheses extends beyond the research process into the realm of academic publishing. A clear hypothesis provides a strong foundation for the research paper, enhancing its chances of acceptance in prestigious journals. The clarity and direction afforded by a solid hypothesis make the research more appealing to a scholarly audience, potentially increasing citation rates and academic recognition.

In Grant Applications

When applying for research grants, the clarity of your research questions and hypotheses can significantly impact the decision-making process of funding bodies. A well-articulated hypothesis demonstrates a clear vision and a structured approach to addressing a specific issue, which can be crucial in securing funding. Grant reviewers often look for proposals that promise substantial contributions to the field, and a strong hypothesis can be a key factor in showcasing the potential impact of your research.

In our latest article, 'Evaluating the Impact of Well-Formed Research Questions and Hypotheses,' we delve into the crucial role that precise questions and hypotheses play in academic research. Understanding this can significantly enhance your thesis writing process. For a deeper exploration and practical tools to apply these concepts, visit our website and discover how our Thesis Action Plan can transform your academic journey. Don't miss out on our special offers tailored just for you!

In this comprehensive guide, we have explored various examples of research questions and hypotheses, shedding light on their significance and application in academic research. Understanding the distinction between a research question and a hypothesis, as well as knowing how to effectively formulate them, is crucial for conducting methodical and impactful studies. By examining different scenarios and examples, this guide aims to equip researchers with the knowledge to craft well-defined research questions and hypotheses that can drive meaningful investigations and contribute to the broader field of knowledge. As we continue to delve into the intricacies of research design, it is our hope that this guide serves as a valuable resource for both novice and experienced researchers in their scholarly endeavors.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a research question.

A research question is a clearly defined query that guides a scientific or academic study. It sets the scope and focus of the research by asking about a specific phenomenon or issue.

How does a hypothesis differ from a research question?

A hypothesis is a specific, testable prediction about what will happen in a study based on prior knowledge or theory, while a research question is an open query that guides the direction of the investigation.

What are the characteristics of a strong hypothesis?

A strong hypothesis is clear, testable, based on existing knowledge, and it states an expected relationship between variables.

How can research questions and hypotheses interrelate?

Research questions define the scope of inquiry, while hypotheses provide a specific prediction about the expected outcomes that can be tested through research methods.

What should be considered when formulating a research question?

When formulating a research question, consider clarity, focus, relevance, and the feasibility of answering the question through available research methods.

Why is it important to have a well-formed hypothesis?

A well-formed hypothesis directs the research process, allows for clear testing of assumptions, and helps in drawing meaningful conclusions that can contribute to the body of knowledge.

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Research hypothesis: What it is, how to write it, types, and examples

What is a Research Hypothesis: How to Write it, Types, and Examples

hypothesis of research questions

Any research begins with a research question and a research hypothesis . A research question alone may not suffice to design the experiment(s) needed to answer it. A hypothesis is central to the scientific method. But what is a hypothesis ? A hypothesis is a testable statement that proposes a possible explanation to a phenomenon, and it may include a prediction. Next, you may ask what is a research hypothesis ? Simply put, a research hypothesis is a prediction or educated guess about the relationship between the variables that you want to investigate.  

It is important to be thorough when developing your research hypothesis. Shortcomings in the framing of a hypothesis can affect the study design and the results. A better understanding of the research hypothesis definition and characteristics of a good hypothesis will make it easier for you to develop your own hypothesis for your research. Let’s dive in to know more about the types of research hypothesis , how to write a research hypothesis , and some research hypothesis examples .  

Table of Contents

What is a hypothesis ?  

A hypothesis is based on the existing body of knowledge in a study area. Framed before the data are collected, a hypothesis states the tentative relationship between independent and dependent variables, along with a prediction of the outcome.  

What is a research hypothesis ?  

Young researchers starting out their journey are usually brimming with questions like “ What is a hypothesis ?” “ What is a research hypothesis ?” “How can I write a good research hypothesis ?”   

A research hypothesis is a statement that proposes a possible explanation for an observable phenomenon or pattern. It guides the direction of a study and predicts the outcome of the investigation. A research hypothesis is testable, i.e., it can be supported or disproven through experimentation or observation.     

hypothesis of research questions

Characteristics of a good hypothesis  

Here are the characteristics of a good hypothesis :  

  • Clearly formulated and free of language errors and ambiguity  
  • Concise and not unnecessarily verbose  
  • Has clearly defined variables  
  • Testable and stated in a way that allows for it to be disproven  
  • Can be tested using a research design that is feasible, ethical, and practical   
  • Specific and relevant to the research problem  
  • Rooted in a thorough literature search  
  • Can generate new knowledge or understanding.  

How to create an effective research hypothesis  

A study begins with the formulation of a research question. A researcher then performs background research. This background information forms the basis for building a good research hypothesis . The researcher then performs experiments, collects, and analyzes the data, interprets the findings, and ultimately, determines if the findings support or negate the original hypothesis.  

Let’s look at each step for creating an effective, testable, and good research hypothesis :  

  • Identify a research problem or question: Start by identifying a specific research problem.   
  • Review the literature: Conduct an in-depth review of the existing literature related to the research problem to grasp the current knowledge and gaps in the field.   
  • Formulate a clear and testable hypothesis : Based on the research question, use existing knowledge to form a clear and testable hypothesis . The hypothesis should state a predicted relationship between two or more variables that can be measured and manipulated. Improve the original draft till it is clear and meaningful.  
  • State the null hypothesis: The null hypothesis is a statement that there is no relationship between the variables you are studying.   
  • Define the population and sample: Clearly define the population you are studying and the sample you will be using for your research.  
  • Select appropriate methods for testing the hypothesis: Select appropriate research methods, such as experiments, surveys, or observational studies, which will allow you to test your research hypothesis .  

Remember that creating a research hypothesis is an iterative process, i.e., you might have to revise it based on the data you collect. You may need to test and reject several hypotheses before answering the research problem.  

How to write a research hypothesis  

When you start writing a research hypothesis , you use an “if–then” statement format, which states the predicted relationship between two or more variables. Clearly identify the independent variables (the variables being changed) and the dependent variables (the variables being measured), as well as the population you are studying. Review and revise your hypothesis as needed.  

An example of a research hypothesis in this format is as follows:  

“ If [athletes] follow [cold water showers daily], then their [endurance] increases.”  

Population: athletes  

Independent variable: daily cold water showers  

Dependent variable: endurance  

You may have understood the characteristics of a good hypothesis . But note that a research hypothesis is not always confirmed; a researcher should be prepared to accept or reject the hypothesis based on the study findings.  

hypothesis of research questions

Research hypothesis checklist  

Following from above, here is a 10-point checklist for a good research hypothesis :  

  • Testable: A research hypothesis should be able to be tested via experimentation or observation.  
  • Specific: A research hypothesis should clearly state the relationship between the variables being studied.  
  • Based on prior research: A research hypothesis should be based on existing knowledge and previous research in the field.  
  • Falsifiable: A research hypothesis should be able to be disproven through testing.  
  • Clear and concise: A research hypothesis should be stated in a clear and concise manner.  
  • Logical: A research hypothesis should be logical and consistent with current understanding of the subject.  
  • Relevant: A research hypothesis should be relevant to the research question and objectives.  
  • Feasible: A research hypothesis should be feasible to test within the scope of the study.  
  • Reflects the population: A research hypothesis should consider the population or sample being studied.  
  • Uncomplicated: A good research hypothesis is written in a way that is easy for the target audience to understand.  

By following this research hypothesis checklist , you will be able to create a research hypothesis that is strong, well-constructed, and more likely to yield meaningful results.  

Research hypothesis: What it is, how to write it, types, and examples

Types of research hypothesis  

Different types of research hypothesis are used in scientific research:  

1. Null hypothesis:

A null hypothesis states that there is no change in the dependent variable due to changes to the independent variable. This means that the results are due to chance and are not significant. A null hypothesis is denoted as H0 and is stated as the opposite of what the alternative hypothesis states.   

Example: “ The newly identified virus is not zoonotic .”  

2. Alternative hypothesis:

This states that there is a significant difference or relationship between the variables being studied. It is denoted as H1 or Ha and is usually accepted or rejected in favor of the null hypothesis.  

Example: “ The newly identified virus is zoonotic .”  

3. Directional hypothesis :

This specifies the direction of the relationship or difference between variables; therefore, it tends to use terms like increase, decrease, positive, negative, more, or less.   

Example: “ The inclusion of intervention X decreases infant mortality compared to the original treatment .”   

4. Non-directional hypothesis:

While it does not predict the exact direction or nature of the relationship between the two variables, a non-directional hypothesis states the existence of a relationship or difference between variables but not the direction, nature, or magnitude of the relationship. A non-directional hypothesis may be used when there is no underlying theory or when findings contradict previous research.  

Example, “ Cats and dogs differ in the amount of affection they express .”  

5. Simple hypothesis :

A simple hypothesis only predicts the relationship between one independent and another independent variable.  

Example: “ Applying sunscreen every day slows skin aging .”  

6 . Complex hypothesis :

A complex hypothesis states the relationship or difference between two or more independent and dependent variables.   

Example: “ Applying sunscreen every day slows skin aging, reduces sun burn, and reduces the chances of skin cancer .” (Here, the three dependent variables are slowing skin aging, reducing sun burn, and reducing the chances of skin cancer.)  

7. Associative hypothesis:  

An associative hypothesis states that a change in one variable results in the change of the other variable. The associative hypothesis defines interdependency between variables.  

Example: “ There is a positive association between physical activity levels and overall health .”  

8 . Causal hypothesis:

A causal hypothesis proposes a cause-and-effect interaction between variables.  

Example: “ Long-term alcohol use causes liver damage .”  

Note that some of the types of research hypothesis mentioned above might overlap. The types of hypothesis chosen will depend on the research question and the objective of the study.  

hypothesis of research questions

Research hypothesis examples  

Here are some good research hypothesis examples :  

“The use of a specific type of therapy will lead to a reduction in symptoms of depression in individuals with a history of major depressive disorder.”  

“Providing educational interventions on healthy eating habits will result in weight loss in overweight individuals.”  

“Plants that are exposed to certain types of music will grow taller than those that are not exposed to music.”  

“The use of the plant growth regulator X will lead to an increase in the number of flowers produced by plants.”  

Characteristics that make a research hypothesis weak are unclear variables, unoriginality, being too general or too vague, and being untestable. A weak hypothesis leads to weak research and improper methods.   

Some bad research hypothesis examples (and the reasons why they are “bad”) are as follows:  

“This study will show that treatment X is better than any other treatment . ” (This statement is not testable, too broad, and does not consider other treatments that may be effective.)  

“This study will prove that this type of therapy is effective for all mental disorders . ” (This statement is too broad and not testable as mental disorders are complex and different disorders may respond differently to different types of therapy.)  

“Plants can communicate with each other through telepathy . ” (This statement is not testable and lacks a scientific basis.)  

Importance of testable hypothesis  

If a research hypothesis is not testable, the results will not prove or disprove anything meaningful. The conclusions will be vague at best. A testable hypothesis helps a researcher focus on the study outcome and understand the implication of the question and the different variables involved. A testable hypothesis helps a researcher make precise predictions based on prior research.  

To be considered testable, there must be a way to prove that the hypothesis is true or false; further, the results of the hypothesis must be reproducible.  

Research hypothesis: What it is, how to write it, types, and examples

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on research hypothesis  

1. What is the difference between research question and research hypothesis ?  

A research question defines the problem and helps outline the study objective(s). It is an open-ended statement that is exploratory or probing in nature. Therefore, it does not make predictions or assumptions. It helps a researcher identify what information to collect. A research hypothesis , however, is a specific, testable prediction about the relationship between variables. Accordingly, it guides the study design and data analysis approach.

2. When to reject null hypothesis ?

A null hypothesis should be rejected when the evidence from a statistical test shows that it is unlikely to be true. This happens when the test statistic (e.g., p -value) is less than the defined significance level (e.g., 0.05). Rejecting the null hypothesis does not necessarily mean that the alternative hypothesis is true; it simply means that the evidence found is not compatible with the null hypothesis.  

3. How can I be sure my hypothesis is testable?  

A testable hypothesis should be specific and measurable, and it should state a clear relationship between variables that can be tested with data. To ensure that your hypothesis is testable, consider the following:  

  • Clearly define the key variables in your hypothesis. You should be able to measure and manipulate these variables in a way that allows you to test the hypothesis.  
  • The hypothesis should predict a specific outcome or relationship between variables that can be measured or quantified.   
  • You should be able to collect the necessary data within the constraints of your study.  
  • It should be possible for other researchers to replicate your study, using the same methods and variables.   
  • Your hypothesis should be testable by using appropriate statistical analysis techniques, so you can draw conclusions, and make inferences about the population from the sample data.  
  • The hypothesis should be able to be disproven or rejected through the collection of data.  

4. How do I revise my research hypothesis if my data does not support it?  

If your data does not support your research hypothesis , you will need to revise it or develop a new one. You should examine your data carefully and identify any patterns or anomalies, re-examine your research question, and/or revisit your theory to look for any alternative explanations for your results. Based on your review of the data, literature, and theories, modify your research hypothesis to better align it with the results you obtained. Use your revised hypothesis to guide your research design and data collection. It is important to remain objective throughout the process.  

5. I am performing exploratory research. Do I need to formulate a research hypothesis?  

As opposed to “confirmatory” research, where a researcher has some idea about the relationship between the variables under investigation, exploratory research (or hypothesis-generating research) looks into a completely new topic about which limited information is available. Therefore, the researcher will not have any prior hypotheses. In such cases, a researcher will need to develop a post-hoc hypothesis. A post-hoc research hypothesis is generated after these results are known.  

6. How is a research hypothesis different from a research question?

A research question is an inquiry about a specific topic or phenomenon, typically expressed as a question. It seeks to explore and understand a particular aspect of the research subject. In contrast, a research hypothesis is a specific statement or prediction that suggests an expected relationship between variables. It is formulated based on existing knowledge or theories and guides the research design and data analysis.

7. Can a research hypothesis change during the research process?

Yes, research hypotheses can change during the research process. As researchers collect and analyze data, new insights and information may emerge that require modification or refinement of the initial hypotheses. This can be due to unexpected findings, limitations in the original hypotheses, or the need to explore additional dimensions of the research topic. Flexibility is crucial in research, allowing for adaptation and adjustment of hypotheses to align with the evolving understanding of the subject matter.

8. How many hypotheses should be included in a research study?

The number of research hypotheses in a research study varies depending on the nature and scope of the research. It is not necessary to have multiple hypotheses in every study. Some studies may have only one primary hypothesis, while others may have several related hypotheses. The number of hypotheses should be determined based on the research objectives, research questions, and the complexity of the research topic. It is important to ensure that the hypotheses are focused, testable, and directly related to the research aims.

9. Can research hypotheses be used in qualitative research?

Yes, research hypotheses can be used in qualitative research, although they are more commonly associated with quantitative research. In qualitative research, hypotheses may be formulated as tentative or exploratory statements that guide the investigation. Instead of testing hypotheses through statistical analysis, qualitative researchers may use the hypotheses to guide data collection and analysis, seeking to uncover patterns, themes, or relationships within the qualitative data. The emphasis in qualitative research is often on generating insights and understanding rather than confirming or rejecting specific research hypotheses through statistical testing.

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Research Hypothesis: What It Is, Types + How to Develop?

A research hypothesis proposes a link between variables. Uncover its types and the secrets to creating hypotheses for scientific inquiry.

A research study starts with a question. Researchers worldwide ask questions and create research hypotheses. The effectiveness of research relies on developing a good research hypothesis. Examples of research hypotheses can guide researchers in writing effective ones.

In this blog, we’ll learn what a research hypothesis is, why it’s important in research, and the different types used in science. We’ll also guide you through creating your research hypothesis and discussing ways to test and evaluate it.

What is a Research Hypothesis?

A hypothesis is like a guess or idea that you suggest to check if it’s true. A research hypothesis is a statement that brings up a question and predicts what might happen.

