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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."

parts of a hypothesis

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.

parts of a hypothesis

Verywell / Alex Dos Diaz

  • 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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Home » What is a Hypothesis – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

What is a Hypothesis – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

Table of Contents

What is a Hypothesis

Definition:

Hypothesis is an educated guess or proposed explanation for a phenomenon, based on some initial observations or data. It is a tentative statement that can be tested and potentially proven or disproven through further investigation and experimentation.

Hypothesis is often used in scientific research to guide the design of experiments and the collection and analysis of data. It is an essential element of the scientific method, as it allows researchers to make predictions about the outcome of their experiments and to test those predictions to determine their accuracy.

Types of Hypothesis

Types of Hypothesis are as follows:

Research Hypothesis

A research hypothesis is a statement that predicts a relationship between variables. It is usually formulated as a specific statement that can be tested through research, and it is often used in scientific research to guide the design of experiments.

Null Hypothesis

The null hypothesis is a statement that assumes there is no significant difference or relationship between variables. It is often used as a starting point for testing the research hypothesis, and if the results of the study reject the null hypothesis, it suggests that there is a significant difference or relationship between variables.

Alternative Hypothesis

An alternative hypothesis is a statement that assumes there is a significant difference or relationship between variables. It is often used as an alternative to the null hypothesis and is tested against the null hypothesis to determine which statement is more accurate.

Directional Hypothesis

A directional hypothesis is a statement that predicts the direction of the relationship between variables. For example, a researcher might predict that increasing the amount of exercise will result in a decrease in body weight.

Non-directional Hypothesis

A non-directional hypothesis is a statement that predicts the relationship between variables but does not specify the direction. For example, a researcher might predict that there is a relationship between the amount of exercise and body weight, but they do not specify whether increasing or decreasing exercise will affect body weight.

Statistical Hypothesis

A statistical hypothesis is a statement that assumes a particular statistical model or distribution for the data. It is often used in statistical analysis to test the significance of a particular result.

Composite Hypothesis

A composite hypothesis is a statement that assumes more than one condition or outcome. It can be divided into several sub-hypotheses, each of which represents a different possible outcome.

Empirical Hypothesis

An empirical hypothesis is a statement that is based on observed phenomena or data. It is often used in scientific research to develop theories or models that explain the observed phenomena.

Simple Hypothesis

A simple hypothesis is a statement that assumes only one outcome or condition. It is often used in scientific research to test a single variable or factor.

Complex Hypothesis

A complex hypothesis is a statement that assumes multiple outcomes or conditions. It is often used in scientific research to test the effects of multiple variables or factors on a particular outcome.

Applications of Hypothesis

Hypotheses are used in various fields to guide research and make predictions about the outcomes of experiments or observations. Here are some examples of how hypotheses are applied in different fields:

  • Science : In scientific research, hypotheses are used to test the validity of theories and models that explain natural phenomena. For example, a hypothesis might be formulated to test the effects of a particular variable on a natural system, such as the effects of climate change on an ecosystem.
  • Medicine : In medical research, hypotheses are used to test the effectiveness of treatments and therapies for specific conditions. For example, a hypothesis might be formulated to test the effects of a new drug on a particular disease.
  • Psychology : In psychology, hypotheses are used to test theories and models of human behavior and cognition. For example, a hypothesis might be formulated to test the effects of a particular stimulus on the brain or behavior.
  • Sociology : In sociology, hypotheses are used to test theories and models of social phenomena, such as the effects of social structures or institutions on human behavior. For example, a hypothesis might be formulated to test the effects of income inequality on crime rates.
  • Business : In business research, hypotheses are used to test the validity of theories and models that explain business phenomena, such as consumer behavior or market trends. For example, a hypothesis might be formulated to test the effects of a new marketing campaign on consumer buying behavior.
  • Engineering : In engineering, hypotheses are used to test the effectiveness of new technologies or designs. For example, a hypothesis might be formulated to test the efficiency of a new solar panel design.

How to write a Hypothesis

Here are the steps to follow when writing a hypothesis:

Identify the Research Question

The first step is to identify the research question that you want to answer through your study. This question should be clear, specific, and focused. It should be something that can be investigated empirically and that has some relevance or significance in the field.

Conduct a Literature Review

Before writing your hypothesis, it’s essential to conduct a thorough literature review to understand what is already known about the topic. This will help you to identify the research gap and formulate a hypothesis that builds on existing knowledge.

Determine the Variables

The next step is to identify the variables involved in the research question. A variable is any characteristic or factor that can vary or change. There are two types of variables: independent and dependent. The independent variable is the one that is manipulated or changed by the researcher, while the dependent variable is the one that is measured or observed as a result of the independent variable.

Formulate the Hypothesis

Based on the research question and the variables involved, you can now formulate your hypothesis. A hypothesis should be a clear and concise statement that predicts the relationship between the variables. It should be testable through empirical research and based on existing theory or evidence.

Write the Null Hypothesis

The null hypothesis is the opposite of the alternative hypothesis, which is the hypothesis that you are testing. The null hypothesis states that there is no significant difference or relationship between the variables. It is important to write the null hypothesis because it allows you to compare your results with what would be expected by chance.

Refine the Hypothesis

After formulating the hypothesis, it’s important to refine it and make it more precise. This may involve clarifying the variables, specifying the direction of the relationship, or making the hypothesis more testable.

Examples of Hypothesis

Here are a few examples of hypotheses in different fields:

  • Psychology : “Increased exposure to violent video games leads to increased aggressive behavior in adolescents.”
  • Biology : “Higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will lead to increased plant growth.”
  • Sociology : “Individuals who grow up in households with higher socioeconomic status will have higher levels of education and income as adults.”
  • Education : “Implementing a new teaching method will result in higher student achievement scores.”
  • Marketing : “Customers who receive a personalized email will be more likely to make a purchase than those who receive a generic email.”
  • Physics : “An increase in temperature will cause an increase in the volume of a gas, assuming all other variables remain constant.”
  • Medicine : “Consuming a diet high in saturated fats will increase the risk of developing heart disease.”

Purpose of Hypothesis

The purpose of a hypothesis is to provide a testable explanation for an observed phenomenon or a prediction of a future outcome based on existing knowledge or theories. A hypothesis is an essential part of the scientific method and helps to guide the research process by providing a clear focus for investigation. It enables scientists to design experiments or studies to gather evidence and data that can support or refute the proposed explanation or prediction.

The formulation of a hypothesis is based on existing knowledge, observations, and theories, and it should be specific, testable, and falsifiable. A specific hypothesis helps to define the research question, which is important in the research process as it guides the selection of an appropriate research design and methodology. Testability of the hypothesis means that it can be proven or disproven through empirical data collection and analysis. Falsifiability means that the hypothesis should be formulated in such a way that it can be proven wrong if it is incorrect.

In addition to guiding the research process, the testing of hypotheses can lead to new discoveries and advancements in scientific knowledge. When a hypothesis is supported by the data, it can be used to develop new theories or models to explain the observed phenomenon. When a hypothesis is not supported by the data, it can help to refine existing theories or prompt the development of new hypotheses to explain the phenomenon.

When to use Hypothesis

Here are some common situations in which hypotheses are used:

  • In scientific research , hypotheses are used to guide the design of experiments and to help researchers make predictions about the outcomes of those experiments.
  • In social science research , hypotheses are used to test theories about human behavior, social relationships, and other phenomena.
  • I n business , hypotheses can be used to guide decisions about marketing, product development, and other areas. For example, a hypothesis might be that a new product will sell well in a particular market, and this hypothesis can be tested through market research.

Characteristics of Hypothesis

Here are some common characteristics of a hypothesis:

  • Testable : A hypothesis must be able to be tested through observation or experimentation. This means that it must be possible to collect data that will either support or refute the hypothesis.
  • Falsifiable : A hypothesis must be able to be proven false if it is not supported by the data. If a hypothesis cannot be falsified, then it is not a scientific hypothesis.
  • Clear and concise : A hypothesis should be stated in a clear and concise manner so that it can be easily understood and tested.
  • Based on existing knowledge : A hypothesis should be based on existing knowledge and research in the field. It should not be based on personal beliefs or opinions.
  • Specific : A hypothesis should be specific in terms of the variables being tested and the predicted outcome. This will help to ensure that the research is focused and well-designed.
  • Tentative: A hypothesis is a tentative statement or assumption that requires further testing and evidence to be confirmed or refuted. It is not a final conclusion or assertion.
  • Relevant : A hypothesis should be relevant to the research question or problem being studied. It should address a gap in knowledge or provide a new perspective on the issue.

Advantages of Hypothesis

Hypotheses have several advantages in scientific research and experimentation:

  • Guides research: A hypothesis provides a clear and specific direction for research. It helps to focus the research question, select appropriate methods and variables, and interpret the results.
  • Predictive powe r: A hypothesis makes predictions about the outcome of research, which can be tested through experimentation. This allows researchers to evaluate the validity of the hypothesis and make new discoveries.
  • Facilitates communication: A hypothesis provides a common language and framework for scientists to communicate with one another about their research. This helps to facilitate the exchange of ideas and promotes collaboration.
  • Efficient use of resources: A hypothesis helps researchers to use their time, resources, and funding efficiently by directing them towards specific research questions and methods that are most likely to yield results.
  • Provides a basis for further research: A hypothesis that is supported by data provides a basis for further research and exploration. It can lead to new hypotheses, theories, and discoveries.
  • Increases objectivity: A hypothesis can help to increase objectivity in research by providing a clear and specific framework for testing and interpreting results. This can reduce bias and increase the reliability of research findings.

Limitations of Hypothesis

Some Limitations of the Hypothesis are as follows:

  • Limited to observable phenomena: Hypotheses are limited to observable phenomena and cannot account for unobservable or intangible factors. This means that some research questions may not be amenable to hypothesis testing.
  • May be inaccurate or incomplete: Hypotheses are based on existing knowledge and research, which may be incomplete or inaccurate. This can lead to flawed hypotheses and erroneous conclusions.
  • May be biased: Hypotheses may be biased by the researcher’s own beliefs, values, or assumptions. This can lead to selective interpretation of data and a lack of objectivity in research.
  • Cannot prove causation: A hypothesis can only show a correlation between variables, but it cannot prove causation. This requires further experimentation and analysis.
  • Limited to specific contexts: Hypotheses are limited to specific contexts and may not be generalizable to other situations or populations. This means that results may not be applicable in other contexts or may require further testing.
  • May be affected by chance : Hypotheses may be affected by chance or random variation, which can obscure or distort the true relationship between variables.