It’s really important in the scientific method and is used in experiments to figure things out. Essentially, it’s an educated guess about how things are connected in the research.

A research hypothesis usually includes pointing out the independent variable (the thing they’re changing or studying) and the dependent variable (the result they’re measuring or watching). It helps plan how to gather and analyze data to see if there’s evidence to support or deny the expected connection between these variables.

Importance of Hypothesis in Research

Hypotheses are really important in research. They help design studies, allow for practical testing, and add to our scientific knowledge. Their main role is to organize research projects, making them purposeful, focused, and valuable to the scientific community. Let’s look at some key reasons why they matter:

  • A research hypothesis helps test theories.

A hypothesis plays a pivotal role in the scientific method by providing a basis for testing existing theories. For example, a hypothesis might test the predictive power of a psychological theory on human behavior.

  • It serves as a great platform for investigation activities.

It serves as a launching pad for investigation activities, which offers researchers a clear starting point. A research hypothesis can explore the relationship between exercise and stress reduction.

  • Hypothesis guides the research work or study.

A well-formulated hypothesis guides the entire research process. It ensures that the study remains focused and purposeful. For instance, a hypothesis about the impact of social media on interpersonal relationships provides clear guidance for a study.

  • Hypothesis sometimes suggests theories.

In some cases, a hypothesis can suggest new theories or modifications to existing ones. For example, a hypothesis testing the effectiveness of a new drug might prompt a reconsideration of current medical theories.

  • It helps in knowing the data needs.

A hypothesis clarifies the data requirements for a study, ensuring that researchers collect the necessary information—a hypothesis guiding the collection of demographic data to analyze the influence of age on a particular phenomenon.

  • The hypothesis explains social phenomena.

Hypotheses are instrumental in explaining complex social phenomena. For instance, a hypothesis might explore the relationship between economic factors and crime rates in a given community.

  • Hypothesis provides a relationship between phenomena for empirical Testing.

Hypotheses establish clear relationships between phenomena, paving the way for empirical testing. An example could be a hypothesis exploring the correlation between sleep patterns and academic performance.

  • It helps in knowing the most suitable analysis technique.

A hypothesis guides researchers in selecting the most appropriate analysis techniques for their data. For example, a hypothesis focusing on the effectiveness of a teaching method may lead to the choice of statistical analyses best suited for educational research.

Characteristics of a Good Research Hypothesis

A hypothesis is a specific idea that you can test in a study. It often comes from looking at past research and theories. A good hypothesis usually starts with a research question that you can explore through background research. For it to be effective, consider these key characteristics:

  • Clear and Focused Language: A good hypothesis uses clear and focused language to avoid confusion and ensure everyone understands it.
  • Related to the Research Topic: The hypothesis should directly relate to the research topic, acting as a bridge between the specific question and the broader study.
  • Testable: An effective hypothesis can be tested, meaning its prediction can be checked with real data to support or challenge the proposed relationship.
  • Potential for Exploration: A good hypothesis often comes from a research question that invites further exploration. Doing background research helps find gaps and potential areas to investigate.
  • Includes Variables: The hypothesis should clearly state both the independent and dependent variables, specifying the factors being studied and the expected outcomes.
  • Ethical Considerations: Check if variables can be manipulated without breaking ethical standards. It’s crucial to maintain ethical research practices.
  • Predicts Outcomes: The hypothesis should predict the expected relationship and outcome, acting as a roadmap for the study and guiding data collection and analysis.
  • Simple and Concise: A good hypothesis avoids unnecessary complexity and is simple and concise, expressing the essence of the proposed relationship clearly.
  • Clear and Assumption-Free: The hypothesis should be clear and free from assumptions about the reader’s prior knowledge, ensuring universal understanding.
  • Observable and Testable Results: A strong hypothesis implies research that produces observable and testable results, making sure the study’s outcomes can be effectively measured and analyzed.

When you use these characteristics as a checklist, it can help you create a good research hypothesis. It’ll guide improving and strengthening the hypothesis, identifying any weaknesses, and making necessary changes. Crafting a hypothesis with these features helps you conduct a thorough and insightful research study.

Types of Research Hypotheses

The research hypothesis comes in various types, each serving a specific purpose in guiding the scientific investigation. Knowing the differences will make it easier for you to create your own hypothesis. Here’s an overview of the common types:

01. Null Hypothesis

The null hypothesis states that there is no connection between two considered variables or that two groups are unrelated. As discussed earlier, a hypothesis is an unproven assumption lacking sufficient supporting data. It serves as the statement researchers aim to disprove. It is testable, verifiable, and can be rejected.

For example, if you’re studying the relationship between Project A and Project B, assuming both projects are of equal standard is your null hypothesis. It needs to be specific for your study.

02. Alternative Hypothesis

The alternative hypothesis is basically another option to the null hypothesis. It involves looking for a significant change or alternative that could lead you to reject the null hypothesis. It’s a different idea compared to the null hypothesis.

When you create a null hypothesis, you’re making an educated guess about whether something is true or if there’s a connection between that thing and another variable. If the null view suggests something is correct, the alternative hypothesis says it’s incorrect. 

For instance, if your null hypothesis is “I’m going to be $1000 richer,” the alternative hypothesis would be “I’m not going to get $1000 or be richer.”

03. Directional Hypothesis

The directional hypothesis predicts the direction of the relationship between independent and dependent variables. They specify whether the effect will be positive or negative.

If you increase your study hours, you will experience a positive association with your exam scores. This hypothesis suggests that as you increase the independent variable (study hours), there will also be an increase in the dependent variable (exam scores).

04. Non-directional Hypothesis

The non-directional hypothesis predicts the existence of a relationship between variables but does not specify the direction of the effect. It suggests that there will be a significant difference or relationship, but it does not predict the nature of that difference.

For example, you will find no notable difference in test scores between students who receive the educational intervention and those who do not. However, once you compare the test scores of the two groups, you will notice an important difference.

05. Simple Hypothesis

A simple hypothesis predicts a relationship between one dependent variable and one independent variable without specifying the nature of that relationship. It’s simple and usually used when we don’t know much about how the two things are connected.

For example, if you adopt effective study habits, you will achieve higher exam scores than those with poor study habits.

06. Complex Hypothesis

A complex hypothesis is an idea that specifies a relationship between multiple independent and dependent variables. It is a more detailed idea than a simple hypothesis.

While a simple view suggests a straightforward cause-and-effect relationship between two things, a complex hypothesis involves many factors and how they’re connected to each other.

For example, when you increase your study time, you tend to achieve higher exam scores. The connection between your study time and exam performance is affected by various factors, including the quality of your sleep, your motivation levels, and the effectiveness of your study techniques.

If you sleep well, stay highly motivated, and use effective study strategies, you may observe a more robust positive correlation between the time you spend studying and your exam scores, unlike those who may lack these factors.

07. Associative Hypothesis

An associative hypothesis proposes a connection between two things without saying that one causes the other. Basically, it suggests that when one thing changes, the other changes too, but it doesn’t claim that one thing is causing the change in the other.

For example, you will likely notice higher exam scores when you increase your study time. You can recognize an association between your study time and exam scores in this scenario.

Your hypothesis acknowledges a relationship between the two variables—your study time and exam scores—without asserting that increased study time directly causes higher exam scores. You need to consider that other factors, like motivation or learning style, could affect the observed association.

08. Causal Hypothesis

A causal hypothesis proposes a cause-and-effect relationship between two variables. It suggests that changes in one variable directly cause changes in another variable.

For example, when you increase your study time, you experience higher exam scores. This hypothesis suggests a direct cause-and-effect relationship, indicating that the more time you spend studying, the higher your exam scores. It assumes that changes in your study time directly influence changes in your exam performance.

09. Empirical Hypothesis

An empirical hypothesis is a statement based on things we can see and measure. It comes from direct observation or experiments and can be tested with real-world evidence. If an experiment proves a theory, it supports the idea and shows it’s not just a guess. This makes the statement more reliable than a wild guess.

For example, if you increase the dosage of a certain medication, you might observe a quicker recovery time for patients. Imagine you’re in charge of a clinical trial. In this trial, patients are given varying dosages of the medication, and you measure and compare their recovery times. This allows you to directly see the effects of different dosages on how fast patients recover.

This way, you can create a research hypothesis: “Increasing the dosage of a certain medication will lead to a faster recovery time for patients.”

10. Statistical Hypothesis

A statistical hypothesis is a statement or assumption about a population parameter that is the subject of an investigation. It serves as the basis for statistical analysis and testing. It is often tested using statistical methods to draw inferences about the larger population.

In a hypothesis test, statistical evidence is collected to either reject the null hypothesis in favor of the alternative hypothesis or fail to reject the null hypothesis due to insufficient evidence.

For example, let’s say you’re testing a new medicine. Your hypothesis could be that the medicine doesn’t really help patients get better. So, you collect data and use statistics to see if your guess is right or if the medicine actually makes a difference.

If the data strongly shows that the medicine does help, you say your guess was wrong, and the medicine does make a difference. But if the proof isn’t strong enough, you can stick with your original guess because you didn’t get enough evidence to change your mind.

How to Develop a Research Hypotheses?

Step 1: identify your research problem or topic..

Define the area of interest or the problem you want to investigate. Make sure it’s clear and well-defined.

Start by asking a question about your chosen topic. Consider the limitations of your research and create a straightforward problem related to your topic. Once you’ve done that, you can develop and test a hypothesis with evidence.

Step 2: Conduct a literature review

Review existing literature related to your research problem. This will help you understand the current state of knowledge in the field, identify gaps, and build a foundation for your hypothesis. Consider the following questions:

  • What existing research has been conducted on your chosen topic?
  • Are there any gaps or unanswered questions in the current literature?
  • How will the existing literature contribute to the foundation of your research?

Step 3: Formulate your research question

Based on your literature review, create a specific and concise research question that addresses your identified problem. Your research question should be clear, focused, and relevant to your field of study.

Step 4: Identify variables

Determine the key variables involved in your research question. Variables are the factors or phenomena that you will study and manipulate to test your hypothesis.

  • Independent Variable: The variable you manipulate or control.
  • Dependent Variable: The variable you measure to observe the effect of the independent variable.

Step 5: State the Null hypothesis

The null hypothesis is a statement that there is no significant difference or effect. It serves as a baseline for comparison with the alternative hypothesis.

Step 6: Select appropriate methods for testing the hypothesis

Choose research methods that align with your study objectives, such as experiments, surveys, or observational studies. The selected methods enable you to test your research hypothesis effectively.

Creating a research hypothesis usually takes more than one try. Expect to make changes as you collect data. It’s normal to test and say no to a few hypotheses before you find the right answer to your research question.

Testing and Evaluating Hypotheses

Testing hypotheses is a really important part of research. It’s like the practical side of things. Here, real-world evidence will help you determine how different things are connected. Let’s explore the main steps in hypothesis testing:

  • State your research hypothesis.

Before testing, clearly articulate your research hypothesis. This involves framing both a null hypothesis, suggesting no significant effect or relationship, and an alternative hypothesis, proposing the expected outcome.

  • Collect data strategically.

Plan how you will gather information in a way that fits your study. Make sure your data collection method matches the things you’re studying.

Whether through surveys, observations, or experiments, this step demands precision and adherence to the established methodology. The quality of data collected directly influences the credibility of study outcomes.

  • Perform an appropriate statistical test.

Choose a statistical test that aligns with the nature of your data and the hypotheses being tested. Whether it’s a t-test, chi-square test, ANOVA, or regression analysis, selecting the right statistical tool is paramount for accurate and reliable results.

  • Decide if your idea was right or wrong.

Following the statistical analysis, evaluate the results in the context of your null hypothesis. You need to decide if you should reject your null hypothesis or not.

  • Share what you found.

When discussing what you found in your research, be clear and organized. Say whether your idea was supported or not, and talk about what your results mean. Also, mention any limits to your study and suggest ideas for future research.

The Role of QuestionPro to Develop a Good Research Hypothesis

QuestionPro is a survey and research platform that provides tools for creating, distributing, and analyzing surveys. It plays a crucial role in the research process, especially when you’re in the initial stages of hypothesis development. Here’s how QuestionPro can help you to develop a good research hypothesis:

  • Survey design and data collection: You can use the platform to create targeted questions that help you gather relevant data.
  • Exploratory research: Through surveys and feedback mechanisms on QuestionPro, you can conduct exploratory research to understand the landscape of a particular subject.
  • Literature review and background research: QuestionPro surveys can collect sample population opinions, experiences, and preferences. This data and a thorough literature evaluation can help you generate a well-grounded hypothesis by improving your research knowledge.
  • Identifying variables: Using targeted survey questions, you can identify relevant variables related to their research topic.
  • Testing assumptions: You can use surveys to informally test certain assumptions or hypotheses before formalizing a research hypothesis.
  • Data analysis tools: QuestionPro provides tools for analyzing survey data. You can use these tools to identify the collected data’s patterns, correlations, or trends.
  • Refining your hypotheses: As you collect data through QuestionPro, you can adjust your hypotheses based on the real-world responses you receive.

A research hypothesis is like a guide for researchers in science. It’s a well-thought-out idea that has been thoroughly tested. This idea is crucial as researchers can explore different fields, such as medicine, social sciences, and natural sciences. The research hypothesis links theories to real-world evidence and gives researchers a clear path to explore and make discoveries.

QuestionPro Research Suite is a helpful tool for researchers. It makes creating surveys, collecting data, and analyzing information easily. It supports all kinds of research, from exploring new ideas to forming hypotheses. With a focus on using data, it helps researchers do their best work.

Are you interested in learning more about QuestionPro Research Suite? Take advantage of QuestionPro’s free trial to get an initial look at its capabilities and realize the full potential of your research efforts.

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  • How to Write a Strong Hypothesis | Guide & Examples

How to Write a Strong Hypothesis | Guide & Examples

Published on 6 May 2022 by Shona McCombes .

A hypothesis is a statement that can be tested by scientific research. If you want to test a relationship between two or more variables, you need to write hypotheses before you start your experiment or data collection.

Table of contents

What is a hypothesis, developing a hypothesis (with example), hypothesis examples, frequently asked questions about writing hypotheses.

A hypothesis states your predictions about what your research will find. It is a tentative answer to your research question that has not yet been tested. For some research projects, you might have to write several hypotheses that address different aspects of your research question.

A hypothesis is not just a guess – it should be based on existing theories and knowledge. It also has to be testable, which means you can support or refute it through scientific research methods (such as experiments, observations, and statistical analysis of data).

Variables in hypotheses

Hypotheses propose a relationship between two or more variables . An independent variable is something the researcher changes or controls. A dependent variable is something the researcher observes and measures.

In this example, the independent variable is exposure to the sun – the assumed cause . The dependent variable is the level of happiness – the assumed effect .

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Step 1: ask a question.

Writing a hypothesis begins with a research question that you want to answer. The question should be focused, specific, and researchable within the constraints of your project.

Step 2: Do some preliminary research

Your initial answer to the question should be based on what is already known about the topic. Look for theories and previous studies to help you form educated assumptions about what your research will find.

At this stage, you might construct a conceptual framework to identify which variables you will study and what you think the relationships are between them. Sometimes, you’ll have to operationalise more complex constructs.

Step 3: Formulate your hypothesis

Now you should have some idea of what you expect to find. Write your initial answer to the question in a clear, concise sentence.

Step 4: Refine your hypothesis

You need to make sure your hypothesis is specific and testable. There are various ways of phrasing a hypothesis, but all the terms you use should have clear definitions, and the hypothesis should contain:

  • The relevant variables
  • The specific group being studied
  • The predicted outcome of the experiment or analysis

Step 5: Phrase your hypothesis in three ways

To identify the variables, you can write a simple prediction in if … then form. The first part of the sentence states the independent variable and the second part states the dependent variable.

In academic research, hypotheses are more commonly phrased in terms of correlations or effects, where you directly state the predicted relationship between variables.

If you are comparing two groups, the hypothesis can state what difference you expect to find between them.

Step 6. Write a null hypothesis

If your research involves statistical hypothesis testing , you will also have to write a null hypothesis. The null hypothesis is the default position that there is no association between the variables. The null hypothesis is written as H 0 , while the alternative hypothesis is H 1 or H a .

Research question Hypothesis Null hypothesis
What are the health benefits of eating an apple a day? Increasing apple consumption in over-60s will result in decreasing frequency of doctor’s visits. Increasing apple consumption in over-60s will have no effect on frequency of doctor’s visits.
Which airlines have the most delays? Low-cost airlines are more likely to have delays than premium airlines. Low-cost and premium airlines are equally likely to have delays.
Can flexible work arrangements improve job satisfaction? Employees who have flexible working hours will report greater job satisfaction than employees who work fixed hours. There is no relationship between working hour flexibility and job satisfaction.
How effective is secondary school sex education at reducing teen pregnancies? Teenagers who received sex education lessons throughout secondary school will have lower rates of unplanned pregnancy than teenagers who did not receive any sex education. Secondary school sex education has no effect on teen pregnancy rates.
What effect does daily use of social media have on the attention span of under-16s? There is a negative correlation between time spent on social media and attention span in under-16s. There is no relationship between social media use and attention span in under-16s.

Hypothesis testing is a formal procedure for investigating our ideas about the world using statistics. It is used by scientists to test specific predictions, called hypotheses , by calculating how likely it is that a pattern or relationship between variables could have arisen by chance.

A hypothesis is not just a guess. It should be based on existing theories and knowledge. It also has to be testable, which means you can support or refute it through scientific research methods (such as experiments, observations, and statistical analysis of data).

A research hypothesis is your proposed answer to your research question. The research hypothesis usually includes an explanation (‘ x affects y because …’).

A statistical hypothesis, on the other hand, is a mathematical statement about a population parameter. Statistical hypotheses always come in pairs: the null and alternative hypotheses. In a well-designed study , the statistical hypotheses correspond logically to the research hypothesis.

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How to Write a Great Hypothesis

Hypothesis Definition, Format, Examples, and Tips

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

hypothesis of research questions

Amy Morin, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.

hypothesis of research questions

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  • The Scientific Method

Hypothesis Format

Falsifiability of a hypothesis.

  • Operationalization

Hypothesis Types

Hypotheses examples.

  • Collecting Data

A hypothesis is a tentative statement about the relationship between two or more variables. It is a specific, testable prediction about what you expect to happen in a study. It is a preliminary answer to your question that helps guide the research process.

Consider a study designed to examine the relationship between sleep deprivation and test performance. The hypothesis might be: "This study is designed to assess the hypothesis that sleep-deprived people will perform worse on a test than individuals who are not sleep-deprived."

At a Glance

A hypothesis is crucial to scientific research because it offers a clear direction for what the researchers are looking to find. This allows them to design experiments to test their predictions and add to our scientific knowledge about the world. This article explores how a hypothesis is used in psychology research, how to write a good hypothesis, and the different types of hypotheses you might use.

The Hypothesis in the Scientific Method

In the scientific method , whether it involves research in psychology, biology, or some other area, a hypothesis represents what the researchers think will happen in an experiment. The scientific method involves the following steps:

  • Forming a question
  • Performing background research
  • Creating a hypothesis
  • Designing an experiment
  • Collecting data
  • Analyzing the results
  • Drawing conclusions
  • Communicating the results

The hypothesis is a prediction, but it involves more than a guess. Most of the time, the hypothesis begins with a question which is then explored through background research. At this point, researchers then begin to develop a testable hypothesis.

Unless you are creating an exploratory study, your hypothesis should always explain what you  expect  to happen.

In a study exploring the effects of a particular drug, the hypothesis might be that researchers expect the drug to have some type of effect on the symptoms of a specific illness. In psychology, the hypothesis might focus on how a certain aspect of the environment might influence a particular behavior.

Remember, a hypothesis does not have to be correct. While the hypothesis predicts what the researchers expect to see, the goal of the research is to determine whether this guess is right or wrong. When conducting an experiment, researchers might explore numerous factors to determine which ones might contribute to the ultimate outcome.

In many cases, researchers may find that the results of an experiment  do not  support the original hypothesis. When writing up these results, the researchers might suggest other options that should be explored in future studies.

In many cases, researchers might draw a hypothesis from a specific theory or build on previous research. For example, prior research has shown that stress can impact the immune system. So a researcher might hypothesize: "People with high-stress levels will be more likely to contract a common cold after being exposed to the virus than people who have low-stress levels."

In other instances, researchers might look at commonly held beliefs or folk wisdom. "Birds of a feather flock together" is one example of folk adage that a psychologist might try to investigate. The researcher might pose a specific hypothesis that "People tend to select romantic partners who are similar to them in interests and educational level."

Elements of a Good Hypothesis

So how do you write a good hypothesis? When trying to come up with a hypothesis for your research or experiments, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is your hypothesis based on your research on a topic?
  • Can your hypothesis be tested?
  • Does your hypothesis include independent and dependent variables?

Before you come up with a specific hypothesis, spend some time doing background research. Once you have completed a literature review, start thinking about potential questions you still have. Pay attention to the discussion section in the  journal articles you read . Many authors will suggest questions that still need to be explored.

How to Formulate a Good Hypothesis

To form a hypothesis, you should take these steps:

  • Collect as many observations about a topic or problem as you can.
  • Evaluate these observations and look for possible causes of the problem.
  • Create a list of possible explanations that you might want to explore.
  • After you have developed some possible hypotheses, think of ways that you could confirm or disprove each hypothesis through experimentation. This is known as falsifiability.

In the scientific method ,  falsifiability is an important part of any valid hypothesis. In order to test a claim scientifically, it must be possible that the claim could be proven false.

Students sometimes confuse the idea of falsifiability with the idea that it means that something is false, which is not the case. What falsifiability means is that  if  something was false, then it is possible to demonstrate that it is false.

One of the hallmarks of pseudoscience is that it makes claims that cannot be refuted or proven false.

The Importance of Operational Definitions

A variable is a factor or element that can be changed and manipulated in ways that are observable and measurable. However, the researcher must also define how the variable will be manipulated and measured in the study.

Operational definitions are specific definitions for all relevant factors in a study. This process helps make vague or ambiguous concepts detailed and measurable.

For example, a researcher might operationally define the variable " test anxiety " as the results of a self-report measure of anxiety experienced during an exam. A "study habits" variable might be defined by the amount of studying that actually occurs as measured by time.

These precise descriptions are important because many things can be measured in various ways. Clearly defining these variables and how they are measured helps ensure that other researchers can replicate your results.

Replicability

One of the basic principles of any type of scientific research is that the results must be replicable.

Replication means repeating an experiment in the same way to produce the same results. By clearly detailing the specifics of how the variables were measured and manipulated, other researchers can better understand the results and repeat the study if needed.

Some variables are more difficult than others to define. For example, how would you operationally define a variable such as aggression ? For obvious ethical reasons, researchers cannot create a situation in which a person behaves aggressively toward others.

To measure this variable, the researcher must devise a measurement that assesses aggressive behavior without harming others. The researcher might utilize a simulated task to measure aggressiveness in this situation.

Hypothesis Checklist

  • Does your hypothesis focus on something that you can actually test?
  • Does your hypothesis include both an independent and dependent variable?
  • Can you manipulate the variables?
  • Can your hypothesis be tested without violating ethical standards?

The hypothesis you use will depend on what you are investigating and hoping to find. Some of the main types of hypotheses that you might use include:

  • Simple hypothesis : This type of hypothesis suggests there is a relationship between one independent variable and one dependent variable.
  • Complex hypothesis : This type suggests a relationship between three or more variables, such as two independent and dependent variables.
  • Null hypothesis : This hypothesis suggests no relationship exists between two or more variables.
  • Alternative hypothesis : This hypothesis states the opposite of the null hypothesis.
  • Statistical hypothesis : This hypothesis uses statistical analysis to evaluate a representative population sample and then generalizes the findings to the larger group.
  • Logical hypothesis : This hypothesis assumes a relationship between variables without collecting data or evidence.

A hypothesis often follows a basic format of "If {this happens} then {this will happen}." One way to structure your hypothesis is to describe what will happen to the  dependent variable  if you change the  independent variable .

The basic format might be: "If {these changes are made to a certain independent variable}, then we will observe {a change in a specific dependent variable}."

A few examples of simple hypotheses:

  • "Students who eat breakfast will perform better on a math exam than students who do not eat breakfast."
  • "Students who experience test anxiety before an English exam will get lower scores than students who do not experience test anxiety."​
  • "Motorists who talk on the phone while driving will be more likely to make errors on a driving course than those who do not talk on the phone."
  • "Children who receive a new reading intervention will have higher reading scores than students who do not receive the intervention."

Examples of a complex hypothesis include:

  • "People with high-sugar diets and sedentary activity levels are more likely to develop depression."
  • "Younger people who are regularly exposed to green, outdoor areas have better subjective well-being than older adults who have limited exposure to green spaces."

Examples of a null hypothesis include:

  • "There is no difference in anxiety levels between people who take St. John's wort supplements and those who do not."
  • "There is no difference in scores on a memory recall task between children and adults."
  • "There is no difference in aggression levels between children who play first-person shooter games and those who do not."

Examples of an alternative hypothesis:

  • "People who take St. John's wort supplements will have less anxiety than those who do not."
  • "Adults will perform better on a memory task than children."
  • "Children who play first-person shooter games will show higher levels of aggression than children who do not." 

Collecting Data on Your Hypothesis

Once a researcher has formed a testable hypothesis, the next step is to select a research design and start collecting data. The research method depends largely on exactly what they are studying. There are two basic types of research methods: descriptive research and experimental research.

Descriptive Research Methods

Descriptive research such as  case studies ,  naturalistic observations , and surveys are often used when  conducting an experiment is difficult or impossible. These methods are best used to describe different aspects of a behavior or psychological phenomenon.

Once a researcher has collected data using descriptive methods, a  correlational study  can examine how the variables are related. This research method might be used to investigate a hypothesis that is difficult to test experimentally.

Experimental Research Methods

Experimental methods  are used to demonstrate causal relationships between variables. In an experiment, the researcher systematically manipulates a variable of interest (known as the independent variable) and measures the effect on another variable (known as the dependent variable).

Unlike correlational studies, which can only be used to determine if there is a relationship between two variables, experimental methods can be used to determine the actual nature of the relationship—whether changes in one variable actually  cause  another to change.

The hypothesis is a critical part of any scientific exploration. It represents what researchers expect to find in a study or experiment. In situations where the hypothesis is unsupported by the research, the research still has value. Such research helps us better understand how different aspects of the natural world relate to one another. It also helps us develop new hypotheses that can then be tested in the future.

Thompson WH, Skau S. On the scope of scientific hypotheses .  R Soc Open Sci . 2023;10(8):230607. doi:10.1098/rsos.230607

Taran S, Adhikari NKJ, Fan E. Falsifiability in medicine: what clinicians can learn from Karl Popper [published correction appears in Intensive Care Med. 2021 Jun 17;:].  Intensive Care Med . 2021;47(9):1054-1056. doi:10.1007/s00134-021-06432-z

Eyler AA. Research Methods for Public Health . 1st ed. Springer Publishing Company; 2020. doi:10.1891/9780826182067.0004

Nosek BA, Errington TM. What is replication ?  PLoS Biol . 2020;18(3):e3000691. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.3000691

Aggarwal R, Ranganathan P. Study designs: Part 2 - Descriptive studies .  Perspect Clin Res . 2019;10(1):34-36. doi:10.4103/picr.PICR_154_18

Nevid J. Psychology: Concepts and Applications. Wadworth, 2013.

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

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What Is A Research (Scientific) Hypothesis? A plain-language explainer + examples

By:  Derek Jansen (MBA)  | Reviewed By: Dr Eunice Rautenbach | June 2020

If you’re new to the world of research, or it’s your first time writing a dissertation or thesis, you’re probably noticing that the words “research hypothesis” and “scientific hypothesis” are used quite a bit, and you’re wondering what they mean in a research context .

“Hypothesis” is one of those words that people use loosely, thinking they understand what it means. However, it has a very specific meaning within academic research. So, it’s important to understand the exact meaning before you start hypothesizing. 

Research Hypothesis 101

  • What is a hypothesis ?
  • What is a research hypothesis (scientific hypothesis)?
  • Requirements for a research hypothesis
  • Definition of a research hypothesis
  • The null hypothesis

What is a hypothesis?

Let’s start with the general definition of a hypothesis (not a research hypothesis or scientific hypothesis), according to the Cambridge Dictionary:

Hypothesis: an idea or explanation for something that is based on known facts but has not yet been proved.

In other words, it’s a statement that provides an explanation for why or how something works, based on facts (or some reasonable assumptions), but that has not yet been specifically tested . For example, a hypothesis might look something like this:

Hypothesis: sleep impacts academic performance.

This statement predicts that academic performance will be influenced by the amount and/or quality of sleep a student engages in – sounds reasonable, right? It’s based on reasonable assumptions , underpinned by what we currently know about sleep and health (from the existing literature). So, loosely speaking, we could call it a hypothesis, at least by the dictionary definition.

But that’s not good enough…

Unfortunately, that’s not quite sophisticated enough to describe a research hypothesis (also sometimes called a scientific hypothesis), and it wouldn’t be acceptable in a dissertation, thesis or research paper . In the world of academic research, a statement needs a few more criteria to constitute a true research hypothesis .

What is a research hypothesis?

A research hypothesis (also called a scientific hypothesis) is a statement about the expected outcome of a study (for example, a dissertation or thesis). To constitute a quality hypothesis, the statement needs to have three attributes – specificity , clarity and testability .

Let’s take a look at these more closely.

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hypothesis of research questions

Hypothesis Essential #1: Specificity & Clarity

A good research hypothesis needs to be extremely clear and articulate about both what’ s being assessed (who or what variables are involved ) and the expected outcome (for example, a difference between groups, a relationship between variables, etc.).

Let’s stick with our sleepy students example and look at how this statement could be more specific and clear.

Hypothesis: Students who sleep at least 8 hours per night will, on average, achieve higher grades in standardised tests than students who sleep less than 8 hours a night.

As you can see, the statement is very specific as it identifies the variables involved (sleep hours and test grades), the parties involved (two groups of students), as well as the predicted relationship type (a positive relationship). There’s no ambiguity or uncertainty about who or what is involved in the statement, and the expected outcome is clear.

Contrast that to the original hypothesis we looked at – “Sleep impacts academic performance” – and you can see the difference. “Sleep” and “academic performance” are both comparatively vague , and there’s no indication of what the expected relationship direction is (more sleep or less sleep). As you can see, specificity and clarity are key.

A good research hypothesis needs to be very clear about what’s being assessed and very specific about the expected outcome.

Hypothesis Essential #2: Testability (Provability)

A statement must be testable to qualify as a research hypothesis. In other words, there needs to be a way to prove (or disprove) the statement. If it’s not testable, it’s not a hypothesis – simple as that.

For example, consider the hypothesis we mentioned earlier:

Hypothesis: Students who sleep at least 8 hours per night will, on average, achieve higher grades in standardised tests than students who sleep less than 8 hours a night.  

We could test this statement by undertaking a quantitative study involving two groups of students, one that gets 8 or more hours of sleep per night for a fixed period, and one that gets less. We could then compare the standardised test results for both groups to see if there’s a statistically significant difference. 

Again, if you compare this to the original hypothesis we looked at – “Sleep impacts academic performance” – you can see that it would be quite difficult to test that statement, primarily because it isn’t specific enough. How much sleep? By who? What type of academic performance?

So, remember the mantra – if you can’t test it, it’s not a hypothesis 🙂

A good research hypothesis must be testable. In other words, you must able to collect observable data in a scientifically rigorous fashion to test it.

Defining A Research Hypothesis

You’re still with us? Great! Let’s recap and pin down a clear definition of a hypothesis.

A research hypothesis (or scientific hypothesis) is a statement about an expected relationship between variables, or explanation of an occurrence, that is clear, specific and testable.