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What Are the Elements of a Good Hypothesis?

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A hypothesis is an educated guess or prediction of what will happen. In science, a hypothesis proposes a relationship between factors called variables. A good hypothesis relates an independent variable and a dependent variable. The effect on the dependent variable depends on or is determined by what happens when you change the independent variable . While you could consider any prediction of an outcome to be a type of hypothesis, a good hypothesis is one you can test using the scientific method. In other words, you want to propose a hypothesis to use as the basis for an experiment.

Cause and Effect or 'If, Then' Relationships

A good experimental hypothesis can be written as an if, then statement to establish cause and effect on the variables. If you make a change to the independent variable, then the dependent variable will respond. Here's an example of a hypothesis:

If you increase the duration of light, (then) corn plants will grow more each day.

The hypothesis establishes two variables, length of light exposure, and the rate of plant growth. An experiment could be designed to test whether the rate of growth depends on the duration of light. The duration of light is the independent variable, which you can control in an experiment . The rate of plant growth is the dependent variable, which you can measure and record as data in an experiment.

Key Points of Hypothesis

When you have an idea for a hypothesis, it may help to write it out in several different ways. Review your choices and select a hypothesis that accurately describes what you are testing.

  • Does the hypothesis relate an independent and dependent variable? Can you identify the variables?
  • Can you test the hypothesis? In other words, could you design an experiment that would allow you to establish or disprove a relationship between the variables?
  • Would your experiment be safe and ethical?
  • Is there a simpler or more precise way to state the hypothesis? If so, rewrite it.

What If the Hypothesis Is Incorrect?

It's not wrong or bad if the hypothesis is not supported or is incorrect. Actually, this outcome may tell you more about a relationship between the variables than if the hypothesis is supported. You may intentionally write your hypothesis as a null hypothesis or no-difference hypothesis to establish a relationship between the variables.

For example, the hypothesis:

The rate of corn plant growth does not depend on the duration of light.

This can be tested by exposing corn plants to different length "days" and measuring the rate of plant growth. A statistical test can be applied to measure how well the data support the hypothesis. If the hypothesis is not supported, then you have evidence of a relationship between the variables. It's easier to establish cause and effect by testing whether "no effect" is found. Alternatively, if the null hypothesis is supported, then you have shown the variables are not related. Either way, your experiment is a success.

Need more examples of how to write a hypothesis ? Here you go:

  • If you turn out all the lights, you will fall asleep faster. (Think: How would you test it?)
  • If you drop different objects, they will fall at the same rate.
  • If you eat only fast food, then you will gain weight.
  • If you use cruise control, then your car will get better gas mileage.
  • If you apply a top coat, then your manicure will last longer.
  • If you turn the lights on and off rapidly, then the bulb will burn out faster.
  • Null Hypothesis Examples
  • Examples of Independent and Dependent Variables
  • Difference Between Independent and Dependent Variables
  • Null Hypothesis Definition and Examples
  • Six Steps of the Scientific Method
  • What Is a Hypothesis? (Science)
  • Understanding Simple vs Controlled Experiments
  • The Role of a Controlled Variable in an Experiment
  • Dependent Variable Definition and Examples
  • How To Design a Science Fair Experiment
  • Independent Variable Definition and Examples
  • Scientific Method Vocabulary Terms
  • Scientific Method Flow Chart
  • Definition of a Hypothesis
  • Scientific Variable

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Hypothesis Testing | A Step-by-Step Guide with Easy Examples

Published on November 8, 2019 by Rebecca Bevans . Revised on June 22, 2023.

Hypothesis testing is a formal procedure for investigating our ideas about the world using statistics . It is most often used by scientists to test specific predictions, called hypotheses, that arise from theories.

There are 5 main steps in hypothesis testing:

  • State your research hypothesis as a null hypothesis and alternate hypothesis (H o ) and (H a  or H 1 ).
  • Collect data in a way designed to test the hypothesis.
  • Perform an appropriate statistical test .
  • Decide whether to reject or fail to reject your null hypothesis.
  • Present the findings in your results and discussion section.

Though the specific details might vary, the procedure you will use when testing a hypothesis will always follow some version of these steps.

Table of contents

Step 1: state your null and alternate hypothesis, step 2: collect data, step 3: perform a statistical test, step 4: decide whether to reject or fail to reject your null hypothesis, step 5: present your findings, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about hypothesis testing.

After developing your initial research hypothesis (the prediction that you want to investigate), it is important to restate it as a null (H o ) and alternate (H a ) hypothesis so that you can test it mathematically.

The alternate hypothesis is usually your initial hypothesis that predicts a relationship between variables. The null hypothesis is a prediction of no relationship between the variables you are interested in.

  • H 0 : Men are, on average, not taller than women. H a : Men are, on average, taller than women.

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For a statistical test to be valid , it is important to perform sampling and collect data in a way that is designed to test your hypothesis. If your data are not representative, then you cannot make statistical inferences about the population you are interested in.

There are a variety of statistical tests available, but they are all based on the comparison of within-group variance (how spread out the data is within a category) versus between-group variance (how different the categories are from one another).

If the between-group variance is large enough that there is little or no overlap between groups, then your statistical test will reflect that by showing a low p -value . This means it is unlikely that the differences between these groups came about by chance.

Alternatively, if there is high within-group variance and low between-group variance, then your statistical test will reflect that with a high p -value. This means it is likely that any difference you measure between groups is due to chance.

Your choice of statistical test will be based on the type of variables and the level of measurement of your collected data .

  • an estimate of the difference in average height between the two groups.
  • a p -value showing how likely you are to see this difference if the null hypothesis of no difference is true.

Based on the outcome of your statistical test, you will have to decide whether to reject or fail to reject your null hypothesis.

In most cases you will use the p -value generated by your statistical test to guide your decision. And in most cases, your predetermined level of significance for rejecting the null hypothesis will be 0.05 – that is, when there is a less than 5% chance that you would see these results if the null hypothesis were true.

In some cases, researchers choose a more conservative level of significance, such as 0.01 (1%). This minimizes the risk of incorrectly rejecting the null hypothesis ( Type I error ).

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parts of a hypothesis

The results of hypothesis testing will be presented in the results and discussion sections of your research paper , dissertation or thesis .

In the results section you should give a brief summary of the data and a summary of the results of your statistical test (for example, the estimated difference between group means and associated p -value). In the discussion , you can discuss whether your initial hypothesis was supported by your results or not.

In the formal language of hypothesis testing, we talk about rejecting or failing to reject the null hypothesis. You will probably be asked to do this in your statistics assignments.

However, when presenting research results in academic papers we rarely talk this way. Instead, we go back to our alternate hypothesis (in this case, the hypothesis that men are on average taller than women) and state whether the result of our test did or did not support the alternate hypothesis.

If your null hypothesis was rejected, this result is interpreted as “supported the alternate hypothesis.”

These are superficial differences; you can see that they mean the same thing.

You might notice that we don’t say that we reject or fail to reject the alternate hypothesis . This is because hypothesis testing is not designed to prove or disprove anything. It is only designed to test whether a pattern we measure could have arisen spuriously, or by chance.

If we reject the null hypothesis based on our research (i.e., we find that it is unlikely that the pattern arose by chance), then we can say our test lends support to our hypothesis . But if the pattern does not pass our decision rule, meaning that it could have arisen by chance, then we say the test is inconsistent with our hypothesis .

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

  • Normal distribution
  • Descriptive statistics
  • Measures of central tendency
  • Correlation coefficient

Methodology

  • Cluster sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Types of interviews
  • Cohort study
  • Thematic analysis

Research bias

  • Implicit bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Survivorship bias
  • Availability heuristic
  • Nonresponse bias
  • Regression to the mean

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 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).

Null and alternative hypotheses are used in statistical hypothesis testing . The null hypothesis of a test always predicts no effect or no relationship between variables, while the alternative hypothesis states your research prediction of an effect or relationship.

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Bevans, R. (2023, June 22). Hypothesis Testing | A Step-by-Step Guide with Easy Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved June 18, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/statistics/hypothesis-testing/

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The Craft of Writing a Strong Hypothesis

Deeptanshu D

Table of Contents

Writing a hypothesis is one of the essential elements of a scientific research paper. It needs to be to the point, clearly communicating what your research is trying to accomplish. A blurry, drawn-out, or complexly-structured hypothesis can confuse your readers. Or worse, the editor and peer reviewers.

A captivating hypothesis is not too intricate. This blog will take you through the process so that, by the end of it, you have a better idea of how to convey your research paper's intent in just one sentence.

What is a Hypothesis?

The first step in your scientific endeavor, a hypothesis, is a strong, concise statement that forms the basis of your research. It is not the same as a thesis statement , which is a brief summary of your research paper .

The sole purpose of a hypothesis is to predict your paper's findings, data, and conclusion. It comes from a place of curiosity and intuition . When you write a hypothesis, you're essentially making an educated guess based on scientific prejudices and evidence, which is further proven or disproven through the scientific method.

The reason for undertaking research is to observe a specific phenomenon. A hypothesis, therefore, lays out what the said phenomenon is. And it does so through two variables, an independent and dependent variable.

The independent variable is the cause behind the observation, while the dependent variable is the effect of the cause. A good example of this is “mixing red and blue forms purple.” In this hypothesis, mixing red and blue is the independent variable as you're combining the two colors at your own will. The formation of purple is the dependent variable as, in this case, it is conditional to the independent variable.

Different Types of Hypotheses‌

Types-of-hypotheses

Types of hypotheses

Some would stand by the notion that there are only two types of hypotheses: a Null hypothesis and an Alternative hypothesis. While that may have some truth to it, it would be better to fully distinguish the most common forms as these terms come up so often, which might leave you out of context.

Apart from Null and Alternative, there are Complex, Simple, Directional, Non-Directional, Statistical, and Associative and casual hypotheses. They don't necessarily have to be exclusive, as one hypothesis can tick many boxes, but knowing the distinctions between them will make it easier for you to construct your own.

1. Null hypothesis

A null hypothesis proposes no relationship between two variables. Denoted by H 0 , it is a negative statement like “Attending physiotherapy sessions does not affect athletes' on-field performance.” Here, the author claims physiotherapy sessions have no effect on on-field performances. Even if there is, it's only a coincidence.

2. Alternative hypothesis

Considered to be the opposite of a null hypothesis, an alternative hypothesis is donated as H1 or Ha. It explicitly states that the dependent variable affects the independent variable. A good  alternative hypothesis example is “Attending physiotherapy sessions improves athletes' on-field performance.” or “Water evaporates at 100 °C. ” The alternative hypothesis further branches into directional and non-directional.

  • Directional hypothesis: A hypothesis that states the result would be either positive or negative is called directional hypothesis. It accompanies H1 with either the ‘<' or ‘>' sign.
  • Non-directional hypothesis: A non-directional hypothesis only claims an effect on the dependent variable. It does not clarify whether the result would be positive or negative. The sign for a non-directional hypothesis is ‘≠.'

3. Simple hypothesis

A simple hypothesis is a statement made to reflect the relation between exactly two variables. One independent and one dependent. Consider the example, “Smoking is a prominent cause of lung cancer." The dependent variable, lung cancer, is dependent on the independent variable, smoking.

4. Complex hypothesis

In contrast to a simple hypothesis, a complex hypothesis implies the relationship between multiple independent and dependent variables. For instance, “Individuals who eat more fruits tend to have higher immunity, lesser cholesterol, and high metabolism.” The independent variable is eating more fruits, while the dependent variables are higher immunity, lesser cholesterol, and high metabolism.

5. Associative and casual hypothesis

Associative and casual hypotheses don't exhibit how many variables there will be. They define the relationship between the variables. In an associative hypothesis, changing any one variable, dependent or independent, affects others. In a casual hypothesis, the independent variable directly affects the dependent.

6. Empirical hypothesis

Also referred to as the working hypothesis, an empirical hypothesis claims a theory's validation via experiments and observation. This way, the statement appears justifiable and different from a wild guess.

Say, the hypothesis is “Women who take iron tablets face a lesser risk of anemia than those who take vitamin B12.” This is an example of an empirical hypothesis where the researcher  the statement after assessing a group of women who take iron tablets and charting the findings.

7. Statistical hypothesis

The point of a statistical hypothesis is to test an already existing hypothesis by studying a population sample. Hypothesis like “44% of the Indian population belong in the age group of 22-27.” leverage evidence to prove or disprove a particular statement.

Characteristics of a Good Hypothesis

Writing a hypothesis is essential as it can make or break your research for you. That includes your chances of getting published in a journal. So when you're designing one, keep an eye out for these pointers:

  • A research hypothesis has to be simple yet clear to look justifiable enough.
  • It has to be testable — your research would be rendered pointless if too far-fetched into reality or limited by technology.
  • It has to be precise about the results —what you are trying to do and achieve through it should come out in your hypothesis.
  • A research hypothesis should be self-explanatory, leaving no doubt in the reader's mind.
  • If you are developing a relational hypothesis, you need to include the variables and establish an appropriate relationship among them.
  • A hypothesis must keep and reflect the scope for further investigations and experiments.

Separating a Hypothesis from a Prediction

Outside of academia, hypothesis and prediction are often used interchangeably. In research writing, this is not only confusing but also incorrect. And although a hypothesis and prediction are guesses at their core, there are many differences between them.

A hypothesis is an educated guess or even a testable prediction validated through research. It aims to analyze the gathered evidence and facts to define a relationship between variables and put forth a logical explanation behind the nature of events.

Predictions are assumptions or expected outcomes made without any backing evidence. They are more fictionally inclined regardless of where they originate from.

For this reason, a hypothesis holds much more weight than a prediction. It sticks to the scientific method rather than pure guesswork. "Planets revolve around the Sun." is an example of a hypothesis as it is previous knowledge and observed trends. Additionally, we can test it through the scientific method.

Whereas "COVID-19 will be eradicated by 2030." is a prediction. Even though it results from past trends, we can't prove or disprove it. So, the only way this gets validated is to wait and watch if COVID-19 cases end by 2030.

Finally, How to Write a Hypothesis

Quick-tips-on-how-to-write-a-hypothesis

Quick tips on writing a hypothesis

1.  Be clear about your research question

A hypothesis should instantly address the research question or the problem statement. To do so, you need to ask a question. Understand the constraints of your undertaken research topic and then formulate a simple and topic-centric problem. Only after that can you develop a hypothesis and further test for evidence.

2. Carry out a recce

Once you have your research's foundation laid out, it would be best to conduct preliminary research. Go through previous theories, academic papers, data, and experiments before you start curating your research hypothesis. It will give you an idea of your hypothesis's viability or originality.

Making use of references from relevant research papers helps draft a good research hypothesis. SciSpace Discover offers a repository of over 270 million research papers to browse through and gain a deeper understanding of related studies on a particular topic. Additionally, you can use SciSpace Copilot , your AI research assistant, for reading any lengthy research paper and getting a more summarized context of it. A hypothesis can be formed after evaluating many such summarized research papers. Copilot also offers explanations for theories and equations, explains paper in simplified version, allows you to highlight any text in the paper or clip math equations and tables and provides a deeper, clear understanding of what is being said. This can improve the hypothesis by helping you identify potential research gaps.

3. Create a 3-dimensional hypothesis

Variables are an essential part of any reasonable hypothesis. So, identify your independent and dependent variable(s) and form a correlation between them. The ideal way to do this is to write the hypothetical assumption in the ‘if-then' form. If you use this form, make sure that you state the predefined relationship between the variables.

In another way, you can choose to present your hypothesis as a comparison between two variables. Here, you must specify the difference you expect to observe in the results.

4. Write the first draft

Now that everything is in place, it's time to write your hypothesis. For starters, create the first draft. In this version, write what you expect to find from your research.

Clearly separate your independent and dependent variables and the link between them. Don't fixate on syntax at this stage. The goal is to ensure your hypothesis addresses the issue.

5. Proof your hypothesis

After preparing the first draft of your hypothesis, you need to inspect it thoroughly. It should tick all the boxes, like being concise, straightforward, relevant, and accurate. Your final hypothesis has to be well-structured as well.

Research projects are an exciting and crucial part of being a scholar. And once you have your research question, you need a great hypothesis to begin conducting research. Thus, knowing how to write a hypothesis is very important.

Now that you have a firmer grasp on what a good hypothesis constitutes, the different kinds there are, and what process to follow, you will find it much easier to write your hypothesis, which ultimately helps your research.

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

It includes everything you need, including a repository of over 270 million research papers across disciplines, SEO-optimized summaries and public profiles to show your expertise and experience.

If you found these tips on writing a research hypothesis useful, head over to our blog on Statistical Hypothesis Testing to learn about the top researchers, papers, and institutions in this domain.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. what is the definition of hypothesis.

According to the Oxford dictionary, a hypothesis is defined as “An idea or explanation of something that is based on a few known facts, but that has not yet been proved to be true or correct”.

2. What is an example of hypothesis?

The hypothesis is a statement that proposes a relationship between two or more variables. An example: "If we increase the number of new users who join our platform by 25%, then we will see an increase in revenue."

3. What is an example of null hypothesis?

A null hypothesis is a statement that there is no relationship between two variables. The null hypothesis is written as H0. The null hypothesis states that there is no effect. For example, if you're studying whether or not a particular type of exercise increases strength, your null hypothesis will be "there is no difference in strength between people who exercise and people who don't."

4. What are the types of research?

• Fundamental research

• Applied research

• Qualitative research

• Quantitative research

• Mixed research

• Exploratory research

• Longitudinal research

• Cross-sectional research

• Field research

• Laboratory research

• Fixed research

• Flexible research

• Action research

• Policy research

• Classification research

• Comparative research

• Causal research

• Inductive research

• Deductive research

5. How to write a hypothesis?

• Your hypothesis should be able to predict the relationship and outcome.

• Avoid wordiness by keeping it simple and brief.

• Your hypothesis should contain observable and testable outcomes.

• Your hypothesis should be relevant to the research question.

6. What are the 2 types of hypothesis?

• Null hypotheses are used to test the claim that "there is no difference between two groups of data".

• Alternative hypotheses test the claim that "there is a difference between two data groups".

7. Difference between research question and research hypothesis?

A research question is a broad, open-ended question you will try to answer through your research. A hypothesis is a statement based on prior research or theory that you expect to be true due to your study. Example - Research question: What are the factors that influence the adoption of the new technology? Research hypothesis: There is a positive relationship between age, education and income level with the adoption of the new technology.

8. What is plural for hypothesis?

The plural of hypothesis is hypotheses. Here's an example of how it would be used in a statement, "Numerous well-considered hypotheses are presented in this part, and they are supported by tables and figures that are well-illustrated."

9. What is the red queen hypothesis?

The red queen hypothesis in evolutionary biology states that species must constantly evolve to avoid extinction because if they don't, they will be outcompeted by other species that are evolving. Leigh Van Valen first proposed it in 1973; since then, it has been tested and substantiated many times.

10. Who is known as the father of null hypothesis?

The father of the null hypothesis is Sir Ronald Fisher. He published a paper in 1925 that introduced the concept of null hypothesis testing, and he was also the first to use the term itself.

11. When to reject null hypothesis?

You need to find a significant difference between your two populations to reject the null hypothesis. You can determine that by running statistical tests such as an independent sample t-test or a dependent sample t-test. You should reject the null hypothesis if the p-value is less than 0.05.

parts of a hypothesis

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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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McCombes, S. (2022, May 06). How to Write a Strong Hypothesis | Guide & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved 18 June 2024, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/research-methods/hypothesis-writing/

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Think about something strange and unexplainable in your life. Maybe you get a headache right before it rains, or maybe you think your favorite sports team wins when you wear a certain color. If you wanted to see whether these are just coincidences or scientific fact, you would form a hypothesis, then create an experiment to see whether that hypothesis is true or not.

But what is a hypothesis, anyway? If you’re not sure about what a hypothesis is--or how to test for one!--you’re in the right place. This article will teach you everything you need to know about hypotheses, including: 

  • Defining the term “hypothesis” 
  • Providing hypothesis examples 
  • Giving you tips for how to write your own hypothesis

So let’s get started!

body-picture-ask-sign

What Is a Hypothesis?

Merriam Webster defines a hypothesis as “an assumption or concession made for the sake of argument.” In other words, a hypothesis is an educated guess . Scientists make a reasonable assumption--or a hypothesis--then design an experiment to test whether it’s true or not. Keep in mind that in science, a hypothesis should be testable. You have to be able to design an experiment that tests your hypothesis in order for it to be valid. 