So, when you write up hypotheses for your dissertation or thesis, make sure that they meet all these criteria. If you do, you’ll not only have rock-solid hypotheses but you’ll also ensure a clear focus for your entire research project.

What about the null hypothesis?

You may have also heard the terms null hypothesis , alternative hypothesis, or H-zero thrown around. At a simple level, the null hypothesis is the counter-proposal to the original hypothesis.

For example, if the hypothesis predicts that there is a relationship between two variables (for example, sleep and academic performance), the null hypothesis would predict that there is no relationship between those variables.

At a more technical level, the null hypothesis proposes that no statistical significance exists in a set of given observations and that any differences are due to chance alone.

And there you have it – hypotheses in a nutshell. 

If you have any questions, be sure to leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to help you. If you need hands-on help developing and testing your hypotheses, consider our private coaching service , where we hold your hand through the research journey.

hypothesis of research questions

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16 Comments

Lynnet Chikwaikwai

Very useful information. I benefit more from getting more information in this regard.

Dr. WuodArek

Very great insight,educative and informative. Please give meet deep critics on many research data of public international Law like human rights, environment, natural resources, law of the sea etc

Afshin

In a book I read a distinction is made between null, research, and alternative hypothesis. As far as I understand, alternative and research hypotheses are the same. Can you please elaborate? Best Afshin

GANDI Benjamin

This is a self explanatory, easy going site. I will recommend this to my friends and colleagues.

Lucile Dossou-Yovo

Very good definition. How can I cite your definition in my thesis? Thank you. Is nul hypothesis compulsory in a research?

Pereria

It’s a counter-proposal to be proven as a rejection

Egya Salihu

Please what is the difference between alternate hypothesis and research hypothesis?

Mulugeta Tefera

It is a very good explanation. However, it limits hypotheses to statistically tasteable ideas. What about for qualitative researches or other researches that involve quantitative data that don’t need statistical tests?

Derek Jansen

In qualitative research, one typically uses propositions, not hypotheses.

Samia

could you please elaborate it more

Patricia Nyawir

I’ve benefited greatly from these notes, thank you.

Hopeson Khondiwa

This is very helpful

Dr. Andarge

well articulated ideas are presented here, thank you for being reliable sources of information

TAUNO

Excellent. Thanks for being clear and sound about the research methodology and hypothesis (quantitative research)

I have only a simple question regarding the null hypothesis. – Is the null hypothesis (Ho) known as the reversible hypothesis of the alternative hypothesis (H1? – How to test it in academic research?

Tesfaye Negesa Urge

this is very important note help me much more

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Research questions, hypotheses and objectives

Patricia farrugia.

* Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, the

Bradley A. Petrisor

† Division of Orthopaedic Surgery and the

Forough Farrokhyar

‡ Departments of Surgery and

§ Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont

Mohit Bhandari

There is an increasing familiarity with the principles of evidence-based medicine in the surgical community. As surgeons become more aware of the hierarchy of evidence, grades of recommendations and the principles of critical appraisal, they develop an increasing familiarity with research design. Surgeons and clinicians are looking more and more to the literature and clinical trials to guide their practice; as such, it is becoming a responsibility of the clinical research community to attempt to answer questions that are not only well thought out but also clinically relevant. The development of the research question, including a supportive hypothesis and objectives, is a necessary key step in producing clinically relevant results to be used in evidence-based practice. A well-defined and specific research question is more likely to help guide us in making decisions about study design and population and subsequently what data will be collected and analyzed. 1

Objectives of this article

In this article, we discuss important considerations in the development of a research question and hypothesis and in defining objectives for research. By the end of this article, the reader will be able to appreciate the significance of constructing a good research question and developing hypotheses and research objectives for the successful design of a research study. The following article is divided into 3 sections: research question, research hypothesis and research objectives.

Research question

Interest in a particular topic usually begins the research process, but it is the familiarity with the subject that helps define an appropriate research question for a study. 1 Questions then arise out of a perceived knowledge deficit within a subject area or field of study. 2 Indeed, Haynes suggests that it is important to know “where the boundary between current knowledge and ignorance lies.” 1 The challenge in developing an appropriate research question is in determining which clinical uncertainties could or should be studied and also rationalizing the need for their investigation.

Increasing one’s knowledge about the subject of interest can be accomplished in many ways. Appropriate methods include systematically searching the literature, in-depth interviews and focus groups with patients (and proxies) and interviews with experts in the field. In addition, awareness of current trends and technological advances can assist with the development of research questions. 2 It is imperative to understand what has been studied about a topic to date in order to further the knowledge that has been previously gathered on a topic. Indeed, some granting institutions (e.g., Canadian Institute for Health Research) encourage applicants to conduct a systematic review of the available evidence if a recent review does not already exist and preferably a pilot or feasibility study before applying for a grant for a full trial.

In-depth knowledge about a subject may generate a number of questions. It then becomes necessary to ask whether these questions can be answered through one study or if more than one study needed. 1 Additional research questions can be developed, but several basic principles should be taken into consideration. 1 All questions, primary and secondary, should be developed at the beginning and planning stages of a study. Any additional questions should never compromise the primary question because it is the primary research question that forms the basis of the hypothesis and study objectives. It must be kept in mind that within the scope of one study, the presence of a number of research questions will affect and potentially increase the complexity of both the study design and subsequent statistical analyses, not to mention the actual feasibility of answering every question. 1 A sensible strategy is to establish a single primary research question around which to focus the study plan. 3 In a study, the primary research question should be clearly stated at the end of the introduction of the grant proposal, and it usually specifies the population to be studied, the intervention to be implemented and other circumstantial factors. 4

Hulley and colleagues 2 have suggested the use of the FINER criteria in the development of a good research question ( Box 1 ). The FINER criteria highlight useful points that may increase the chances of developing a successful research project. A good research question should specify the population of interest, be of interest to the scientific community and potentially to the public, have clinical relevance and further current knowledge in the field (and of course be compliant with the standards of ethical boards and national research standards).

FINER criteria for a good research question

Feasible
Interesting
Novel
Ethical
Relevant

Adapted with permission from Wolters Kluwer Health. 2

Whereas the FINER criteria outline the important aspects of the question in general, a useful format to use in the development of a specific research question is the PICO format — consider the population (P) of interest, the intervention (I) being studied, the comparison (C) group (or to what is the intervention being compared) and the outcome of interest (O). 3 , 5 , 6 Often timing (T) is added to PICO ( Box 2 ) — that is, “Over what time frame will the study take place?” 1 The PICOT approach helps generate a question that aids in constructing the framework of the study and subsequently in protocol development by alluding to the inclusion and exclusion criteria and identifying the groups of patients to be included. Knowing the specific population of interest, intervention (and comparator) and outcome of interest may also help the researcher identify an appropriate outcome measurement tool. 7 The more defined the population of interest, and thus the more stringent the inclusion and exclusion criteria, the greater the effect on the interpretation and subsequent applicability and generalizability of the research findings. 1 , 2 A restricted study population (and exclusion criteria) may limit bias and increase the internal validity of the study; however, this approach will limit external validity of the study and, thus, the generalizability of the findings to the practical clinical setting. Conversely, a broadly defined study population and inclusion criteria may be representative of practical clinical practice but may increase bias and reduce the internal validity of the study.

PICOT criteria 1

Population (patients)
Intervention (for intervention studies only)
Comparison group
Outcome of interest
Time

A poorly devised research question may affect the choice of study design, potentially lead to futile situations and, thus, hamper the chance of determining anything of clinical significance, which will then affect the potential for publication. Without devoting appropriate resources to developing the research question, the quality of the study and subsequent results may be compromised. During the initial stages of any research study, it is therefore imperative to formulate a research question that is both clinically relevant and answerable.

Research hypothesis

The primary research question should be driven by the hypothesis rather than the data. 1 , 2 That is, the research question and hypothesis should be developed before the start of the study. This sounds intuitive; however, if we take, for example, a database of information, it is potentially possible to perform multiple statistical comparisons of groups within the database to find a statistically significant association. This could then lead one to work backward from the data and develop the “question.” This is counterintuitive to the process because the question is asked specifically to then find the answer, thus collecting data along the way (i.e., in a prospective manner). Multiple statistical testing of associations from data previously collected could potentially lead to spuriously positive findings of association through chance alone. 2 Therefore, a good hypothesis must be based on a good research question at the start of a trial and, indeed, drive data collection for the study.

The research or clinical hypothesis is developed from the research question and then the main elements of the study — sampling strategy, intervention (if applicable), comparison and outcome variables — are summarized in a form that establishes the basis for testing, statistical and ultimately clinical significance. 3 For example, in a research study comparing computer-assisted acetabular component insertion versus freehand acetabular component placement in patients in need of total hip arthroplasty, the experimental group would be computer-assisted insertion and the control/conventional group would be free-hand placement. The investigative team would first state a research hypothesis. This could be expressed as a single outcome (e.g., computer-assisted acetabular component placement leads to improved functional outcome) or potentially as a complex/composite outcome; that is, more than one outcome (e.g., computer-assisted acetabular component placement leads to both improved radiographic cup placement and improved functional outcome).

However, when formally testing statistical significance, the hypothesis should be stated as a “null” hypothesis. 2 The purpose of hypothesis testing is to make an inference about the population of interest on the basis of a random sample taken from that population. The null hypothesis for the preceding research hypothesis then would be that there is no difference in mean functional outcome between the computer-assisted insertion and free-hand placement techniques. After forming the null hypothesis, the researchers would form an alternate hypothesis stating the nature of the difference, if it should appear. The alternate hypothesis would be that there is a difference in mean functional outcome between these techniques. At the end of the study, the null hypothesis is then tested statistically. If the findings of the study are not statistically significant (i.e., there is no difference in functional outcome between the groups in a statistical sense), we cannot reject the null hypothesis, whereas if the findings were significant, we can reject the null hypothesis and accept the alternate hypothesis (i.e., there is a difference in mean functional outcome between the study groups), errors in testing notwithstanding. In other words, hypothesis testing confirms or refutes the statement that the observed findings did not occur by chance alone but rather occurred because there was a true difference in outcomes between these surgical procedures. The concept of statistical hypothesis testing is complex, and the details are beyond the scope of this article.

Another important concept inherent in hypothesis testing is whether the hypotheses will be 1-sided or 2-sided. A 2-sided hypothesis states that there is a difference between the experimental group and the control group, but it does not specify in advance the expected direction of the difference. For example, we asked whether there is there an improvement in outcomes with computer-assisted surgery or whether the outcomes worse with computer-assisted surgery. We presented a 2-sided test in the above example because we did not specify the direction of the difference. A 1-sided hypothesis states a specific direction (e.g., there is an improvement in outcomes with computer-assisted surgery). A 2-sided hypothesis should be used unless there is a good justification for using a 1-sided hypothesis. As Bland and Atlman 8 stated, “One-sided hypothesis testing should never be used as a device to make a conventionally nonsignificant difference significant.”

The research hypothesis should be stated at the beginning of the study to guide the objectives for research. Whereas the investigators may state the hypothesis as being 1-sided (there is an improvement with treatment), the study and investigators must adhere to the concept of clinical equipoise. According to this principle, a clinical (or surgical) trial is ethical only if the expert community is uncertain about the relative therapeutic merits of the experimental and control groups being evaluated. 9 It means there must exist an honest and professional disagreement among expert clinicians about the preferred treatment. 9

Designing a research hypothesis is supported by a good research question and will influence the type of research design for the study. Acting on the principles of appropriate hypothesis development, the study can then confidently proceed to the development of the research objective.

Research objective

The primary objective should be coupled with the hypothesis of the study. Study objectives define the specific aims of the study and should be clearly stated in the introduction of the research protocol. 7 From our previous example and using the investigative hypothesis that there is a difference in functional outcomes between computer-assisted acetabular component placement and free-hand placement, the primary objective can be stated as follows: this study will compare the functional outcomes of computer-assisted acetabular component insertion versus free-hand placement in patients undergoing total hip arthroplasty. Note that the study objective is an active statement about how the study is going to answer the specific research question. Objectives can (and often do) state exactly which outcome measures are going to be used within their statements. They are important because they not only help guide the development of the protocol and design of study but also play a role in sample size calculations and determining the power of the study. 7 These concepts will be discussed in other articles in this series.

From the surgeon’s point of view, it is important for the study objectives to be focused on outcomes that are important to patients and clinically relevant. For example, the most methodologically sound randomized controlled trial comparing 2 techniques of distal radial fixation would have little or no clinical impact if the primary objective was to determine the effect of treatment A as compared to treatment B on intraoperative fluoroscopy time. However, if the objective was to determine the effect of treatment A as compared to treatment B on patient functional outcome at 1 year, this would have a much more significant impact on clinical decision-making. Second, more meaningful surgeon–patient discussions could ensue, incorporating patient values and preferences with the results from this study. 6 , 7 It is the precise objective and what the investigator is trying to measure that is of clinical relevance in the practical setting.

The following is an example from the literature about the relation between the research question, hypothesis and study objectives:

Study: Warden SJ, Metcalf BR, Kiss ZS, et al. Low-intensity pulsed ultrasound for chronic patellar tendinopathy: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Rheumatology 2008;47:467–71.

Research question: How does low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) compare with a placebo device in managing the symptoms of skeletally mature patients with patellar tendinopathy?

Research hypothesis: Pain levels are reduced in patients who receive daily active-LIPUS (treatment) for 12 weeks compared with individuals who receive inactive-LIPUS (placebo).

Objective: To investigate the clinical efficacy of LIPUS in the management of patellar tendinopathy symptoms.

The development of the research question is the most important aspect of a research project. A research project can fail if the objectives and hypothesis are poorly focused and underdeveloped. Useful tips for surgical researchers are provided in Box 3 . Designing and developing an appropriate and relevant research question, hypothesis and objectives can be a difficult task. The critical appraisal of the research question used in a study is vital to the application of the findings to clinical practice. Focusing resources, time and dedication to these 3 very important tasks will help to guide a successful research project, influence interpretation of the results and affect future publication efforts.

Tips for developing research questions, hypotheses and objectives for research studies

  • Perform a systematic literature review (if one has not been done) to increase knowledge and familiarity with the topic and to assist with research development.
  • Learn about current trends and technological advances on the topic.
  • Seek careful input from experts, mentors, colleagues and collaborators to refine your research question as this will aid in developing the research question and guide the research study.
  • Use the FINER criteria in the development of the research question.
  • Ensure that the research question follows PICOT format.
  • Develop a research hypothesis from the research question.
  • Develop clear and well-defined primary and secondary (if needed) objectives.
  • Ensure that the research question and objectives are answerable, feasible and clinically relevant.

FINER = feasible, interesting, novel, ethical, relevant; PICOT = population (patients), intervention (for intervention studies only), comparison group, outcome of interest, time.

Competing interests: No funding was received in preparation of this paper. Dr. Bhandari was funded, in part, by a Canada Research Chair, McMaster University.

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Research Questions & Hypotheses

Generally, in quantitative studies, reviewers expect hypotheses rather than research questions. However, both research questions and hypotheses serve different purposes and can be beneficial when used together.

Research Questions

Clarify the research’s aim (farrugia et al., 2010).