As you could assume from that statement, it’s easy to make a bad hypothesis. But when you’re holding an experiment, it’s even more important that your guesses be good...after all, you’re spending time (and maybe money!) to figure out more about your observation. That’s why we refer to a hypothesis as an educated guess--good hypotheses are based on existing data and research to make them as sound as possible.

Hypotheses are one part of what’s called the scientific method .  Every (good) experiment or study is based in the scientific method. The scientific method gives order and structure to experiments and ensures that interference from scientists or outside influences does not skew the results. It’s important that you understand the concepts of the scientific method before holding your own experiment. Though it may vary among scientists, the scientific method is generally made up of six steps (in order):

  • Observation
  • Asking questions
  • Forming a hypothesis
  • Analyze the data
  • Communicate your results

You’ll notice that the hypothesis comes pretty early on when conducting an experiment. That’s because experiments work best when they’re trying to answer one specific question. And you can’t conduct an experiment until you know what you’re trying to prove!

Independent and Dependent Variables 

After doing your research, you’re ready for another important step in forming your hypothesis: identifying variables. Variables are basically any factor that could influence the outcome of your experiment . Variables have to be measurable and related to the topic being studied.

There are two types of variables:  independent variables and dependent variables. I ndependent variables remain constant . For example, age is an independent variable; it will stay the same, and researchers can look at different ages to see if it has an effect on the dependent variable. 

Speaking of dependent variables... dependent variables are subject to the influence of the independent variable , meaning that they are not constant. Let’s say you want to test whether a person’s age affects how much sleep they need. In that case, the independent variable is age (like we mentioned above), and the dependent variable is how much sleep a person gets. 

Variables will be crucial in writing your hypothesis. You need to be able to identify which variable is which, as both the independent and dependent variables will be written into your hypothesis. For instance, in a study about exercise, the independent variable might be the speed at which the respondents walk for thirty minutes, and the dependent variable would be their heart rate. In your study and in your hypothesis, you’re trying to understand the relationship between the two variables.

Elements of a Good Hypothesis

The best hypotheses start by asking the right questions . For instance, if you’ve observed that the grass is greener when it rains twice a week, you could ask what kind of grass it is, what elevation it’s at, and if the grass across the street responds to rain in the same way. Any of these questions could become the backbone of experiments to test why the grass gets greener when it rains fairly frequently.

As you’re asking more questions about your first observation, make sure you’re also making more observations . If it doesn’t rain for two weeks and the grass still looks green, that’s an important observation that could influence your hypothesis. You'll continue observing all throughout your experiment, but until the hypothesis is finalized, every observation should be noted.

Finally, you should consult secondary research before writing your hypothesis . Secondary research is comprised of results found and published by other people. You can usually find this information online or at your library. Additionally, m ake sure the research you find is credible and related to your topic. If you’re studying the correlation between rain and grass growth, it would help you to research rain patterns over the past twenty years for your county, published by a local agricultural association. You should also research the types of grass common in your area, the type of grass in your lawn, and whether anyone else has conducted experiments about your hypothesis. Also be sure you’re checking the quality of your research . Research done by a middle school student about what minerals can be found in rainwater would be less useful than an article published by a local university.

body-pencil-notebook-writing

Writing Your Hypothesis

Once you’ve considered all of the factors above, you’re ready to start writing your hypothesis. Hypotheses usually take a certain form when they’re written out in a research report.

When you boil down your hypothesis statement, you are writing down your best guess and not the question at hand . This means that your statement should be written as if it is fact already, even though you are simply testing it.

The reason for this is that, after you have completed your study, you'll either accept or reject your if-then or your null hypothesis. All hypothesis testing examples should be measurable and able to be confirmed or denied. You cannot confirm a question, only a statement! 

In fact, you come up with hypothesis examples all the time! For instance, when you guess on the outcome of a basketball game, you don’t say, “Will the Miami Heat beat the Boston Celtics?” but instead, “I think the Miami Heat will beat the Boston Celtics.” You state it as if it is already true, even if it turns out you’re wrong. You do the same thing when writing your hypothesis.

Additionally, keep in mind that hypotheses can range from very specific to very broad.  These hypotheses can be specific, but if your hypothesis testing examples involve a broad range of causes and effects, your hypothesis can also be broad.  

body-hand-number-two

The Two Types of Hypotheses

Now that you understand what goes into a hypothesis, it’s time to look more closely at the two most common types of hypothesis: the if-then hypothesis and the null hypothesis.

#1: If-Then Hypotheses

First of all, if-then hypotheses typically follow this formula:

If ____ happens, then ____ will happen.

The goal of this type of hypothesis is to test the causal relationship between the independent and dependent variable. It’s fairly simple, and each hypothesis can vary in how detailed it can be. We create if-then hypotheses all the time with our daily predictions. Here are some examples of hypotheses that use an if-then structure from daily life: 

  • If I get enough sleep, I’ll be able to get more work done tomorrow.
  • If the bus is on time, I can make it to my friend’s birthday party. 
  • If I study every night this week, I’ll get a better grade on my exam. 

In each of these situations, you’re making a guess on how an independent variable (sleep, time, or studying) will affect a dependent variable (the amount of work you can do, making it to a party on time, or getting better grades). 

You may still be asking, “What is an example of a hypothesis used in scientific research?” Take one of the hypothesis examples from a real-world study on whether using technology before bed affects children’s sleep patterns. The hypothesis read s:

“We hypothesized that increased hours of tablet- and phone-based screen time at bedtime would be inversely correlated with sleep quality and child attention.”

It might not look like it, but this is an if-then statement. The researchers basically said, “If children have more screen usage at bedtime, then their quality of sleep and attention will be worse.” The sleep quality and attention are the dependent variables and the screen usage is the independent variable. (Usually, the independent variable comes after the “if” and the dependent variable comes after the “then,” as it is the independent variable that affects the dependent variable.) This is an excellent example of how flexible hypothesis statements can be, as long as the general idea of “if-then” and the independent and dependent variables are present.

#2: Null Hypotheses

Your if-then hypothesis is not the only one needed to complete a successful experiment, however. You also need a null hypothesis to test it against. In its most basic form, the null hypothesis is the opposite of your if-then hypothesis . When you write your null hypothesis, you are writing a hypothesis that suggests that your guess is not true, and that the independent and dependent variables have no relationship .

One null hypothesis for the cell phone and sleep study from the last section might say: 

“If children have more screen usage at bedtime, their quality of sleep and attention will not be worse.” 

In this case, this is a null hypothesis because it’s asking the opposite of the original thesis! 

Conversely, if your if-then hypothesis suggests that your two variables have no relationship, then your null hypothesis would suggest that there is one. So, pretend that there is a study that is asking the question, “Does the amount of followers on Instagram influence how long people spend on the app?” The independent variable is the amount of followers, and the dependent variable is the time spent. But if you, as the researcher, don’t think there is a relationship between the number of followers and time spent, you might write an if-then hypothesis that reads:

“If people have many followers on Instagram, they will not spend more time on the app than people who have less.”

In this case, the if-then suggests there isn’t a relationship between the variables. In that case, one of the null hypothesis examples might say:

“If people have many followers on Instagram, they will spend more time on the app than people who have less.”

You then test both the if-then and the null hypothesis to gauge if there is a relationship between the variables, and if so, how much of a relationship. 

feature_tips

4 Tips to Write the Best Hypothesis

If you’re going to take the time to hold an experiment, whether in school or by yourself, you’re also going to want to take the time to make sure your hypothesis is a good one. The best hypotheses have four major elements in common: plausibility, defined concepts, observability, and general explanation.

#1: Plausibility

At first glance, this quality of a hypothesis might seem obvious. When your hypothesis is plausible, that means it’s possible given what we know about science and general common sense. However, improbable hypotheses are more common than you might think. 

Imagine you’re studying weight gain and television watching habits. If you hypothesize that people who watch more than  twenty hours of television a week will gain two hundred pounds or more over the course of a year, this might be improbable (though it’s potentially possible). Consequently, c ommon sense can tell us the results of the study before the study even begins.

Improbable hypotheses generally go against  science, as well. Take this hypothesis example: 

“If a person smokes one cigarette a day, then they will have lungs just as healthy as the average person’s.” 

This hypothesis is obviously untrue, as studies have shown again and again that cigarettes negatively affect lung health. You must be careful that your hypotheses do not reflect your own personal opinion more than they do scientifically-supported findings. This plausibility points to the necessity of research before the hypothesis is written to make sure that your hypothesis has not already been disproven.

#2: Defined Concepts

The more advanced you are in your studies, the more likely that the terms you’re using in your hypothesis are specific to a limited set of knowledge. One of the hypothesis testing examples might include the readability of printed text in newspapers, where you might use words like “kerning” and “x-height.” Unless your readers have a background in graphic design, it’s likely that they won’t know what you mean by these terms. Thus, it’s important to either write what they mean in the hypothesis itself or in the report before the hypothesis.

Here’s what we mean. Which of the following sentences makes more sense to the common person?

If the kerning is greater than average, more words will be read per minute.

If the space between letters is greater than average, more words will be read per minute.

For people reading your report that are not experts in typography, simply adding a few more words will be helpful in clarifying exactly what the experiment is all about. It’s always a good idea to make your research and findings as accessible as possible. 

body-blue-eye

Good hypotheses ensure that you can observe the results. 

#3: Observability

In order to measure the truth or falsity of your hypothesis, you must be able to see your variables and the way they interact. For instance, if your hypothesis is that the flight patterns of satellites affect the strength of certain television signals, yet you don’t have a telescope to view the satellites or a television to monitor the signal strength, you cannot properly observe your hypothesis and thus cannot continue your study.

Some variables may seem easy to observe, but if you do not have a system of measurement in place, you cannot observe your hypothesis properly. Here’s an example: if you’re experimenting on the effect of healthy food on overall happiness, but you don’t have a way to monitor and measure what “overall happiness” means, your results will not reflect the truth. Monitoring how often someone smiles for a whole day is not reasonably observable, but having the participants state how happy they feel on a scale of one to ten is more observable. 

In writing your hypothesis, always keep in mind how you'll execute the experiment.