  • Research often begins with an interest in a topic, but a deep understanding of the subject is crucial to formulate an appropriate research question.
  • Descriptive: “What factors most influence the academic achievement of senior high school students?”
  • Comparative: “What is the performance difference between teaching methods A and B?”
  • Relationship-based: “What is the relationship between self-efficacy and academic achievement?”
  • Increasing knowledge about a subject can be achieved through systematic literature reviews, in-depth interviews with patients (and proxies), focus groups, and consultations with field experts.
  • Some funding bodies, like the Canadian Institute for Health Research, recommend conducting a systematic review or a pilot study before seeking grants for full trials.
  • The presence of multiple research questions in a study can complicate the design, statistical analysis, and feasibility.
  • It’s advisable to focus on a single primary research question for the study.
  • The primary question, clearly stated at the end of a grant proposal’s introduction, usually specifies the study population, intervention, and other relevant factors.
  • The FINER criteria underscore aspects that can enhance the chances of a successful research project, including specifying the population of interest, aligning with scientific and public interest, clinical relevance, and contribution to the field, while complying with ethical and national research standards.
Feasible
Interesting
Novel
Ethical
Relevant
  • The P ICOT approach is crucial in developing the study’s framework and protocol, influencing inclusion and exclusion criteria and identifying patient groups for inclusion.
Population (patients)
Intervention (for intervention studies only)
Comparison group
Outcome of interest
Time
  • Defining the specific population, intervention, comparator, and outcome helps in selecting the right outcome measurement tool.
  • The more precise the population definition and stricter the inclusion and exclusion criteria, the more significant the impact on the interpretation, applicability, and generalizability of the research findings.
  • A restricted study population enhances internal validity but may limit the study’s external validity and generalizability to clinical practice.
  • A broadly defined study population may better reflect clinical practice but could increase bias and reduce internal validity.
  • An inadequately formulated research question can negatively impact study design, potentially leading to ineffective outcomes and affecting publication prospects.

Checklist: Good research questions for social science projects (Panke, 2018)

hypothesis of research questions

Research Hypotheses

Present the researcher’s predictions based on specific statements.

  • These statements define the research problem or issue and indicate the direction of the researcher’s predictions.
  • Formulating the research question and hypothesis from existing data (e.g., a database) can lead to multiple statistical comparisons and potentially spurious findings due to chance.
  • The research or clinical hypothesis, derived from the research question, shapes the study’s key elements: sampling strategy, intervention, comparison, and outcome variables.
  • Hypotheses can express a single outcome or multiple outcomes.
  • After statistical testing, the null hypothesis is either rejected or not rejected based on whether the study’s findings are statistically significant.
  • Hypothesis testing helps determine if observed findings are due to true differences and not chance.
  • Hypotheses can be 1-sided (specific direction of difference) or 2-sided (presence of a difference without specifying direction).
  • 2-sided hypotheses are generally preferred unless there’s a strong justification for a 1-sided hypothesis.
  • A solid research hypothesis, informed by a good research question, influences the research design and paves the way for defining clear research objectives.

Types of Research Hypothesis

  • In a Y-centered research design, the focus is on the dependent variable (DV) which is specified in the research question. Theories are then used to identify independent variables (IV) and explain their causal relationship with the DV.
  • Example: “An increase in teacher-led instructional time (IV) is likely to improve student reading comprehension scores (DV), because extensive guided practice under expert supervision enhances learning retention and skill mastery.”
  • Hypothesis Explanation: The dependent variable (student reading comprehension scores) is the focus, and the hypothesis explores how changes in the independent variable (teacher-led instructional time) affect it.
  • In X-centered research designs, the independent variable is specified in the research question. Theories are used to determine potential dependent variables and the causal mechanisms at play.
  • Example: “Implementing technology-based learning tools (IV) is likely to enhance student engagement in the classroom (DV), because interactive and multimedia content increases student interest and participation.”
  • Hypothesis Explanation: The independent variable (technology-based learning tools) is the focus, with the hypothesis exploring its impact on a potential dependent variable (student engagement).
  • Probabilistic hypotheses suggest that changes in the independent variable are likely to lead to changes in the dependent variable in a predictable manner, but not with absolute certainty.
  • Example: “The more teachers engage in professional development programs (IV), the more their teaching effectiveness (DV) is likely to improve, because continuous training updates pedagogical skills and knowledge.”
  • Hypothesis Explanation: This hypothesis implies a probable relationship between the extent of professional development (IV) and teaching effectiveness (DV).
  • Deterministic hypotheses state that a specific change in the independent variable will lead to a specific change in the dependent variable, implying a more direct and certain relationship.
  • Example: “If the school curriculum changes from traditional lecture-based methods to project-based learning (IV), then student collaboration skills (DV) are expected to improve because project-based learning inherently requires teamwork and peer interaction.”
  • Hypothesis Explanation: This hypothesis presumes a direct and definite outcome (improvement in collaboration skills) resulting from a specific change in the teaching method.
  • Example : “Students who identify as visual learners will score higher on tests that are presented in a visually rich format compared to tests presented in a text-only format.”
  • Explanation : This hypothesis aims to describe the potential difference in test scores between visual learners taking visually rich tests and text-only tests, without implying a direct cause-and-effect relationship.
  • Example : “Teaching method A will improve student performance more than method B.”
  • Explanation : This hypothesis compares the effectiveness of two different teaching methods, suggesting that one will lead to better student performance than the other. It implies a direct comparison but does not necessarily establish a causal mechanism.
  • Example : “Students with higher self-efficacy will show higher levels of academic achievement.”
  • Explanation : This hypothesis predicts a relationship between the variable of self-efficacy and academic achievement. Unlike a causal hypothesis, it does not necessarily suggest that one variable causes changes in the other, but rather that they are related in some way.

Tips for developing research questions and hypotheses for research studies

  • Perform a systematic literature review (if one has not been done) to increase knowledge and familiarity with the topic and to assist with research development.
  • Learn about current trends and technological advances on the topic.
  • Seek careful input from experts, mentors, colleagues, and collaborators to refine your research question as this will aid in developing the research question and guide the research study.
  • Use the FINER criteria in the development of the research question.
  • Ensure that the research question follows PICOT format.
  • Develop a research hypothesis from the research question.
  • Ensure that the research question and objectives are answerable, feasible, and clinically relevant.

If your research hypotheses are derived from your research questions, particularly when multiple hypotheses address a single question, it’s recommended to use both research questions and hypotheses. However, if this isn’t the case, using hypotheses over research questions is advised. It’s important to note these are general guidelines, not strict rules. If you opt not to use hypotheses, consult with your supervisor for the best approach.

Farrugia, P., Petrisor, B. A., Farrokhyar, F., & Bhandari, M. (2010). Practical tips for surgical research: Research questions, hypotheses and objectives.  Canadian journal of surgery. Journal canadien de chirurgie ,  53 (4), 278–281.

Hulley, S. B., Cummings, S. R., Browner, W. S., Grady, D., & Newman, T. B. (2007). Designing clinical research. Philadelphia.

Panke, D. (2018). Research design & method selection: Making good choices in the social sciences.  Research Design & Method Selection , 1-368.

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How To Write a Research Question

Deeptanshu D

Academic writing and research require a distinct focus and direction. A well-designed research question gives purpose and clarity to your research. In addition, it helps your readers understand the issue you are trying to address and explore.

Every time you want to know more about a subject, you will pose a question. The same idea is used in research as well. You must pose a question in order to effectively address a research problem. That's why the research question is an integral part of the research process. Additionally, it offers the author writing and reading guidelines, be it qualitative research or quantitative research.

In your research paper , you must single out just one issue or problem. The specific issue or claim you wish to address should be included in your thesis statement in order to clarify your main argument.

A good research question must have the following characteristics.

hypothesis of research questions

  • Should include only one problem in the research question
  • Should be able to find the answer using primary data and secondary data sources
  • Should be possible to resolve within the given time and other constraints
  • Detailed and in-depth results should be achievable
  • Should be relevant and realistic.
  • It should relate to your chosen area of research

While a larger project, like a thesis, might have several research questions to address, each one should be directed at your main area of study. Of course, you can use different research designs and research methods (qualitative research or quantitative research) to address various research questions. However, they must all be pertinent to the study's objectives.

What is a Research Question?

what-is-a-research-question

A research question is an inquiry that the research attempts to answer. It is the heart of the systematic investigation. Research questions are the most important step in any research project. In essence, it initiates the research project and establishes the pace for the specific research A research question is:

  • Clear : It provides enough detail that the audience understands its purpose without any additional explanation.
  • Focused : It is so specific that it can be addressed within the time constraints of the writing task.
  • Succinct: It is written in the shortest possible words.
  • Complex : It is not possible to answer it with a "yes" or "no", but requires analysis and synthesis of ideas before somebody can create a solution.
  • Argumental : Its potential answers are open for debate rather than accepted facts.

A good research question usually focuses on the research and determines the research design, methodology, and hypothesis. It guides all phases of inquiry, data collection, analysis, and reporting. You should gather valuable information by asking the right questions.

Why are Research Questions so important?

Regardless of whether it is a qualitative research or quantitative research project, research questions provide writers and their audience with a way to navigate the writing and research process. Writers can avoid "all-about" papers by asking straightforward and specific research questions that help them focus on their research and support a specific thesis.

Types of Research Questions

types-of-research-question

There are two types of research: Qualitative research and Quantitative research . There must be research questions for every type of research. Your research question will be based on the type of research you want to conduct and the type of data collection.

The first step in designing research involves identifying a gap and creating a focused research question.

Below is a list of common research questions that can be used in a dissertation. Keep in mind that these are merely illustrations of typical research questions used in dissertation projects. The real research questions themselves might be more difficult.

Research Question Type

Question

Descriptive 

What are the properties of A?

Comparative 

What are the similarities and distinctions between A and B?

Correlational

What can you do to correlate variables A and B?

Exploratory

What factors affect the rate of C's growth? Are A and B also influencing C?

Explanatory

What are the causes for C? What does A do to B? What's causing D?

Evaluation

What is the impact of C? What role does B have? What are the benefits and drawbacks of A?

Action-Based

What can you do to improve X?

Example Research Questions

examples-of-research-question

The following are a few examples of research questions and research problems to help you understand how research questions can be created for a particular research problem.

Problem

Question

Due to poor revenue collection, a small-sized company ('A') in the UK cannot allocate a marketing budget next year.

What practical steps can the company take to increase its revenue?

Many graduates are now working as freelancers even though they have degrees from well-respected academic institutions. But what's the reason these young people choose to work in this field?

Why do fresh graduates choose to work for themselves rather than full-time? What are the benefits and drawbacks of the gig economy? What do age, gender, and academic qualifications do with people's perceptions of freelancing?

Steps to Write Research Questions

steps-to-write-a-research-question

You can focus on the issue or research gaps you're attempting to solve by using the research questions as a direction.

If you're unsure how to go about writing a good research question, these are the steps to follow in the process:

  • Select an interesting topic Always choose a topic that interests you. Because if your curiosity isn’t aroused by a subject, you’ll have a hard time conducting research around it. Alos, it’s better that you pick something that’s neither too narrow or too broad.
  • Do preliminary research on the topic Search for relevant literature to gauge what problems have already been tackled by scholars. You can do that conveniently through repositories like Scispace , where you’ll find millions of papers in one place. Once you do find the papers you’re looking for, try our reading assistant, SciSpace Copilot to get simple explanations for the paper . You’ll be able to quickly understand the abstract, find the key takeaways, and the main arguments presented in the paper. This will give you a more contextual understanding of your subject and you’ll have an easier time identifying knowledge gaps in your discipline.

     Also: ChatPDF vs. SciSpace Copilot: Unveiling the best tool for your research

  • Consider your audience It is essential to understand your audience to develop focused research questions for essays or dissertations. When narrowing down your topic, you can identify aspects that might interest your audience.
  • Ask questions Asking questions will give you a deeper understanding of the topic. Evaluate your question through the What, Why, When, How, and other open-ended questions assessment.
  • Assess your question Once you have created a research question, assess its effectiveness to determine if it is useful for the purpose. Refine and revise the dissertation research question multiple times.

Additionally, use this list of questions as a guide when formulating your research question.

Are you able to answer a specific research question? After identifying a gap in research, it would be helpful to formulate the research question. And this will allow the research to solve a part of the problem. Is your research question clear and centered on the main topic? It is important that your research question should be specific and related to your central goal. Are you tackling a difficult research question? It is not possible to answer the research question with a simple yes or no. The problem requires in-depth analysis. It is often started with "How" and "Why."

Start your research Once you have completed your dissertation research questions, it is time to review the literature on similar topics to discover different perspectives.

Strong  Research Question Samples

Uncertain: How should social networking sites work on the hatred that flows through their platform?

Certain: What should social media sites like Twitter or Facebook do to address the harm they are causing?

This unclear question does not specify the social networking sites that are being used or what harm they might be causing. In addition, this question assumes that the "harm" has been proven and/or accepted. This version is more specific and identifies the sites (Twitter, Facebook), the type and extent of harm (privacy concerns), and who might be suffering from that harm (users). Effective research questions should not be ambiguous or interpreted.

Unfocused: What are the effects of global warming on the environment?

Focused: What are the most important effects of glacial melting in Antarctica on penguins' lives?

This broad research question cannot be addressed in a book, let alone a college-level paper. Focused research targets a specific effect of global heating (glacial  melting), an area (Antarctica), or a specific animal (penguins). The writer must also decide which effect will have the greatest impact on the animals affected. If in doubt, narrow down your research question to the most specific possible.

Too Simple: What are the U.S. doctors doing to treat diabetes?

Appropriately complex: Which factors, if any, are most likely to predict a person's risk of developing diabetes?

This simple version can be found online. It is easy to answer with a few facts. The second, more complicated version of this question is divided into two parts. It is thought-provoking and requires extensive investigation as well as evaluation by the author. So, ensure that a quick Google search should not answer your research question.

How to write a strong Research Question?

how-to-write-a-strong-research-question

The foundation of all research is the research question. You should therefore spend as much time as necessary to refine your research question based on various data.

You can conduct your research more efficiently and analyze your results better if you have great research questions for your dissertation, research paper , or essay .

The following criteria can help you evaluate the strength and importance of your research question and can be used to determine the strength of your research question:

  • Researchable
  • It should only cover one issue.
  • A subjective judgment should not be included in the question.
  • It can be answered with data analysis and research.
  • Specific and Practical
  • It should not contain a plan of action, policy, or solution.
  • It should be clearly defined
  • Within research limits
  • Complex and Arguable
  • It shouldn't be difficult to answer.
  • To find the truth, you need in-depth knowledge
  • Allows for discussion and deliberation
  • Original and Relevant
  • It should be in your area of study
  • Its results should be measurable
  • It should be original

Conclusion - How to write Research Questions?

Research questions provide a clear guideline for research. One research question may be part of a larger project, such as a dissertation. However, each question should only focus on one topic.

Research questions must be answerable, practical, specific, and applicable to your field. The research type that you use to base your research questions on will determine the research topic. You can start by selecting an interesting topic and doing preliminary research. Then, you can begin asking questions, evaluating your questions, and start your research.

Now it's easier than ever to streamline your research workflow with SciSpace ResearchGPT . Its integrated, comprehensive end-to-end platform for research allows scholars to easily discover, read, write and publish their research and fosters collaboration.

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  • 10 Research Question Examples to Guide Your Research Project

10 Research Question Examples to Guide your Research Project

Published on October 30, 2022 by Shona McCombes . Revised on October 19, 2023.

The research question is one of the most important parts of your research paper , thesis or dissertation . It’s important to spend some time assessing and refining your question before you get started.

The exact form of your question will depend on a few things, such as the length of your project, the type of research you’re conducting, the topic , and the research problem . However, all research questions should be focused, specific, and relevant to a timely social or scholarly issue.

Once you’ve read our guide on how to write a research question , you can use these examples to craft your own.

Research question Explanation
The first question is not enough. The second question is more , using .
Starting with “why” often means that your question is not enough: there are too many possible answers. By targeting just one aspect of the problem, the second question offers a clear path for research.
The first question is too broad and subjective: there’s no clear criteria for what counts as “better.” The second question is much more . It uses clearly defined terms and narrows its focus to a specific population.
It is generally not for academic research to answer broad normative questions. The second question is more specific, aiming to gain an understanding of possible solutions in order to make informed recommendations.
The first question is too simple: it can be answered with a simple yes or no. The second question is , requiring in-depth investigation and the development of an original argument.
The first question is too broad and not very . The second question identifies an underexplored aspect of the topic that requires investigation of various  to answer.
The first question is not enough: it tries to address two different (the quality of sexual health services and LGBT support services). Even though the two issues are related, it’s not clear how the research will bring them together. The second integrates the two problems into one focused, specific question.
The first question is too simple, asking for a straightforward fact that can be easily found online. The second is a more question that requires and detailed discussion to answer.
? dealt with the theme of racism through casting, staging, and allusion to contemporary events? The first question is not  — it would be very difficult to contribute anything new. The second question takes a specific angle to make an original argument, and has more relevance to current social concerns and debates.
The first question asks for a ready-made solution, and is not . The second question is a clearer comparative question, but note that it may not be practically . For a smaller research project or thesis, it could be narrowed down further to focus on the effectiveness of drunk driving laws in just one or two countries.

Note that the design of your research question can depend on what method you are pursuing. Here are a few options for qualitative, quantitative, and statistical research questions.

Type of research Example question
Qualitative research question
Quantitative research question
Statistical research question

Other interesting articles

If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

Methodology

  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility

 Statistics

  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

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McCombes, S. (2023, October 19). 10 Research Question Examples to Guide your Research Project. Scribbr. Retrieved June 24, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/research-process/research-question-examples/

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What is and How to Write a Good Hypothesis in Research?

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One of the most important aspects of conducting research is constructing a strong hypothesis. But what makes a hypothesis in research effective? In this article, we’ll look at the difference between a hypothesis and a research question, as well as the elements of a good hypothesis in research. We’ll also include some examples of effective hypotheses, and what pitfalls to avoid.

What is a Hypothesis in Research?

Simply put, a hypothesis is a research question that also includes the predicted or expected result of the research. Without a hypothesis, there can be no basis for a scientific or research experiment. As such, it is critical that you carefully construct your hypothesis by being deliberate and thorough, even before you set pen to paper. Unless your hypothesis is clearly and carefully constructed, any flaw can have an adverse, and even grave, effect on the quality of your experiment and its subsequent results.

Research Question vs Hypothesis

It’s easy to confuse research questions with hypotheses, and vice versa. While they’re both critical to the Scientific Method, they have very specific differences. Primarily, a research question, just like a hypothesis, is focused and concise. But a hypothesis includes a prediction based on the proposed research, and is designed to forecast the relationship of and between two (or more) variables. Research questions are open-ended, and invite debate and discussion, while hypotheses are closed, e.g. “The relationship between A and B will be C.”

A hypothesis is generally used if your research topic is fairly well established, and you are relatively certain about the relationship between the variables that will be presented in your research. Since a hypothesis is ideally suited for experimental studies, it will, by its very existence, affect the design of your experiment. The research question is typically used for new topics that have not yet been researched extensively. Here, the relationship between different variables is less known. There is no prediction made, but there may be variables explored. The research question can be casual in nature, simply trying to understand if a relationship even exists, descriptive or comparative.

How to Write Hypothesis in Research

Writing an effective hypothesis starts before you even begin to type. Like any task, preparation is key, so you start first by conducting research yourself, and reading all you can about the topic that you plan to research. From there, you’ll gain the knowledge you need to understand where your focus within the topic will lie.

Remember that a hypothesis is a prediction of the relationship that exists between two or more variables. Your job is to write a hypothesis, and design the research, to “prove” whether or not your prediction is correct. A common pitfall is to use judgments that are subjective and inappropriate for the construction of a hypothesis. It’s important to keep the focus and language of your hypothesis objective.

An effective hypothesis in research is clearly and concisely written, and any terms or definitions clarified and defined. Specific language must also be used to avoid any generalities or assumptions.

Use the following points as a checklist to evaluate the effectiveness of your research hypothesis:

  • Predicts the relationship and outcome
  • Simple and concise – avoid wordiness
  • Clear with no ambiguity or assumptions about the readers’ knowledge
  • Observable and testable results
  • Relevant and specific to the research question or problem

Research Hypothesis Example

Perhaps the best way to evaluate whether or not your hypothesis is effective is to compare it to those of your colleagues in the field. There is no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to writing a powerful research hypothesis. As you’re reading and preparing your hypothesis, you’ll also read other hypotheses. These can help guide you on what works, and what doesn’t, when it comes to writing a strong research hypothesis.

Here are a few generic examples to get you started.

Eating an apple each day, after the age of 60, will result in a reduction of frequency of physician visits.

Budget airlines are more likely to receive more customer complaints. A budget airline is defined as an airline that offers lower fares and fewer amenities than a traditional full-service airline. (Note that the term “budget airline” is included in the hypothesis.

Workplaces that offer flexible working hours report higher levels of employee job satisfaction than workplaces with fixed hours.

Each of the above examples are specific, observable and measurable, and the statement of prediction can be verified or shown to be false by utilizing standard experimental practices. It should be noted, however, that often your hypothesis will change as your research progresses.

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Research Questions vs Hypothesis: Understanding the Difference Between Them

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by  Antony W

August 20, 2021

research questions vs hypothesis

You’ll need to come up with a research question or a hypothesis to guide your next research project. But what is a hypothesis in the first place? What is the perfect definition for a research question? And, what’s the difference between the two?

In this guide to research questions vs hypothesis, we’ll look at the definition of each component and the difference between the two.

We’ll also look at when a research question and a hypothesis may be useful and provide you with some tips that you can use to come up with hypothesis and research questions that will suit your research topic . 

Let’s get to it.

What’s a Research Question?

We define a research question as the exact question you want to answer on a given topic or research project. Good research questions should be clear and easy to understand, allow for the collection of necessary data, and be specific and relevant to your field of study.

Research questions are part of heuristic research methods, where researchers use personal experiences and observations to understand a research subject. By using such approaches to explore the question, you should be able to provide an analytical justification of why and how you should respond to the question. 

While it’s common for researchers to focus on one question at a time, more complex topics may require two or more questions to cover in-depth.

When is a Research Question Useful? 

A research question may be useful when and if: 

  • There isn’t enough previous research on the topic
  • You want to report a wider range out of outcome when doing your research project
  • You want to conduct a more open ended inquiries 

Perhaps the biggest drawback with research questions is that they tend to researchers in a position to “fish expectations” or excessively manipulate their findings.

Again, research questions sometimes tend to be less specific, and the reason is that there often no sufficient previous research on the questions.

What’s a Hypothesis? 

A hypothesis is a statement you can approve or disapprove. You develop a hypothesis from a research question by changing the question into a statement.

Primarily applied in deductive research, it involves the use of scientific, mathematical, and sociological findings to agree to or write off an assumption.

Researchers use the null approach for statements they can disapprove. They take a hypothesis and add a “not” to it to make it a working null hypothesis.

A null hypothesis is quite common in scientific methods. In this case, you have to formulate a hypothesis, and then conduct an investigation to disapprove the statement.

If you can disapprove the statement, you develop another hypothesis and then repeat the process until you can’t disapprove the statement.

In other words, if a hypothesis is true, then it must have been repeatedly tested and verified.

The consensus among researchers is that, like research questions, a hypothesis should not only be clear and easy to understand but also have a definite focus, answerable, and relevant to your field of study. 

When is a Hypothesis Useful?

A hypothesis may be useful when or if:

  • There’s enough previous research on the topic
  • You want to test a specific model or a particular theory
  • You anticipate a likely outcome in advance 

The drawback to hypothesis as a scientific method is that it can hinder flexibility, or possibly blind a researcher not to see unanticipated results.

Research Question vs Hypothesis: Which One Should Come First 

Researchers use scientific methods to hone on different theories. So if the purpose of the research project were to analyze a concept, a scientific method would be necessary.

Such a case requires coming up with a research question first, followed by a scientific method.

Since a hypothesis is part of a research method, it will come after the research question.

Research Question vs Hypothesis: What’s the Difference? 

The following are the differences between a research question and a hypothesis.

We look at the differences in purpose and structure, writing, as well as conclusion. 

Research Questions vs Hypothesis: Some Useful Advice 

As much as there are differences between hypothesis and research questions, you have to state either one in the introduction and then repeat the same in the conclusion of your research paper.

Whichever element you opt to use, you should clearly demonstrate that you understand your topic, have achieved the goal of your research project, and not swayed a bit in your research process.

If it helps, start and conclude every chapter of your research project by providing additional information on how you’ve or will address the hypothesis or research question.

You should also include the aims and objectives of coming up with the research question or formulating the hypothesis. Doing so will go a long way to demonstrate that you have a strong focus on the research issue at hand. 

Research Questions vs Hypothesis: Conclusion 

If you need help with coming up with research questions, formulating a hypothesis, and completing your research paper writing , feel free to talk to us. 

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

Literature Searching

Phillips-Wangensteen Building.

Types of Research Questions

Research questions can be categorized into different types, depending on the type of research to be undertaken.

Qualitative questions concern broad areas or more specific areas of research and focus on discovering, explaining and exploring.  Types of qualitative questions include:

  • Exploratory Questions, which seeks to understand without influencing the results.  The objective is to learn more about a topic without bias or preconceived notions.
  • Predictive Questions, which seek to understand the intent or future outcome around a topic.
  • Interpretive Questions, which tries to understand people’s behavior in a natural setting.  The objective is to understand how a group makes sense of shared experiences with regards to various phenomena.

Quantitative questions prove or disprove a  researcher’s hypothesis and are constructed to express the relationship between variables  and whether this relationship is significant.  Types of quantitative questions include:

  • Descriptive questions , which are the most basic type of quantitative research question and seeks to explain the when, where, why or how something occurred. 
  • Comparative questions are helpful when studying groups with dependent variables where one variable is compared with another.
  • Relationship-based questions try to answer whether or not one variable has an influence on another.  These types of question are generally used in experimental research questions.

References/Additional Resources

Lipowski, E. E. (2008). Developing great research questions . American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, 65(17), 1667–1670.

Ratan, S. K., Anand, T., & Ratan, J. (2019). Formulation of Research Question - Stepwise Approach .  Journal of Indian Association of Pediatric Surgeons ,  24 (1), 15–20.

Fandino W.(2019). Formulating a good research question: Pearls and pitfalls . I ndian J Anaesth. 63(8) :611-616. 

Beck, L. L. (2023). The question: types of research questions and how to develop them . In Translational Surgery: Handbook for Designing and Conducting Clinical and Translational Research (pp. 111-120). Academic Press. 

Doody, O., & Bailey, M. E. (2016). Setting a research question, aim and objective. Nurse Researcher, 23(4), 19–23.

Plano Clark, V., & Badiee, M. (2010). Research questions in mixed methods research . In: SAGE Handbook of Mixed Methods in Social & Behavioral Research .  SAGE Publications, Inc.,

Agee, J. (2009). Developing qualitative research questions: A reflective process .  International journal of qualitative studies in education ,  22 (4), 431-447. 

Flemming, K., & Noyes, J. (2021). Qualitative Evidence Synthesis: Where Are We at? I nternational Journal of Qualitative Methods, 20.  

Research Question Frameworks

Research question frameworks have been designed to help structure research questions and clarify the main concepts. Not every question can fit perfectly into a framework, but using even just parts of a framework can help develop a well-defined research question. The framework to use depends on the type of question to be researched.   There are over 25 research question frameworks available.  The University of Maryland has a nice table listing out several of these research question frameworks, along with what the acronyms mean and what types of questions/disciplines that may be used for.

The process of developing a good research question involves taking your topic and breaking each aspect of it down into its component parts.

Booth, A., Noyes, J., Flemming, K., Moore, G., Tunçalp, Ö., & Shakibazadeh, E. (2019). Formulating questions to explore complex interventions within qualitative evidence synthesis.   BMJ global health ,  4 (Suppl 1), e001107. (See supplementary data#1)

The "Well-Built Clinical Question“: PICO(T)

One well-established framework that can be used both for refining questions and developing strategies is known as PICO(T). The PICO framework was designed primarily for questions that include interventions and comparisons, however other types of questions may also be able to follow its principles.  If the PICO(T) framework does not precisely fit your question, using its principles (see alternative component suggestions) can help you to think about what you want to explore even if you do not end up with a true PICO question.

A PICO(T) question has the following components:

  • P : The patient’s disorder or disease or problem of interest / research object
  • I: The intervention, exposure or finding under review / Application of a theory or method
  • C: A comparison intervention or control (if applicable- not always present)/ Alternative theories or methods (or, in their absence, the null hypothesis)
  • O : The outcome(s) (desired or of interest) / Knowledge generation
  • T : (The time factor or period)

Keep in mind that solely using a tool will not enable you to design a good question. What is required is for you to think, carefully, about exactly what you want to study and precisely what you mean by each of the things that you think you want to study.

Rzany, & Bigby, M. (n.d.). Formulating Well-Built Clinical Questions. In Evidence-based dermatology / (pp. 27–30). Blackwell Pub/BMJ Books.  

Nishikawa-Pacher, A. (2022). Research questions with PICO: a universal mnemonic.   Publications ,  10 (3), 21.

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Unit 7: Should you believe those…Methods?

26 research questions and hypotheses [you choose to ask].

Or possibly… the question that researcher chose to ask. After processing everything through their ologies, and through their paradigm – both through nature (research is a personal thing – for all of us!) and nurture (ways of doing things handed down through education – remember the p roblems with science discussion?). As you know (if you’ve been reading this text at all, and you’re here now reading, obviously, so I’m guessing that you know) the concepts and terms we’re discussing in the remaining units of this course are multi-pronged and interdependent. We’re going to start light – first, where do we even find the RQs and HYs? Step 1: Locate the central question. Turning it over to your student textbook authors:

Learning Objectives

Why are research questions and hypotheses important? Where are they located?

  • Research Questions and Hypotheses [you choose to ask]

Research questions and hypotheses (also known as RQs and HYs) are super important because they tell you what the researcher wants to answer! It could be “Why are the Cambus’s never on time?” or “Why is Catlett’s dining hall the most popular?” or “The presence of Spring Break improves student mood.”

To properly identify a research question and or hypothesis, you first need to know where you can find them.

There are three places:

  • The literature review (embedded or end)- Which is where the question is first stated.
  • The Results- Sometimes authors will re-state the research question in the results section in order to direct the reader to the answer to their original question.
  • Discussion- Where the study is discussed with other primary research. Sometimes authors will re-state or paraphrase their research question(s) and/or hypotheses when they compare what they found to previous research.

Links to articles reference in the video lecture:

Article 1: Kate Magsamen-Conrad, Jeanette Muhleman Dillon, China Billotte Verhoff & Claire Youngnyo Joa (2020) Toward a Theory of HealthIT Adoption Across the Lifespan: Findings from Five Years in the Community, Health Communication, 35:3, 308-321, DOI: 10.1080/10410236.2018.1563027

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10410236.2018.1563027

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330460464_Toward_a_Theory_of_HealthIT_Adoption_Across_the_Lifespan_Findings_from_Five_Years_in_the_Community

Article 2: Kate Magsamen-Conrad, Maria K. Venetis, Maria G. Checton & Kathryn Greene (2019) The Role of Response Perceptions in Couples’ Ongoing Cancer-Related Disclosure, Health Communication, 34:9, 999-1009, DOI: 10.1080/10410236.2018.1452091

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323953823_The_Role_of_Response_Perceptions_in_Couples’_Ongoing_Cancer-Related_Disclosure

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10410236.2018.1452091?journalCode=hhth20

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29565693/

Why so many links, Doc? Click here to find out.

The literature review (embedded or end)

It is important to know that research questions and hypotheses, or RQs & HYs, can be embedded within the literature review or directly stated at the end.

DocMC again!: Ok, now. Once upon a time, one of your textbook authors told me that I didn’t need to hammer on some of these concepts (particularly in the experiments unit) because ya’ll learned about independent and dependent variables “in like the 5th grade.” Well, low and behold, 2020 hits and my child was in 100% online school and I have a new, deep, somewhat reluctant understanding of what ya’ll may have learned in 7th grade. And d@mned if she wasn’t right. So, for fun, I’ll sprinkle in questions periodically from one of my son Gabe’s 7th grade science class quizzes. They might look a little something like this:

hypothesis of research questions

Got ideas for questions to include on the exam?

Click this link to add them!