#4: Generalizability 

Perhaps you’d like to study what color your best friend wears the most often by observing and documenting the colors she wears each day of the week. This might be fun information for her and you to know, but beyond you two, there aren’t many people who could benefit from this experiment. When you start an experiment, you should note how generalizable your findings may be if they are confirmed. Generalizability is basically how common a particular phenomenon is to other people’s everyday life.

Let’s say you’re asking a question about the health benefits of eating an apple for one day only, you need to realize that the experiment may be too specific to be helpful. It does not help to explain a phenomenon that many people experience. If you find yourself with too specific of a hypothesis, go back to asking the big question: what is it that you want to know, and what do you think will happen between your two variables?

body-experiment-chemistry

Hypothesis Testing Examples

We know it can be hard to write a good hypothesis unless you’ve seen some good hypothesis examples. We’ve included four hypothesis examples based on some made-up experiments. Use these as templates or launch pads for coming up with your own hypotheses.

Experiment #1: Students Studying Outside (Writing a Hypothesis)

You are a student at PrepScholar University. When you walk around campus, you notice that, when the temperature is above 60 degrees, more students study in the quad. You want to know when your fellow students are more likely to study outside. With this information, how do you make the best hypothesis possible?

You must remember to make additional observations and do secondary research before writing your hypothesis. In doing so, you notice that no one studies outside when it’s 75 degrees and raining, so this should be included in your experiment. Also, studies done on the topic beforehand suggested that students are more likely to study in temperatures less than 85 degrees. With this in mind, you feel confident that you can identify your variables and write your hypotheses:

If-then: “If the temperature in Fahrenheit is less than 60 degrees, significantly fewer students will study outside.”

Null: “If the temperature in Fahrenheit is less than 60 degrees, the same number of students will study outside as when it is more than 60 degrees.”

These hypotheses are plausible, as the temperatures are reasonably within the bounds of what is possible. The number of people in the quad is also easily observable. It is also not a phenomenon specific to only one person or at one time, but instead can explain a phenomenon for a broader group of people.

To complete this experiment, you pick the month of October to observe the quad. Every day (except on the days where it’s raining)from 3 to 4 PM, when most classes have released for the day, you observe how many people are on the quad. You measure how many people come  and how many leave. You also write down the temperature on the hour. 

After writing down all of your observations and putting them on a graph, you find that the most students study on the quad when it is 70 degrees outside, and that the number of students drops a lot once the temperature reaches 60 degrees or below. In this case, your research report would state that you accept or “failed to reject” your first hypothesis with your findings.

Experiment #2: The Cupcake Store (Forming a Simple Experiment)

Let’s say that you work at a bakery. You specialize in cupcakes, and you make only two colors of frosting: yellow and purple. You want to know what kind of customers are more likely to buy what kind of cupcake, so you set up an experiment. Your independent variable is the customer’s gender, and the dependent variable is the color of the frosting. What is an example of a hypothesis that might answer the question of this study?

Here’s what your hypotheses might look like: 

If-then: “If customers’ gender is female, then they will buy more yellow cupcakes than purple cupcakes.”

Null: “If customers’ gender is female, then they will be just as likely to buy purple cupcakes as yellow cupcakes.”

This is a pretty simple experiment! It passes the test of plausibility (there could easily be a difference), defined concepts (there’s nothing complicated about cupcakes!), observability (both color and gender can be easily observed), and general explanation ( this would potentially help you make better business decisions ).

body-bird-feeder

Experiment #3: Backyard Bird Feeders (Integrating Multiple Variables and Rejecting the If-Then Hypothesis)

While watching your backyard bird feeder, you realized that different birds come on the days when you change the types of seeds. You decide that you want to see more cardinals in your backyard, so you decide to see what type of food they like the best and set up an experiment. 

However, one morning, you notice that, while some cardinals are present, blue jays are eating out of your backyard feeder filled with millet. You decide that, of all of the other birds, you would like to see the blue jays the least. This means you'll have more than one variable in your hypothesis. Your new hypotheses might look like this: 

If-then: “If sunflower seeds are placed in the bird feeders, then more cardinals will come than blue jays. If millet is placed in the bird feeders, then more blue jays will come than cardinals.”

Null: “If either sunflower seeds or millet are placed in the bird, equal numbers of cardinals and blue jays will come.”

Through simple observation, you actually find that cardinals come as often as blue jays when sunflower seeds or millet is in the bird feeder. In this case, you would reject your “if-then” hypothesis and “fail to reject” your null hypothesis . You cannot accept your first hypothesis, because it’s clearly not true. Instead you found that there was actually no relation between your different variables. Consequently, you would need to run more experiments with different variables to see if the new variables impact the results.

Experiment #4: In-Class Survey (Including an Alternative Hypothesis)

You’re about to give a speech in one of your classes about the importance of paying attention. You want to take this opportunity to test a hypothesis you’ve had for a while: 

If-then: If students sit in the first two rows of the classroom, then they will listen better than students who do not.

Null: If students sit in the first two rows of the classroom, then they will not listen better or worse than students who do not.

You give your speech and then ask your teacher if you can hand out a short survey to the class. On the survey, you’ve included questions about some of the topics you talked about. When you get back the results, you’re surprised to see that not only do the students in the first two rows not pay better attention, but they also scored worse than students in other parts of the classroom! Here, both your if-then and your null hypotheses are not representative of your findings. What do you do?

This is when you reject both your if-then and null hypotheses and instead create an alternative hypothesis . This type of hypothesis is used in the rare circumstance that neither of your hypotheses is able to capture your findings . Now you can use what you’ve learned to draft new hypotheses and test again! 

Key Takeaways: Hypothesis Writing

The more comfortable you become with writing hypotheses, the better they will become. The structure of hypotheses is flexible and may need to be changed depending on what topic you are studying. The most important thing to remember is the purpose of your hypothesis and the difference between the if-then and the null . From there, in forming your hypothesis, you should constantly be asking questions, making observations, doing secondary research, and considering your variables. After you have written your hypothesis, be sure to edit it so that it is plausible, clearly defined, observable, and helpful in explaining a general phenomenon.

Writing a hypothesis is something that everyone, from elementary school children competing in a science fair to professional scientists in a lab, needs to know how to do. Hypotheses are vital in experiments and in properly executing the scientific method . When done correctly, hypotheses will set up your studies for success and help you to understand the world a little better, one experiment at a time.

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What’s Next?

If you’re studying for the science portion of the ACT, there’s definitely a lot you need to know. We’ve got the tools to help, though! Start by checking out our ultimate study guide for the ACT Science subject test. Once you read through that, be sure to download our recommended ACT Science practice tests , since they’re one of the most foolproof ways to improve your score. (And don’t forget to check out our expert guide book , too.)

If you love science and want to major in a scientific field, you should start preparing in high school . Here are the science classes you should take to set yourself up for success.

If you’re trying to think of science experiments you can do for class (or for a science fair!), here’s a list of 37 awesome science experiments you can do at home

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Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.

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Biology archive

Course: biology archive   >   unit 1, the scientific method.

  • Controlled experiments
  • The scientific method and experimental design

parts of a hypothesis

Introduction

  • Make an observation.
  • Ask a question.
  • Form a hypothesis , or testable explanation.
  • Make a prediction based on the hypothesis.
  • Test the prediction.
  • Iterate: use the results to make new hypotheses or predictions.

Scientific method example: Failure to toast

1. make an observation., 2. ask a question., 3. propose a hypothesis., 4. make predictions., 5. test the predictions..

  • If the toaster does toast, then the hypothesis is supported—likely correct.
  • If the toaster doesn't toast, then the hypothesis is not supported—likely wrong.

Logical possibility

Practical possibility, building a body of evidence, 6. iterate..

  • If the hypothesis was supported, we might do additional tests to confirm it, or revise it to be more specific. For instance, we might investigate why the outlet is broken.
  • If the hypothesis was not supported, we would come up with a new hypothesis. For instance, the next hypothesis might be that there's a broken wire in the toaster.

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The 3 Required Parts of a Hypothesis: Understanding the Basics

  • by Brian Thomas
  • October 9, 2023

Have you ever wondered what it takes to create a hypothesis? Whether you’re a student delving into scientific research or just curious about the world around you, understanding the key components of a hypothesis is essential. In this blog post, we’ll explore the three required parts of a hypothesis, breaking down their importance and providing real-world examples along the way.

A hypothesis serves as the foundation of any scientific investigation , allowing researchers to form predictions and test their ideas. But what are these three essential elements that make up a hypothesis? How do you develop a hypothesis that is effective and meaningful? Join us as we unravel the mysteries of hypothesis writing and explore the stages of hypothesis testing. By the end of this post, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to craft your own hypotheses and embark on exciting scientific endeavors. So let’s dive in!

What Are the 3 Essential Components of a Hypothesis?

When it comes to hypotheses, the three key components are like the three musketeers of scientific inquiry. Each element plays an important role in shaping the hypothesis and guiding the research process. So, let’s dive into the three essential parts of a hypothesis and unravel their roles, shall we?

The Sneaky Subject: “If”

The first amigo of our hypothesis trio is the sneaky subject “If.” This little word sets the stage for your hypothesis, introducing the condition or factor you are exploring in your research. It’s like the Sherlock Holmes of hypotheses, searching for clues and connections. Without the “If,” our hypothesis would be as lost as a penguin in the Sahara.

The Clever Connection: “Then”

Ah, the clever companion “Then” joins the hypothesis party! This element helps you establish the expected outcome based on your “If” condition. It’s the bridge that connects your hypothesis to the results you hope to find. Think of it as the conductor of a symphony, orchestrating the relationship between the “If” and the “Then” in harmonious scientific fashion.

The Mighty Explanation: “Because”

Last but certainly not least, we have the mighty explanation “Because.” This component adds depth and substance to your hypothesis by providing a rationale or reason for your expected outcome. It’s like the wise old sage who imparts wisdom and knowledge. With the “Because” in place, your hypothesis transforms from a mere statement into a well-grounded prediction.

Putting It All Together

Now that we’ve met the three essential parts of a hypothesis, let’s see how they work together in a hypothetical example:

If eating chocolate leads to increased happiness, then individuals who consume chocolate daily because they have lower stress levels will report higher levels of satisfaction and well-being.

In this example, the “If” identifies the condition being explored (eating chocolate), the “Then” predicts the expected outcome (higher levels of satisfaction and well-being), and the “Because” provides the rationale (lower stress levels). It’s like a mini science equation, where each element contributes to the overall hypothesis.