… Unit 1 … Unit 2 …. Unit 3 … Unit 4 … Unit 5 … Unit 6 … Unit 7 … Unit 8 … Unit 9 … Unit 10 … Unit 11 … Unit 12 … Unit 13 … Unit 14 … Unit 15 … Unit 16 …

  • Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research [brief overview]
  • You said it was called the What’s That Now? Article Navigation
  • Research Questions and Hypotheses [you choose to ask] – Breakout Section!

What a researcher aims to answer

Predicted outcome; not necessarily true

Introduction to Social Scientific Research Methods in Communication (3rd Edition) Copyright © 2023 by Kate Magsamen-Conrad. All Rights Reserved.

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hypothesis of research questions

When doing a research action plan students in school would know that the first thing to do is to know your topic well enough. From expecting science projects to work based on your predictions and the results that may have been quite the opposite from how you depicted them. This also rings true in businesses. There is a term for that and it is often associated with the subject Science, but can also be associated with business . Scientific method  or a hypothesis.

What Is a Hypothesis?

A hypothesis is a scientific wild guess, a prediction in research . A wild guess, a say from someone without any known proof.  A hypothesis can also mean a scientific, educated guess that most scientists and researchers do before planning out or doing experiments to check if their guesses or their scientific ideas based on their topics are exact or correct.

Hypothesis Format

A well-structured hypothesis is crucial for guiding scientific research. Here’s a detailed format for writing a hypothesis, along with examples for each step:

1. Start with a Research Question

Before writing a hypothesis, begin with a clear and concise research question . This question identifies the focus of your study.

Example Research Question: Does the amount of daily exercise affect weight loss?

2. Identify the Variables

Identify the independent and dependent variables in your research question.

  • Independent Variable: The variable you manipulate (e.g., amount of daily exercise).
  • Dependent Variable: The variable you measure (e.g., weight loss).

3. Formulate the Hypothesis

Use the identified variables to create a testable statement . This statement should clearly express the expected relationship between the variables.

  • If [independent variable], then [dependent variable].
  • [Independent variable] will [effect] [dependent variable].

Directional vs. Non-Directional Hypothesis:

  • Specifies the direction of the expected relationship.
  • Does not specify the direction of the expected relationship, only that a relationship exists.

4. Example Hypotheses Using the Format

Research question: does caffeine affect cognitive performance, if-then statement:.

  • Example: If individuals consume caffeine, then their cognitive performance will improve.

Direct Statement:

  • Example: Caffeine consumption will improve cognitive performance.

Null Hypothesis (H0):

  • Example: There is no significant effect of caffeine consumption on cognitive performance.

Alternative Hypothesis (H1):

  • Example: There is a significant effect of caffeine consumption on cognitive performance.

Directional Hypothesis:

Non-directional hypothesis:.

  • Example: There is a relationship between caffeine consumption and cognitive performance.

5. Refining the Hypothesis

Ensure that your hypothesis is specific, measurable, and testable. Avoid vague terms and focus on a single independent and dependent variable.

Hypothesis Examples in Research

A hypothesis is a statement that predicts the relationship between variables. It serves as a foundation for research by providing a clear focus and direction for experiments and data analysis . Here are examples of hypotheses from various fields of research:

Research Question:

Does sunlight exposure affect plant growth?

Hypotheses:

  • Null Hypothesis (H0): There is no significant difference in plant growth between plants exposed to sunlight and those kept in the shade.
  • Alternative Hypothesis (H1): Plants exposed to sunlight grow taller than those kept in the shade.
  • Directional Hypothesis: Increased sunlight exposure will lead to increased plant growth.
  • If-Then Statement: If plants are exposed to more sunlight, then they will grow taller.

2. Psychology

Does sleep duration affect memory retention?

  • Null Hypothesis (H0): There is no significant difference in memory retention between individuals who sleep for 8 hours and those who sleep for 4 hours.
  • Alternative Hypothesis (H1): Individuals who sleep for 8 hours will have better memory retention than those who sleep for 4 hours.
  • Directional Hypothesis: Longer sleep duration will improve memory retention.
  • If-Then Statement: If individuals sleep for 8 hours, then their memory retention will improve compared to those who sleep for 4 hours.

3. Education

Do interactive teaching methods improve student engagement?

  • Null Hypothesis (H0): There is no significant difference in student engagement between interactive teaching methods and traditional lecture-based methods.
  • Alternative Hypothesis (H1): Interactive teaching methods result in higher student engagement compared to traditional lecture-based methods.
  • Directional Hypothesis: Interactive teaching methods will increase student engagement.
  • If-Then Statement: If teachers use interactive teaching methods, then student engagement will increase.

4. Medicine

Does a new drug reduce blood pressure more effectively than the standard medication?

  • Null Hypothesis (H0): There is no significant difference in blood pressure reduction between the new drug and the standard medication.
  • Alternative Hypothesis (H1): The new drug reduces blood pressure more effectively than the standard medication.
  • Directional Hypothesis: The new drug will reduce blood pressure more than the standard medication.
  • If-Then Statement: If patients take the new drug, then their blood pressure will decrease more than if they take the standard medication.

5. Sociology

Does socioeconomic status affect access to higher education?

  • Null Hypothesis (H0): There is no significant relationship between socioeconomic status and access to higher education.
  • Alternative Hypothesis (H1): Higher socioeconomic status is associated with greater access to higher education.
  • Directional Hypothesis: Individuals with higher socioeconomic status will have greater access to higher education.
  • If-Then Statement: If individuals have a higher socioeconomic status, then they will have greater access to higher education.

Hypothesis Examples in Psychology

Psychology research often explores the relationships between various cognitive, behavioral, and emotional variables. Here are some well-structured hypothesis examples in psychology:

1. Sleep Duration and Memory Retention

  • Non-Directional Hypothesis: There is a relationship between sleep duration and memory retention.

2. Exercise and Anxiety Levels

Does regular exercise reduce anxiety levels?

  • Null Hypothesis (H0): There is no significant difference in anxiety levels between individuals who exercise regularly and those who do not.
  • Alternative Hypothesis (H1): Individuals who exercise regularly will have lower anxiety levels than those who do not.
  • Directional Hypothesis: Regular exercise will decrease anxiety levels.
  • Non-Directional Hypothesis: There is a relationship between regular exercise and anxiety levels.
  • If-Then Statement: If individuals exercise regularly, then their anxiety levels will decrease.

3. Social Media Usage and Self-Esteem

Does social media usage affect self-esteem in teenagers?

  • Null Hypothesis (H0): There is no significant relationship between social media usage and self-esteem in teenagers.
  • Alternative Hypothesis (H1): High social media usage is associated with lower self-esteem in teenagers.
  • Directional Hypothesis: Increased social media usage will decrease self-esteem in teenagers.
  • Non-Directional Hypothesis: There is a relationship between social media usage and self-esteem in teenagers.
  • If-Then Statement: If teenagers spend more time on social media, then their self-esteem will decrease.

4. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Depression

Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) effective in reducing symptoms of depression?

  • Null Hypothesis (H0): There is no significant difference in depression symptoms between individuals who undergo CBT and those who do not.
  • Alternative Hypothesis (H1): Individuals who undergo CBT will experience a greater reduction in depression symptoms than those who do not.
  • Directional Hypothesis: CBT will reduce symptoms of depression.
  • Non-Directional Hypothesis: There is a relationship between undergoing CBT and reduction in depression symptoms.
  • If-Then Statement: If individuals undergo CBT, then their symptoms of depression will decrease.

5. Parental Involvement and Academic Achievement

Does parental involvement influence academic achievement in children?

  • Null Hypothesis (H0): There is no significant relationship between parental involvement and academic achievement in children.
  • Alternative Hypothesis (H1): Higher levels of parental involvement are associated with higher academic achievement in children.
  • Directional Hypothesis: Increased parental involvement will improve academic achievement in children.
  • Non-Directional Hypothesis: There is a relationship between parental involvement and academic achievement in children.
  • If-Then Statement: If parents are more involved in their children’s education, then their children will achieve higher academic success.

Hypothesis Examples in Science

Scientific research often involves creating hypotheses to test the relationships between variables. Here are some well-structured hypothesis examples from various fields of science:

1. Biology: Sunlight and Plant Growth

  • Non-Directional Hypothesis: There is a relationship between sunlight exposure and plant growth.

2. Chemistry: Temperature and Reaction Rate

Does temperature affect the rate of a chemical reaction?

  • Null Hypothesis (H0): There is no significant difference in the reaction rate of a chemical reaction at different temperatures.
  • Alternative Hypothesis (H1): Increasing the temperature will increase the reaction rate.
  • Directional Hypothesis: Higher temperatures will increase the reaction rate.
  • Non-Directional Hypothesis: There is a relationship between temperature and the reaction rate.
  • If-Then Statement: If the temperature of a reaction increases, then the reaction rate will increase.

3. Physics: Mass and Free Fall Speed

Does the mass of an object affect its speed when falling?

  • Null Hypothesis (H0): There is no significant difference in the falling speed of objects with different masses.
  • Alternative Hypothesis (H1): Objects with greater mass fall faster than those with lesser mass.
  • Directional Hypothesis: Heavier objects will fall faster than lighter objects.
  • Non-Directional Hypothesis: There is a relationship between the mass of an object and its falling speed.
  • If-Then Statement: If an object’s mass increases, then its falling speed will increase.

4. Environmental Science: Fertilizers and Water Quality

Do chemical fertilizers affect water quality in nearby lakes?

  • Null Hypothesis (H0): There is no significant effect of chemical fertilizers on the water quality of nearby lakes.
  • Alternative Hypothesis (H1): Chemical fertilizers negatively affect the water quality of nearby lakes.
  • Directional Hypothesis: The use of chemical fertilizers will decrease the water quality of nearby lakes.
  • Non-Directional Hypothesis: There is a relationship between the use of chemical fertilizers and the water quality of nearby lakes.
  • If-Then Statement: If chemical fertilizers are used, then the water quality in nearby lakes will decrease.

5. Earth Science: Soil Composition and Erosion Rate

Does soil composition affect the rate of erosion?

  • Null Hypothesis (H0): There is no significant difference in the erosion rate of soils with different compositions.
  • Alternative Hypothesis (H1): Soil composition affects the rate of erosion.
  • Directional Hypothesis: Soils with higher clay content will erode more slowly than sandy soils.
  • Non-Directional Hypothesis: There is a relationship between soil composition and the rate of erosion.
  • If-Then Statement: If soil has a higher clay content, then its erosion rate will be lower compared to sandy soil.

Hypothesis Examples in Biology

In biology, hypotheses are used to explore relationships and effects within biological systems. Here are some well-structured hypothesis examples in various areas of biology:

1. Photosynthesis and Light Intensity

How does light intensity affect the rate of photosynthesis in plants?

  • Null Hypothesis (H0): Light intensity has no significant effect on the rate of photosynthesis in plants.
  • Alternative Hypothesis (H1): Light intensity significantly affects the rate of photosynthesis in plants.
  • Directional Hypothesis: Increased light intensity will increase the rate of photosynthesis in plants.
  • Non-Directional Hypothesis: There is a relationship between light intensity and the rate of photosynthesis in plants.
  • If-Then Statement: If light intensity increases, then the rate of photosynthesis in plants will increase.

2. Temperature and Enzyme Activity

How does temperature affect the activity of the enzyme amylase?

  • Null Hypothesis (H0): Temperature has no significant effect on the activity of the enzyme amylase.
  • Alternative Hypothesis (H1): Temperature significantly affects the activity of the enzyme amylase.
  • Directional Hypothesis: Increasing the temperature will increase the activity of the enzyme amylase up to an optimal point, after which activity will decrease.
  • Non-Directional Hypothesis: There is a relationship between temperature and the activity of the enzyme amylase.
  • If-Then Statement: If the temperature increases, then the activity of the enzyme amylase will increase up to an optimal temperature, after which it will decrease.

3. Nutrient Availability and Plant Growth

Does the availability of nutrients in soil affect the growth of plants?

  • Null Hypothesis (H0): Nutrient availability has no significant effect on the growth of plants.
  • Alternative Hypothesis (H1): Nutrient availability significantly affects the growth of plants.
  • Directional Hypothesis: Increased nutrient availability will enhance plant growth.
  • Non-Directional Hypothesis: There is a relationship between nutrient availability and plant growth.
  • If-Then Statement: If nutrient availability in the soil increases, then the growth of plants will be enhanced.

4. Genetic Variation and Disease Resistance

Does genetic variation in a population affect its resistance to diseases?

  • Null Hypothesis (H0): Genetic variation has no significant effect on disease resistance in a population.
  • Alternative Hypothesis (H1): Genetic variation significantly affects disease resistance in a population.
  • Directional Hypothesis: Populations with greater genetic variation will have higher resistance to diseases.
  • Non-Directional Hypothesis: There is a relationship between genetic variation and disease resistance in a population.
  • If-Then Statement: If a population has greater genetic variation, then its resistance to diseases will be higher.

5. Water pH and Aquatic Life Health

Does the pH level of water affect the health of aquatic life?

  • Null Hypothesis (H0): The pH level of water has no significant effect on the health of aquatic life.
  • Alternative Hypothesis (H1): The pH level of water significantly affects the health of aquatic life.
  • Directional Hypothesis: Extreme pH levels (both high and low) will negatively affect the health of aquatic life.
  • Non-Directional Hypothesis: There is a relationship between the pH level of water and the health of aquatic life.
  • If-Then Statement: If the pH level of water is too high or too low, then the health of aquatic life will be negatively affected.

Hypothesis Examples in Sociology

In sociology, hypotheses are used to explore and explain social phenomena, behaviors, and relationships within societies. Here are some well-structured hypothesis examples in various areas of sociology:

1. Education and Social Mobility

Does access to higher education affect social mobility?

  • Null Hypothesis (H0): Access to higher education has no significant effect on social mobility.
  • Alternative Hypothesis (H1): Access to higher education significantly affects social mobility.
  • Directional Hypothesis: Increased access to higher education will improve social mobility.
  • Non-Directional Hypothesis: There is a relationship between access to higher education and social mobility.
  • If-Then Statement: If individuals have increased access to higher education, then their social mobility will improve.

2. Income Inequality and Crime Rates

Does income inequality influence crime rates in urban areas?

  • Null Hypothesis (H0): Income inequality has no significant effect on crime rates in urban areas.
  • Alternative Hypothesis (H1): Income inequality significantly affects crime rates in urban areas.
  • Directional Hypothesis: Higher income inequality will lead to higher crime rates in urban areas.
  • Non-Directional Hypothesis: There is a relationship between income inequality and crime rates in urban areas.
  • If-Then Statement: If income inequality increases, then crime rates in urban areas will increase.

3. Social Media Use and Social Interaction

Does the use of social media affect face-to-face social interactions among teenagers?

  • Null Hypothesis (H0): The use of social media has no significant effect on face-to-face social interactions among teenagers.
  • Alternative Hypothesis (H1): The use of social media significantly affects face-to-face social interactions among teenagers.
  • Directional Hypothesis: Increased use of social media will decrease face-to-face social interactions among teenagers.
  • Non-Directional Hypothesis: There is a relationship between the use of social media and face-to-face social interactions among teenagers.
  • If-Then Statement: If teenagers use social media more frequently, then their face-to-face social interactions will decrease.

4. Gender Roles and Career Choices

Do traditional gender roles influence career choices among young adults?

  • Null Hypothesis (H0): Traditional gender roles have no significant effect on career choices among young adults.
  • Alternative Hypothesis (H1): Traditional gender roles significantly affect career choices among young adults.
  • Directional Hypothesis: Adherence to traditional gender roles will limit career choices among young adults.
  • Non-Directional Hypothesis: There is a relationship between traditional gender roles and career choices among young adults.
  • If-Then Statement: If young adults adhere to traditional gender roles, then their career choices will be limited.

5. Cultural Diversity and Workplace Productivity

Does cultural diversity in the workplace affect productivity levels?