Hypotheses are like the backbone of scientific research, guiding the direction and purpose of investigations. By understanding the three essential components – the sneaky “If,” clever “Then,” and mighty “Because” – you’re equipped to construct robust hypotheses that withstand the scrutiny of the scientific world. So, go forth and let your hypotheses shine like beacons of knowledge in the vast sea of research!

Remember, the next time you encounter a hypothesis, you’ll know its secret formula: “If” + “Then” + “Because” = scientific awesomeness!

FAQ: What are the 3 Required Parts of a Hypothesis?

Welcome to our comprehensive FAQ-style guide on hypotheses! If you’ve ever wondered about the key components of a hypothesis or how to develop one for your research paper, you’ve come to the right place. In this FAQ, we’ll address common questions and provide you with the information you need in a friendly, engaging, and even humorous way. So, grab a cup of coffee and let’s dive in!

What are the Requirements for a Hypothesis

A hypothesis is an essential part of the scientific method, serving as a description of the expected outcome of a research study. It must meet a few requirements to be considered valid:

Clear and Testable : A hypothesis should be formulated in a way that allows it to be empirically tested or proved wrong. Fuzzy or ambiguous hypotheses won’t hold up under scrutiny, so precision is key.

Based on Existing Knowledge : Your hypothesis should be grounded in previous research or observations. It should build upon what is already known in the field, helping to advance scientific understanding.

Specific and Measurable : A good hypothesis needs to be specific and measurable, allowing for objective evaluation. Vague statements won’t cut it – scientists want something concrete to sink their teeth into.

What Makes a Valid Hypothesis? 3 Things!

A valid hypothesis possesses three crucial characteristics, which we’ll explore in detail:

Dependent and Independent Variables : To create a valid hypothesis, you need to identify the dependent and independent variables. The dependent variable is the outcome you’re investigating, while the independent variable is the one manipulated to measure its effect on the dependent variable. This relationship forms the core of your hypothesis.

Directional Statement : Your hypothesis should include a directional statement that predicts the expected outcome of your research. Will the independent variable have a positive, negative, or no effect on the dependent variable? Don’t be shy – make a bold prediction!

Testability : A hypothesis must be testable through experiments or observations. This means you need to design a method to gather data and analyze whether it supports or refutes your hypothesis. It’s all about putting your hypothesis to the test and embracing scientific scrutiny.

What is a Hypothesis Example

Let’s put theory into practice with an example: – Hypothesis: “Increasing the amount of sunlight exposure will lead to faster plant growth.” – In this example, the dependent variable is plant growth, while the independent variable is the amount of sunlight exposure. The hypothesis is clear, testable, and includes a directional statement. Now go out there and test it with your green thumbs!

What are the Main Characteristics of a Hypothesis

A good hypothesis possesses several key characteristics. Take a look at these essential traits:

Precise : A hypothesis should be clear and unambiguous to avoid misinterpretation or confusion. Leave no room for doubt!

Falsifiable : For a hypothesis to be valid, it must be capable of being disproven or proven wrong. It should be open to testing and potential refutation.

Relevant : It’s important for a hypothesis to be relevant to the research question or problem at hand. It should address a specific aspect and contribute to the existing body of knowledge.

Logical : Logical coherence is crucial in a hypothesis. There should be a clear connection between the proposed relationship of variables and any supporting evidence or rationale.

What’s a Research Hypothesis

A research hypothesis is a statement formulated to predict a possible outcome of a research study. It serves as a proposed explanation or prediction based on existing knowledge and sets the groundwork for further investigation. Research hypotheses help guide scientific research and provide a clear focus for researchers to explore.

How Do You Write a Hypothesis for a Research Paper

When writing a hypothesis for a research paper, remember these steps:

Identify the Variables : Determine the dependent and independent variables in your study. The dependent variable is the outcome you’re interested in, while the independent variable is the one you’re manipulating.

Formulate a Question : Based on your research and variables, frame a clear and specific research question that links the variables together.

Craft a Statement : Turn your research question into a statement that predicts the relationship between the variables. Make it precise, testable, and include a directional statement.

Revise and Refine : Review your hypothesis for clarity, testability, and logical coherence. Refine it until it accurately represents your research expectations.

Research papers thrive on solid hypotheses, so take the time to craft yours with care!

What are Three Types of Scientific Studies

Scientific studies come in different flavors, each serving a unique purpose:

Observational Studies : These studies involve observing and analyzing existing data or phenomena without manipulating variables. They help identify associations or relationships but can’t establish causation.

Experimental Studies : Experimental studies involve manipulating variables to observe their effects on the dependent variable. These studies allow for causal relationships to be established.

Descriptive Studies : Descriptive studies seek to describe characteristics or behaviors within a population. They often involve surveys, interviews, or observations to collect data.

Consider the nature of your research to determine which type of study is most appropriate for your hypothesis.

How Do You Develop a Research Hypothesis

Developing a research hypothesis requires careful consideration and planning. Follow these steps:

Review Existing Literature : Familiarize yourself with the relevant research already conducted in your field. What questions remain unanswered? What potential gaps can you address?

Identify Variables : Determine the key variables involved in your study. Specify the independent and dependent variables that establish the relationship to be tested.

Formulate a Hypothesis : Create a clear and testable hypothesis that predicts the expected outcome. Make sure it aligns with previous research, is specific, and includes a directional statement.

Refine and Iterate : Continuously refine and iterate your hypothesis as you gather more information and insights. Adapt it based on feedback, new findings, or emerging theories.

Developing a research hypothesis is an iterative process that requires thoughtfulness and adaptability. Embrace the journey!

What are the Needs of Hypothesis in Research

Hypotheses play a vital role in the research process. Here are the key needs they fulfill:

Focus : Hypotheses provide a clear focus for research efforts by highlighting the expected outcome and guiding the investigation.

Testability : Hypotheses allow researchers to design experiments and collect data to test their predictions. This allows for objective evaluation and validation.

Advancement of Knowledge : By formulating hypotheses, researchers contribute to the existing body of knowledge in their field. They add new insights and build upon previous work.

Logic and Coherence : Hypotheses drive research by providing a logical framework and rationale for conducting the study. They ensure that research efforts are purposeful and well-grounded.

What are Types of Hypothesis

Hypotheses can fall into different categories based on their nature and purpose. Here are a few common types:

Null Hypothesis : The null hypothesis states that there is no significant relationship between the variables under investigation. Researchers aim to reject this hypothesis to support their alternative hypothesis.

Alternative Hypothesis : The alternative hypothesis reflects the researcher’s prediction of a specific relationship between variables. It’s the opposite of the null hypothesis and what researchers hope to support.

Directional Hypothesis : A directional hypothesis predicts the direction of the relationship between variables. It specifies whether the effect will be positive or negative, leaving no room for ambiguity.

Non-Directional Hypothesis : In contrast, a non-directional hypothesis simply predicts that a relationship exists between variables, without specifying the direction.

Consider the specific context of your research to determine the most appropriate type of hypothesis to formulate.

What are the Stages of Hypothesis

The hypothesis goes through several stages in the research process:

Formulation : In this initial stage, the researcher identifies the research question, variables, and constructs a hypothesis to guide the investigation.

Design : The hypothesis helps determine the research design and methodology. It guides the selection of variables, sample size, data collection methods, and statistical analyses.

Testing : During this stage, the researcher collects and analyzes data to evaluate the hypothesis. Statistical tests are often used to determine if the data supports or refutes the hypothesis.

Conclusion : Based on the analysis of the data, the researcher draws conclusions about the hypothesis. The hypothesis is either supported or rejected, leading to further research or new questions.

Remember, the hypothesis is not a one-time thing. It evolves throughout the research process, integrating new knowledge and findings.

What is the Process of Hypothesis Testing

Hypothesis testing involves a systematic process to assess the validity of a hypothesis. Here’s a simplified overview:

State the Hypotheses : Clearly articulate the null and alternative hypotheses based on your research question and expected outcomes.

Collect Data : Gather relevant data through surveys, observations, or experiments, depending on your research design.

Analyze Data : Apply appropriate statistical analyses to your data, comparing it to the expected outcomes.

Determine Significance : Assess the statistical significance of your findings. If the p-value is below a predetermined threshold (often 0.05), you can reject the null hypothesis and support the alternative hypothesis.

Draw Conclusions : Based on the analysis, draw conclusions regarding the hypothesis and its implications for your research.

Remember, hypothesis testing is a crucial step in the scientific process, providing evidence to support or refute theories.

How Many Steps are Required to Conduct a Hypothesis Testing

Hypothesis testing typically involves the following four steps:

Formulate Hypotheses : Articulate the null and alternative hypotheses that reflect your research question and predicted outcomes accurately.

Choose a Significance Level : Determine the desired level of significance (usually 0.05), representing the probability of obtaining results as extreme as those observed, assuming the null hypothesis is true.

Collect and Analyze Data : Gather data through experiments or observations, then analyze it using appropriate statistical tests, such as t-tests or chi-square tests.

Interpret Results : Evaluate the results and determine whether the data supports or refutes the null hypothesis. Consider the p-value, confidence intervals, and effect size when interpreting results.

Don’t let these steps intimidate you – they are the building blocks of scientific inquiry and help ensure robust conclusions.

What are the Key Characteristics of a Good Hypothesis

A good hypothesis possesses several key characteristics worth mentioning:

Testability : A hypothesis needs to be testable through empirical evidence, allowing researchers to gather data and substantiate it scientifically.

Specificity : A good hypothesis is precise and specific, leaving no room for ambiguity or misinterpretation. It focuses on a well-defined relationship between variables.

Relevance : A hypothesis should address a relevant research question or problem, contributing to the existing knowledge base in the field.

Logical Coherence : There should be a logical connection between the proposed relationship and any supporting evidence or theoretical framework.

Keep these characteristics in mind when crafting your hypothesis, and you’ll be well on your way to conducting sound research.

What are the 4 Steps of Hypothesis Testing

State the Hypotheses : Clearly articulate the null and alternative hypotheses, representing the current understanding and the researcher’s prediction, respectively.

Determine the Test Statistic : Select an appropriate test statistic based on the research question and type of data you’re analyzing.

Calculate the p-value : Calculate the p-value, which represents the probability of obtaining results as extreme as those observed, assuming the null hypothesis is true.

Conclusion : Compare the calculated p-value to the predefined significance level to determine whether to reject or fail to reject the null hypothesis. Make sure to interpret the results in the context of your research question.

These steps form the backbone of hypothesis testing, allowing you to draw meaningful conclusions based on statistical evidence.

Congratulations on making it to the end of our FAQ on the three required parts of a hypothesis! We’ve covered everything from the requirements of a hypothesis to types of hypotheses and even the stages of hypothesis testing. Armed with this knowledge, you’re ready to tackle your research projects with confidence. Remember, hypotheses are the backbone of scientific inquiry, so take your time to craft them, test them, and embrace the exciting process of discovery. Happy researching!

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice. Always consult with a qualified researcher before conducting any experiments or research studies.

  • hypothesis testing
  • independent variables
  • mere statement
  • null hypothesis
  • observations
  • research process
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  • scientific research

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Brian Thomas

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  • Scientific Methods

What is Hypothesis?

We have heard of many hypotheses which have led to great inventions in science. Assumptions that are made on the basis of some evidence are known as hypotheses. In this article, let us learn in detail about the hypothesis and the type of hypothesis with examples.

A hypothesis is an assumption that is made based on some evidence. This is the initial point of any investigation that translates the research questions into predictions. It includes components like variables, population and the relation between the variables. A research hypothesis is a hypothesis that is used to test the relationship between two or more variables.

Characteristics of Hypothesis

Following are the characteristics of the hypothesis:

  • The hypothesis should be clear and precise to consider it to be reliable.
  • If the hypothesis is a relational hypothesis, then it should be stating the relationship between variables.
  • The hypothesis must be specific and should have scope for conducting more tests.
  • The way of explanation of the hypothesis must be very simple and it should also be understood that the simplicity of the hypothesis is not related to its significance.

Sources of Hypothesis

Following are the sources of hypothesis:

  • The resemblance between the phenomenon.
  • Observations from past studies, present-day experiences and from the competitors.
  • Scientific theories.
  • General patterns that influence the thinking process of people.

Types of Hypothesis

There are six forms of hypothesis and they are:

  • Simple hypothesis
  • Complex hypothesis
  • Directional hypothesis
  • Non-directional hypothesis
  • Null hypothesis
  • Associative and casual hypothesis

Simple Hypothesis

It shows a relationship between one dependent variable and a single independent variable. For example – If you eat more vegetables, you will lose weight faster. Here, eating more vegetables is an independent variable, while losing weight is the dependent variable.

Complex Hypothesis

It shows the relationship between two or more dependent variables and two or more independent variables. Eating more vegetables and fruits leads to weight loss, glowing skin, and reduces the risk of many diseases such as heart disease.

Directional Hypothesis

It shows how a researcher is intellectual and committed to a particular outcome. The relationship between the variables can also predict its nature. For example- children aged four years eating proper food over a five-year period are having higher IQ levels than children not having a proper meal. This shows the effect and direction of the effect.

Non-directional Hypothesis

It is used when there is no theory involved. It is a statement that a relationship exists between two variables, without predicting the exact nature (direction) of the relationship.

Null Hypothesis

It provides a statement which is contrary to the hypothesis. It’s a negative statement, and there is no relationship between independent and dependent variables. The symbol is denoted by “H O ”.

Associative and Causal Hypothesis

Associative hypothesis occurs when there is a change in one variable resulting in a change in the other variable. Whereas, the causal hypothesis proposes a cause and effect interaction between two or more variables.

Examples of Hypothesis

Following are the examples of hypotheses based on their types:

  • Consumption of sugary drinks every day leads to obesity is an example of a simple hypothesis.
  • All lilies have the same number of petals is an example of a null hypothesis.
  • If a person gets 7 hours of sleep, then he will feel less fatigue than if he sleeps less. It is an example of a directional hypothesis.

Functions of Hypothesis

Following are the functions performed by the hypothesis:

  • Hypothesis helps in making an observation and experiments possible.
  • It becomes the start point for the investigation.
  • Hypothesis helps in verifying the observations.
  • It helps in directing the inquiries in the right direction.

How will Hypothesis help in the Scientific Method?

Researchers use hypotheses to put down their thoughts directing how the experiment would take place. Following are the steps that are involved in the scientific method:

  • Formation of question
  • Doing background research
  • Creation of hypothesis
  • Designing an experiment
  • Collection of data
  • Result analysis
  • Summarizing the experiment
  • Communicating the results

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

What is hypothesis.

A hypothesis is an assumption made based on some evidence.

Give an example of simple hypothesis?

What are the types of hypothesis.

Types of hypothesis are:

  • Associative and Casual hypothesis

State true or false: Hypothesis is the initial point of any investigation that translates the research questions into a prediction.

Define complex hypothesis..

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

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  • Education Resources Information Center - Understanding Hypotheses, Predictions, Laws, and Theories
  • Simply Psychology - Research Hypothesis: Definition, Types, & Examples
  • Cornell University - The Learning Strategies Center - Hypothesis
  • Washington State University - Developing a Hypothesis
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  • BCCampus Publishing - Research Methods for the Social Sciences: An Introduction - Hypotheses

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hypothesis , something supposed or taken for granted, with the object of following out its consequences (Greek hypothesis , “a putting under,” the Latin equivalent being suppositio ).

Discussion with Kara Rogers of how the scientific model is used to test a hypothesis or represent a theory

In planning a course of action, one may consider various alternatives , working out each in detail. Although the word hypothesis is not typically used in this case, the procedure is virtually the same as that of an investigator of crime considering various suspects. Different methods may be used for deciding what the various alternatives may be, but what is fundamental is the consideration of a supposal as if it were true, without actually accepting it as true. One of the earliest uses of the word in this sense was in geometry . It is described by Plato in the Meno .

The most important modern use of a hypothesis is in relation to scientific investigation . A scientist is not merely concerned to accumulate such facts as can be discovered by observation: linkages must be discovered to connect those facts. An initial puzzle or problem provides the impetus , but clues must be used to ascertain which facts will help yield a solution. The best guide is a tentative hypothesis, which fits within the existing body of doctrine. It is so framed that, with its help, deductions can be made that under certain factual conditions (“initial conditions”) certain other facts would be found if the hypothesis were correct.

The concepts involved in the hypothesis need not themselves refer to observable objects. However, the initial conditions should be able to be observed or to be produced experimentally, and the deduced facts should be able to be observed. William Harvey ’s research on circulation in animals demonstrates how greatly experimental observation can be helped by a fruitful hypothesis. While a hypothesis can be partially confirmed by showing that what is deduced from it with certain initial conditions is actually found under those conditions, it cannot be completely proved in this way. What would have to be shown is that no other hypothesis would serve. Hence, in assessing the soundness of a hypothesis, stress is laid on the range and variety of facts that can be brought under its scope. Again, it is important that it should be capable of being linked systematically with hypotheses which have been found fertile in other fields.

If the predictions derived from the hypothesis are not found to be true, the hypothesis may have to be given up or modified. The fault may lie, however, in some other principle forming part of the body of accepted doctrine which has been utilized in deducing consequences from the hypothesis. It may also lie in the fact that other conditions, hitherto unobserved, are present beside the initial conditions, affecting the result. Thus the hypothesis may be kept, pending further examination of facts or some remodeling of principles. A good illustration of this is to be found in the history of the corpuscular and the undulatory hypotheses about light .

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Make better product decisions.

The 5 Components of a Good Hypothesis

November 12, 2014 by Teresa Torres

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Update: I’ve since revised this hypothesis format. You can find the most current version in this article:

  • How to Improve Your Experiment Design (And Build Trust in Your Product Experiments)

“My hypothesis is …”

These words are becoming more common everyday. Product teams are starting to talk like scientists. Are you?

The internet industry is going through a mindset shift. Instead of assuming we have all the right answers, we are starting to acknowledge that building products is hard. We are accepting the reality that our ideas are going to fail more often than they are going to succeed.

Rather than waiting to find out which ideas are which after engineers build them, smart product teams are starting to integrate experimentation into their product discovery process. They are asking themselves, how can we test this idea before we invest in it?

This process starts with formulating a good hypothesis.

These Are Not the Hypotheses You Are Looking For

When we are new to hypothesis testing, we tend to start with hypotheses like these:

  • Fixing the hard-to-use comment form will increase user engagement.
  • A redesign will improve site usability.
  • Reducing prices will make customers happy.

There’s only one problem. These aren’t testable hypotheses. They aren’t specific enough.

A good hypothesis can be clearly refuted or supported by an experiment. – Tweet This

To make sure that your hypotheses can be supported or refuted by an experiment, you will want to include each of these elements:

  • the change that you are testing
  • what impact we expect the change to have
  • who you expect it to impact
  • by how much
  • after how long

The Change:  This is the change that you are introducing to your product. You are testing a new design, you are adding new copy to a landing page, or you are rolling out a new feature.

Be sure to get specific. Fixing a hard-to-use comment form is not specific enough. How will you fix it? Some solutions might work. Others might not. Each is a hypothesis in its own right.

Design changes can be particularly challenging. Your hypothesis should cover a specific design not the idea of a redesign.

In other words, use this:

  • This specific design will increase conversions.
  • Redesigning the landing page will increase conversions.

The former can be supported or refuted by an experiment. The latter can encompass dozens of design solutions, where some might work and others might not.

The Expected Impact:  The expected impact should clearly define what you expect to see as a result of making the change.

How will you know if your change is successful? Will it reduce response times, increase conversions, or grow your audience?

The expected impact needs to be specific and measurable. – Tweet This

You might hypothesize that your new design will increase usability. This isn’t specific enough.

You need to define how you will measure an increase in usability. Will it reduce the time to complete some action? Will it increase customer satisfaction? Will it reduce bounce rates?

There are dozens of ways that you might measure an increase in usability. In order for this to be a testable hypothesis, you need to define which metric you expect to be affected by this change.

Who Will Be Impacted: The third component of a good hypothesis is who will be impacted by this change. Too often, we assume everyone. But this is rarely the case.

I was recently working with a product manager who was testing a sign up form popup upon exiting a page.

I’m sure you’ve seen these before. You are reading a blog post and just as you are about to navigate away, you get a popup that asks, “Would you like to subscribe to our newsletter?”

She A/B tested this change by showing it to half of her population, leaving the rest as her control group. But there was a problem.

Some of her visitors were already subscribers. They don’t need to subscribe again. For this population, the answer to this popup will always be no.