  • Null Hypothesis (H0): Cultural diversity in the workplace has no significant effect on productivity levels.
  • Alternative Hypothesis (H1): Cultural diversity in the workplace significantly affects productivity levels.
  • Directional Hypothesis: Increased cultural diversity will improve productivity levels in the workplace.
  • Non-Directional Hypothesis: There is a relationship between cultural diversity in the workplace and productivity levels.
  • If-Then Statement: If the workplace has increased cultural diversity, then productivity levels will improve.

More Hypothesis Samples & Examples in PDF

1. research hypothesis.

Research Hypothesis

2. Education Hypothesis

Education Hypothesis

3. Basic Hypothesis

Basic Hypothesis

4. Hypothesis Statement Template

Hypothesis Statement Template

5. Hypothesis in PDF

Hypothesis in PDF

6. Hypothesis Format

Hypothesis Format

7. Hypothesis Examples

Hypothesis Examples

8. Simple Hypothesis

Simple Hypothesis

Types of Hypothesis

Types of Hypothesis

A hypothesis is a statement that can be tested and is often used in scientific research to propose a relationship between two or more variables. Understanding the different types of hypotheses is essential for conducting effective research. Below are the main types of hypotheses:

1. Null Hypothesis (H0)

The null hypothesis states that there is no relationship between the variables being studied. It assumes that any observed effect is due to chance. Researchers often aim to disprove the null hypothesis.

Example: There is no significant difference in test scores between students who study with music and those who study in silence.

2. Alternative Hypothesis (H1 or Ha)

The alternative hypothesis suggests that there is a relationship between the variables being studied. It is what researchers seek to prove.

Example: Students who study with music have higher test scores than those who study in silence.

3. Simple Hypothesis

A simple hypothesis predicts a relationship between a single independent variable and a single dependent variable.

Example: Increasing the amount of sunlight will increase the growth rate of plants.

4. Complex Hypothesis

A complex hypothesis predicts a relationship involving two or more independent variables and/or two or more dependent variables.

Example: Increasing sunlight and water will increase the growth rate and height of plants.

5. Directional Hypothesis

A directional hypothesis specifies the direction of the expected relationship between variables. It suggests whether the relationship is positive or negative.

Example: Students who study for more hours will score higher on exams.

6. Non-Directional Hypothesis

A non-directional hypothesis does not specify the direction of the relationship. It only states that a relationship exists.

Example: There is a difference in test scores between students who study with music and those who study in silence.

7. Statistical Hypothesis

A statistical hypothesis involves quantitative data and can be tested using statistical methods. It often includes both null and alternative hypotheses.

Example: The mean test scores of students who study with music are significantly different from those who study in silence.

8. Causal Hypothesis

A causal hypothesis proposes a cause-and-effect relationship between variables. It suggests that one variable causes a change in another.

Example: Smoking causes lung cancer.

9. Associative Hypothesis

An associative hypothesis suggests that variables are related but does not imply causation.

Example: There is an association between physical activity levels and body weight.

10. Research Hypothesis

A research hypothesis is a broad statement that serves as the foundation for the research study. It is often the same as the alternative hypothesis.

Example: Implementing a new teaching strategy will improve student engagement and performance.

How To Use Hypothesis for Research?

A hypothesis is a critical component of the research process, providing a clear direction for the study and forming the basis for drawing conclusions. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use a hypothesis in research:

1. Identify the Research Problem

Before formulating a hypothesis, clearly define the research problem or question. This step involves understanding what you aim to investigate and why it is significant.

Example: You want to study the impact of sleep on academic performance among college students.

2. Review Existing Literature

Conduct a thorough review of existing literature to understand what is already known about the topic. This helps in identifying gaps in knowledge and forming a basis for your hypothesis.

Example: Previous studies suggest a positive correlation between sleep duration and academic performance but lack specific data on college students.

Based on the research problem and literature review, formulate a clear and testable hypothesis. Ensure it is specific and relates directly to the variables being studied.

Types of Hypotheses:

  • Null Hypothesis (H0): There is no significant relationship between sleep duration and academic performance among college students.
  • Alternative Hypothesis (H1): There is a significant relationship between sleep duration and academic performance among college students.

4. Define Variables

Clearly define the independent and dependent variables involved in the hypothesis.

  • Independent Variable: Sleep duration
  • Dependent Variable: Academic performance (e.g., GPA)

5. Design the Study

Choose an appropriate research design to test the hypothesis. This could be experimental, correlational, or observational, depending on the nature of your research question.

Example: Conduct a correlational study to examine the relationship between sleep duration and GPA among college students.

6. Collect Data

Gather data through surveys, experiments, or secondary data sources. Ensure the data collection methods are reliable and valid to accurately test the hypothesis.

Example: Use a questionnaire to collect data on students’ sleep duration and their GPAs.

7. Analyze the Data

Use appropriate statistical methods to analyze the data. This step involves testing the hypothesis to determine whether to accept or reject the null hypothesis.

Example: Perform a Pearson correlation analysis to examine the relationship between sleep duration and GPA.

8. Interpret the Results

Interpret the results of the statistical analysis. Determine if the data supports the alternative hypothesis or if the null hypothesis cannot be rejected.

Example: If the analysis shows a significant positive correlation, you can reject the null hypothesis and accept the alternative hypothesis that sleep duration is related to academic performance.

9. Draw Conclusions

Draw conclusions based on the results of the hypothesis testing. Discuss the implications of the findings and how they contribute to the existing body of knowledge.

Example: Conclude that longer sleep duration is associated with higher GPA among college students and discuss potential implications for student health and academic policies.

10. Report and Share Findings

Write a detailed report or research paper presenting the hypothesis, methodology, results, and conclusions. Share your findings with the academic community or relevant stakeholders.

Example: Publish the study in a peer-reviewed journal or present it at an academic conference.

How to Write a Hypothesis?

Writing a hypothesis is a crucial step in the scientific method. A well-constructed hypothesis guides your research, helping you design experiments and analyze results. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to write an effective hypothesis:

1. Understand the Research Question

Start by clearly understanding the research question or problem you want to address. This helps in formulating a focused hypothesis.

Example: How does sunlight exposure affect plant growth?

2. Conduct Preliminary Research

Review existing literature related to your research question. This helps in understanding what is already known and identifying gaps in knowledge.

Example: Studies show that plants generally grow better with more sunlight, but the optimal amount varies.

3. Identify Variables

Determine the independent and dependent variables for your study.

  • Independent Variable: The factor you manipulate (e.g., sunlight exposure).
  • Dependent Variable: The factor you measure (e.g., plant growth).

4. Formulate a Simple Hypothesis

A simple hypothesis involves one independent and one dependent variable. Clearly state the expected relationship between these variables.

Example: Increasing sunlight exposure will increase plant growth.

5. Choose the Type of Hypothesis

Decide whether your hypothesis will be null or alternative, directional or non-directional.

  • Null Hypothesis (H0): There is no relationship between the variables.
  • Alternative Hypothesis (H1): There is a relationship between the variables.
  • Directional Hypothesis: Specifies the direction of the relationship.
  • Non-Directional Hypothesis: Does not specify the direction.

Example of Directional Hypothesis: Plants exposed to more sunlight will grow taller than those exposed to less sunlight.

6. Ensure Testability

Make sure your hypothesis can be tested through experiments or observations. It should be measurable and falsifiable.

Example: Plants will be grown under different levels of sunlight, and their growth will be measured over time.

7. Write the Hypothesis

Write your hypothesis in a clear, concise, and specific manner. It should include the variables and the expected relationship between them.

Example: If plants are exposed to increased sunlight, then they will grow taller compared to plants that receive less sunlight.

8. Refine the Hypothesis

Ensure that your hypothesis is specific and narrow enough to be testable but broad enough to cover the scope of your research.

Example: If tomato plants are exposed to 8 hours of sunlight per day, then they will grow taller and produce more fruit compared to tomato plants exposed to 4 hours of sunlight per day.

How Do You Formulate a Hypothesis?

To formulate a hypothesis, identify the research question, review existing literature, define variables, and create a testable statement predicting the relationship between the variables.

What Is the Difference Between Null and Alternative Hypotheses?

The null hypothesis (H0) states there is no effect or relationship, while the alternative hypothesis (H1) proposes that there is an effect or relationship.

Why Is a Hypothesis Important in Research?

A hypothesis provides a clear focus for the study, guiding the research design, data collection, and analysis, ultimately helping to draw meaningful conclusions.

Can a Hypothesis Be Proven True?

A hypothesis cannot be proven true; it can only be supported or refuted through experimentation and analysis. Even if supported, it remains open to further testing.

What Makes a Good Hypothesis?

A good hypothesis is clear, concise, specific, testable, and based on existing knowledge. It should predict a relationship between variables that can be measured.

How Is a Hypothesis Tested?

A hypothesis is tested through experiments or observations, collecting and analyzing data to determine if the results support or refute the hypothesis.

What Are the Types of Hypotheses?

Types of hypotheses include null, alternative, simple, complex, directional, non-directional, statistical, causal, and associative.

What Is a Directional Hypothesis?

A directional hypothesis specifies the expected direction of the relationship between variables, indicating whether the effect will be positive or negative.

What Is a Non-Directional Hypothesis?

A non-directional hypothesis states that a relationship exists between variables but does not specify the direction of the relationship.

How Do You Refine a Hypothesis?

Refine a hypothesis by ensuring it is specific, measurable, and testable. Remove any vague terms and focus on a single independent and dependent variable.

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Narrative theory.

  • Didier Coste Didier Coste Universite Bordeaux Montaigne
  • https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190201098.013.116
  • Published online: 28 June 2017

The narrative mode of world-representation and world-building is omnipresent and far exceeds the domain of literature. Since literature is not necessarily narrative and narrative not necessarily literary, the study of narrative in a literary context must confront narrative and literature in a dual way: How does the presence of narrative affect literature? And how does literariness affect narrative? The basic terminology needs to be clarified by comparing English with the vocabulary of other natural languages. No consensus has been reached, even in the West, on the nature of narrative discourse.

The entire history of poetics shows that, before the middle of the 20th century, little attention was paid to the narrative components of literary texts qua narrative—that is, insofar as the same narrative elements could equally be found in non-aestheticized uses of verbal and non-verbal languages. Aristotelian poetics, based on the mimesis of human action, keeps its grip on narrative theory. The post-Aristotelian triad separated more sharply the lyric from the epic and dramatic genres, but modern narrative theories, mostly based on the study of folk tales and the novel, have still failed to unify the field of literary narrative, or have done it artificially, dissolving narrative discourse into the undifferentiated experience of human life in linear time.

The Western “rise of the novel,” in Ian Watt’s sense, and its worldwide expansion, turned the question of fiction, not that of narrativity, into the main focus of narrative studies. Later, the emergence of formalism and semiotics and the “linguistic turn” of the social sciences pushed the narrative analysis of literary texts in the opposite direction, with all of its efforts bearing on minimal, supposedly deeper units and simple concatenations. The permanent, unresolved conflict between an analytical and constructivist view grounded in individual events and a holistic view concerned with story-worlds and storytelling leaves mostly unattended such fundamental questions as how narrative is used by literature and literature by narrative for their own ends.

Literary narrativity must be thoroughly reconsidered. A critical, transdisciplinary theory should submit to both logical and empirical trial—on a large number of varied samples—and narrative analyses that would take into account the following concepts used to forge methodological tools: discrimination (between the functions of discourse genres and between pragmatic roles in literary communication); combination rules (whether linear or not); levels (as spatial placing, as interdependence and hierarchical authority); scale and spatiotemporal framing and backgrounding , especially the (dominant) time concepts in a particular cultural context. The preconditions for analysis begin by investigating the relation between aesthetic emotions and narrative in other cultural domains than the West and the English-speaking world.

Literary narrativity and social values concur to link the rhetorical manipulation of narrative with its aestheticization. The pleasure and fear of cognition combine with strategies of delusion to either acquiesce to the effects of time and violence or resist them; routine and rupture are alternatively foregrounded, according to needs.

  • literary aesthetics
  • narrativity
  • reader response
  • spatiotemporal framing

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Inflation Targets: Practice Ahead of Theory

Inflation targets were introduced well ahead of the development of the theory of inflation targeting. The practice was successful because it comprised a new set of procedures and institutions for setting monetary policy in a transparent and accountable fashion – “constrained discretion”; the later theory was less useful because it purported to be a theory of the determination of the price level. But inflation targeting does not constitute a new theory of the monetary transmission mechanism. The belief that it does led to the replacement of Milton Friedman’s dictum that “inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon” by the new dictum that “inflation is always and everywhere a transitory phenomenon”. This had unfortunate consequences during the recent inflation. The paper concludes with a discussion of the challenges facing inflation targets in the future.

The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

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All-optical multichannel switch and slow light based on dynamically tunable plasmon-induced transparency

Zihao Zhu and Xunong Yi

Author Affiliations

Zihao Zhu 1 and Xunong Yi 2, *

1 College of Information Science and Engineering, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266003, China

2 School of Electronic Information and Automation, Guilin University of Aerospace Technology, Guilin 541004, China

* Corresponding author: [email protected]

  

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  • Optical Devices, Sensors, and Detectors
  • Coupled mode theory
  • Effective refractive index
  • Nonlinear optical materials
  • Optical filters
  • Plasmon waveguides
  • Original Manuscript: March 20, 2024
  • Revised Manuscript: May 1, 2024
  • Manuscript Accepted: June 4, 2024
  • Published: June 21, 2024
  • Full Article
  • Figures ( 8 )
  • Data Availability
  • Tables ( 2 )
  • Equations ( 20 )
  • References ( 49 )
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The triple plasmon-induced transparency (PIT) effect based on a metal–insulator–metal waveguide structure comprising two groups of big and small disk resonators (BSDRs) is investigated theoretically and numerically. As a tool employed to explain the PIT, $N$ -order coupled mode theory (CMT), is established, and the calculated results of the triple-PIT effect exhibit excellent consistency with finite-difference time-domain simulations. The influence of the separation between the small disk resonators on the triple-PIT response is discussed in detail through the dynamical equation. Further research shows that the central wavelengths of the triple-PIT transmission window can be adjusted with extremely low pump intensity and ultrafast optical response when monolayer graphene covers the surface of the BSDRs. Meaningfully, light traveling at resonant wavelengths can be effectively slowed down, with the highest group index reaching 368. Based on the PIT effect, a low-power and ultrafast switch is realized with a modulation amplitude of more than 93% at the corresponding wavelengths of the eight depressions. Thus, not only do the insights put forward new ideas, to the best of our knowledge, for highly tunable optoelectronic devices, but the results from the $N$ -order CMT also offer new theory progress and references in the plasmonic waveguide structures.

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hypothesis of research questions

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Enduo Gao, Zhimin Liu, Hongjian Li, Hui Xu, Zhenbin Zhang, Xin Luo, Cuixiu Xiong, Chao Liu, Baihui Zhang, and Fengqi Zhou Opt. Express 27 (10) 13884-13894 (2019)

Data availability

Data underlying the results presented in this paper are not publicly available at this time but may be obtained from the authors upon reasonable request.

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Figures (8)

Equations (20).

Gisele Bennett, Editor-in-Chief

General Rule of N -Order CMT

Number of Groups of BSDRs, Number of PITs, Transmission/Reflection Coefficient of the ( )th and ( )th PIT, Transmission/Reflection Coefficient in the PIT System,
11
23
35
47

All-Optical Multichannel Switch with Graphene

(nm)TransmissionStateTransmissionStateMD (%)ER (dB)
7370.537On0.02Off96.3%14.29
7470.02Off0.816On97.6%16.11
7620.721On0.02Off97.2%15.57
7730.02Off0.655On97%15.15
7790.477On0.032Off93.4%11.73
7890.032Off0.739On95.7%13.63
8000.718On0.031Off95.6%13.65
8110.031Off0.554On94.3%12.52

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    The triple plasmon-induced transparency (PIT) effect based on a metal-insulator-metal waveguide structure comprising two groups of big and small disk resonators (BSDRs) is investigated theoretically and numerically. As a tool employed to explain the PIT, N-order coupled mode theory (CMT), is established, and the calculated results of the triple-PIT effect exhibit excellent consistency with ...