Rather than testing with her whole population, she should be testing with just the people who are not currently subscribers.

This isn’t easy to do. And it might not sound like it’s worth the effort, but it’s the only way to get good results.

Suppose she has 100 visitors. Fifty see the popup and fifty don’t. If 45 of the people who see the popup are already subscribers and as a result they all say no, and of the five remaining visitors only 1 says yes, it’s going to look like her conversion rate is 1 out of 50, or 2%. However, if she limits her test to just the people who haven’t subscribed, her conversion rate is 1 out of 5, or 20%. This is a huge difference.

Who you test with is often the most important factor for getting clean results. – Tweet This

By how much: The fourth component builds on the expected impact. You need to define how much of an impact you expect your change to have.

For example, if you are hypothesizing that your change will increase conversion rates, then you need to estimate by how much, as in the change will increase conversion rate from x% to y%, where x is your current conversion rate and y is your expected conversion rate after making the change.

This can be hard to do and is often a guess. However, you still want to do it. It serves two purposes.

First, it helps you draw a line in the sand. This number should determine in black and white terms whether or not your hypothesis passes or fails and should dictate how you act on the results.

Suppose you hypothesize that the change will improve conversion rates by 10%, then if your change results in a 9% increase, your hypothesis fails.

This might seem extreme, but it’s a critical step in making sure that you don’t succumb to your own biases down the road.

It’s very easy after the fact to determine that 9% is good enough. Or that 2% is good enough. Or that -2% is okay, because you like the change. Without a line in the sand, you are setting yourself up to ignore your data.

The second reason why you need to define by how much is so that you can calculate for how long to run your test.

After how long:  Too many teams run their tests for an arbitrary amount of time or stop the results when one version is winning.

This is a problem. It opens you up to false positives and releasing changes that don’t actually have an impact.

If you hypothesize the expected impact ahead of time than you can use a duration calculator to determine for how long to run the test.

Finally, you want to add the duration of the test to your hypothesis. This will help to ensure that everyone knows that your results aren’t valid until the duration has passed.

If your traffic is sporadic, “how long” doesn’t have to be defined in time. It can also be defined in page views or sign ups or after a specific number of any event.

Putting It All Together

Use the following examples as templates for your own hypotheses:

  • Design x [the change] will increase conversions [the impact] for search campaign traffic [the who] by 10% [the how much] after 7 days [the how long].
  • Reducing the sign up steps from 3 to 1 will increase signs up by 25% for new visitors after 1,000 visits to the sign up page.
  • This subject line will increase open rates for daily digest subscribers by 15% after 3 days.

After you write a hypothesis, break it down into its five components to make sure that you haven’t forgotten anything.

  • Change: this subject line
  • Impact: will increase open rates
  • Who: for daily digest subscribers
  • By how much: by 15%
  • After how long: After 3 days

And then ask yourself:

  • Is your expected impact specific and measurable?
  • Can you clearly explain why the change will drive the expected impact?
  • Are you testing with the right population?
  • Did you estimate your how much based on a baseline and / or comparable changes? (more on this in a future post)
  • Did you calculate the duration using a duration calculator?

It’s easy to give lip service to experimentation and hypothesis testing. But if you want to get the most out of your efforts, make sure you are starting with a good hypothesis.

Did you learn something new reading this article? Keep learning. Subscribe to the Product Talk mailing list to get the next article in this series delivered to your inbox.

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Avatar for Saaransh Mehta

May 21, 2017 at 2:11 am

Interesting article, I am thinking about making forming a hypothesis around my product, if certain customers will find a proposed value useful. Can you kindly let me know if I’m on the right track.

“Certain customer segment (AAA) will find value in feature (XXX), to tackle their pain point ”

Change: using a feature (XXX)/ product Impact: will reduce monetary costs/ help solve a problem Who: for certain customers segment (AAA) By how much: by 5% After how long: 10 days

Avatar for GG

April 4, 2020 at 12:33 pm

Hi! Could you throw a little light on this: “Suppose you hypothesize that the change will improve conversion rates by 10%, then if your change results in a 9% increase, your hypothesis fails.”

I understood the rationale behind having a number x (10% in this case) associated with “by how much”, but could you explain with an example of how to ballpark a figure like this?

Avatar for GG

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

  • 4 minute read

Table of Contents

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

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

parts of a hypothesis

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.     

parts of a hypothesis

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.  

parts of a hypothesis

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.  

parts of a hypothesis

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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IMAGES

  1. 13 Different Types of Hypothesis (2024)

    parts of a hypothesis

  2. How to Write a Hypothesis

    parts of a hypothesis

  3. How to Write a Strong Hypothesis in 6 Simple Steps

    parts of a hypothesis

  4. What is Hypothesis? Functions- Characteristics-types-Criteria

    parts of a hypothesis

  5. Research Hypothesis: Definition, Types, Examples and Quick Tips

    parts of a hypothesis

  6. Hypothesis Testing: The 5 Components of a Good Hypothesis

    parts of a hypothesis

VIDEO

  1. Concept of Hypothesis

  2. 5 Cosmic Theories That'll Make You Question Reality! (Part 2)

  3. The Opening of "The BOOK" Video 1. Part 1 of 2 Parts

  4. BPCC 105 UNIT 2 PART 1 || PROBLEM AND HYPOTHESIS ||

  5. How To Formulate The Hypothesis/What is Hypothesis?

  6. Forms of Conditional Propositions (Converse, Contrapositive, Inverse)

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a Strong Hypothesis

    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. If a first-year student starts attending more lectures, then their exam scores will improve.

  2. Hypothesis: Definition, Examples, and Types

    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.

  3. What is a Hypothesis

    A hypothesis is an essential part of the scientific method and helps to guide the research process by providing a clear focus for investigation. It enables scientists to design experiments or studies to gather evidence and data that can support or refute the proposed explanation or prediction.

  4. Scientific hypothesis

    The formulation and testing of a hypothesis is part of the scientific method, the approach scientists use when attempting to understand and test ideas about natural phenomena. The generation of a hypothesis frequently is described as a creative process and is based on existing scientific knowledge, intuition, or experience.

  5. What Is a Hypothesis? The Scientific Method

    A hypothesis (plural hypotheses) is a proposed explanation for an observation. The definition depends on the subject. In science, a hypothesis is part of the scientific method. It is a prediction or explanation that is tested by an experiment. Observations and experiments may disprove a scientific hypothesis, but can never entirely prove one.

  6. What Are the Elements of a Good Hypothesis?

    A good hypothesis is an educated guess or prediction of what will happen in an experiment. It relates an independent variable and a dependent variable, and can be written as an if, then statement.

  7. Hypothesis Testing

    Table of contents. Step 1: State your null and alternate hypothesis. Step 2: Collect data. Step 3: Perform a statistical test. Step 4: Decide whether to reject or fail to reject your null hypothesis. Step 5: Present your findings. Other interesting articles. Frequently asked questions about hypothesis testing.

  8. Research Hypothesis: Definition, Types, Examples and Quick Tips

    Create a 3-dimensional hypothesis. Variables are an essential part of any reasonable hypothesis. So, identify your independent and dependent variable(s) and form a correlation between them. The ideal way to do this is to write the hypothetical assumption in the 'if-then' form. If you use this form, make sure that you state the predefined ...

  9. 5.2

    5.2 - Writing Hypotheses. The first step in conducting a hypothesis test is to write the hypothesis statements that are going to be tested. For each test you will have a null hypothesis ( H 0) and an alternative hypothesis ( H a ). When writing hypotheses there are three things that we need to know: (1) the parameter that we are testing (2) the ...

  10. How to Write a Strong Hypothesis

    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. If a first-year student starts attending more lectures, then their exam scores will improve.

  11. What Is a Hypothesis and How Do I Write One?

    Hypotheses are one part of what's called the scientific method . Every (good) experiment or study is based in the scientific method. The scientific method gives order and structure to experiments and ensures that interference from scientists or outside influences does not skew the results.

  12. The scientific method (article)

    The scientific method. At the core of biology and other sciences lies a problem-solving approach called the scientific method. The scientific method has five basic steps, plus one feedback step: Make an observation. Ask a question. Form a hypothesis, or testable explanation. Make a prediction based on the hypothesis.

  13. Steps of the Scientific Method

    A hypothesis is an educated guess about how things work. It is an attempt to answer your question with an explanation that can be tested. A good hypothesis allows you to then make a prediction: "If _____[I do this] _____, then _____[this]_____ will happen." State both your hypothesis and the resulting prediction you will be testing.

  14. Hypothesis

    A hypothesis (pl.: hypotheses) is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. ... In due course, a confirmed hypothesis may become part of a theory or occasionally may grow to become a theory itself. Normally, scientific hypotheses have the form of a mathematical model.

  15. Hypothesis

    A hypothesis has three essential parts: explanation, independent variable, and dependent variable. Some of the most common mistakes people make are leaving out the explanation or misidentifying ...

  16. The 3 Required Parts of a Hypothesis: Understanding the Basics

    A hypothesis is an essential part of the scientific method, serving as a description of the expected outcome of a research study. It must meet a few requirements to be considered valid: Clear and Testable : A hypothesis should be formulated in a way that allows it to be empirically tested or proved wrong.

  17. What is Hypothesis

    Functions of Hypothesis. Following are the functions performed by the hypothesis: Hypothesis helps in making an observation and experiments possible. It becomes the start point for the investigation. Hypothesis helps in verifying the observations. It helps in directing the inquiries in the right direction.

  18. How to Write a Strong Hypothesis in 6 Simple Steps

    Learning how to write a hypothesis comes down to knowledge and strategy. So where do you start? Learn how to make your hypothesis strong step-by-step here. ... A hypothesis is an important part of the scientific method. It's an idea or a proposal based on limited evidence. What comes next is the exciting part.

  19. Hypothesis

    hypothesis, something supposed or taken for granted, with the object of following out its consequences (Greek hypothesis, "a putting under," the Latin equivalent being suppositio ). Discussion with Kara Rogers of how the scientific model is used to test a hypothesis or represent a theory. Kara Rogers, senior biomedical sciences editor of ...

  20. The 5 Components of a Good Hypothesis

    Hypothesis Testing: The 5 Components of a Good Hypothesis. To make sure that your hypotheses can be supported or refuted by an experiment, you will want to include each of these elements: the change that you are testing. what impact we expect the change to have. who you expect it to impact.

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

    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.

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

    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.