How to Write a Hypothesis - A Step-by-Step Guide
A hypothesis is generally a statement that a researcher has to test through scientific methods subjectively. Unlike a thesis statement, a hypothesis does not require a researcher to prove it right in any circumstance.
It is a statement that is developed prior to research, experiment, or data collection. In simple words, it is a proposed explanation for any idea, study, or phenomenon.
For research paper writing, thesis, case studies, or dissertation, you will have to write a hypothesis first. Continue reading the article to learn how to write a good hypothesis effectively.
What is a Hypothesis?
A hypothesis is a proposed or supposition explanation that a researcher forms based on limited reference about a specific phenomenon. This statement is further investigated to analyze its validity and significance.
A hypothesis statement is an initial point from where an investigation begins. Moreover, it translates the major research question into a prediction.
In professional terms, a hypothesis is an idea whose merit requires evaluation and interpretation. For this purpose, the researcher needs to define the specifics of the hypothesis in operational terms.
It requires a researcher to study in detail whether to approve it or disapprove of it. In this process, the hypothesis either becomes a part of the theory, or a theory itself.
Functions of Hypothesis
Learning the correct writing procedure is not enough if you are not aware of the basic functions that your hypothesis performs. To make your hypothesis stand out, understand the below-given functions
- First and foremost, a hypothesis contributes to making your research, observation, and experiment possible
- This helps in starting the basic investigation about the subject
- It verifies the observation
- It provides the right direction to your inquiries
Components of a Hypothesis
Like other sentences and statements, a hypothesis has major components that play a significant role in making it impactful. It is essential to learn about these parts when you are researching academics.
The following are the different components of the hypothesis:
How to Write a Hypothesis?
Just like every other formal or academic task, writing a hypothesis includes a process. Although there are no set of rules to follow while developing a hypothesis.
However, it is recommended that you follow some steps to ensure a quality statement. These steps will make it easier for you to formulate a strong hypothesis to provide a great direction for your research.
Following is a step-by-step- procedure to write a hypothesis.
- 1. Develop a Question
- 2. Conduct a Basic Research
- 3. Develop a Rough Hypothesis
- 4. Refine the Statement Made
When writing a hypothesis, the first thing is to develop a research question that you want to answer in your research. The question that you will formulate should be specific, focused, and researchable within the constraints of your assignment.
The initial answer to your research question will be spontaneous and based on pre-existing knowledge about the subject. Search for theories and information to form a basic assumption that you will investigate further.
At this stage of creating a hypothesis, a researcher can develop a conceptual framework to identify the variables and their relationship.
Formulate a rough statement on the available knowledge to provide an idea about what to expect from your research. Brainstorm the answer for this raw question and present it into a clear and concise sentence.
Now that you have a rough statement in hand, it is time to refine and make it a testable hypothesis. There are several ways to shape your hypothesis, but you can arrange your statement keeping in view the parts.
Make sure that your refined statement must contain the following things:
- Relevant variables
- The group being studied
- The predicted result of the research or experiment
The hypothesis can be phrased in three ways. Depending on the requirement of the research and the field type, select a phrasing pattern.
- To phrase the hypothesis, identify the variables, use a simple prediction pattern of “if...then” form. Present the independent variable first and then the dependent variable in your hypothesis statement.
- When developing a hypothesis for academic research, you can choose correlation and effect phrasing. In this way, you directly present the predicted relationship between the two variables.
- If the statement compares the two groups, the paraphrasing of the hypothesis can be done by stating the expected difference.
If your research is based on statistical testing of the hypothesis, you will have to present a null hypothesis. The null hypothesis states that there is no relationship or association between the two variables.
How to Write a Null Hypothesis?
There are two types of hypotheses, the null hypothesis, and the alternative hypothesis. A null hypothesis states that there is no difference between certain characteristics of a population while an alternative hypothesis states otherwise.
So, how does a null hypothesis work? Below is a four-step process to come up with a null hypothesis.
- The analyst will come up with two hypotheses and test them.
- Next, he formulates an analysis plan and decides the ways through which those hypotheses would be analyzed.
- The sample data and hypotheses are evaluated and analyzed.
- The final step is to analyze the acquired results and decide whether the null hypothesis is correct or not.
Other than null analysis, alternative hypotheses are also used. An alternative hypothesis is opposite to the null hypothesis and they are independent of each other.
What kind of Sources should I Add to my Hypothesis
It is important to look for credible and relevant sources of information while writing a hypothesis for your research proposal. A researcher has to consult these sources to check the reliability and validity of your primary idea.
In case you are wondering what sources will work best for your hypothesis, check out the following:
- Find relevant phenomena that have some resemblance to yours
- Evaluate the studies and observations from the past
- Analyze what the current time has to say about the idea
- Search the competitor’s ideas and opinions
- Analyze scientific theories
- Dig deeper into the patterns that influence people and their thinking
Types of Hypothesis
Depending on the field and research methods to collect data, hypotheses can have different types. When writing a research paper, it is essential to know all the types well to form a strong and relevant hypothesis.
Following are the six main types of hypothesis:
- Simple Hypothesis - A simple hypothesis is a statement that shows a relationship between two variables; an independent and dependent variable. For example, doing exercise can help you lose weight faster. Here doing exercise is an independent variable while losing weight is dependent.
- Complex Hypothesis - A complex hypothesis presents a relationship between two or more dependent and independent variables. For example, exercising and eating lots of vegetables can reduce weight and other fatal diseases such as heart disease.
- Directional Hypothesis - A directional hypothesis is a statement that presents the researcher’s commitment to a particular result. Moreover, the relationship between different variables also predicts its nature. For example, people who are sleep-deprived for 24 hours will have more cold symptoms than those who oversleep.
- Non-Directional Hypothesis - A non-directional hypothesis is used when there is no theory involved. It shows an existing relationship between two variables without highlighting the exact relationship’s nature.
- Null Hypothesis - A null hypothesis states that there is no relationship between the two variables. Similarly, it also contended that there is not enough information to state the scientific hypothesis. The ‘H0’ symbol denotes this hypothesis.
- Alternative Hypothesis - It is a statement that the research forms when he disapproves the null hypothesis. As the name suggests, it is an alternative statement to your null hypothesis highlighting the relationship between the variables. It is denoted by ‘H1’.
- Associative and Causal Hypothesis - In an associative hypothesis, a change in one variable results in a difference in the other variable. On the other hand, the causal hypothesis presents a cause and effect interaction between the two variables.
Characteristics of a Good Hypothesis
Professional writers believe that a hypothesis has certain features that help it become stronger and more effective. These characteristics include:
- To make the hypothesis credible, it should be clear and precise
- If you have chosen a hypothesis type that will state the relationship between the two variables, it should be obvious
- A strong hypothesis is specific and has clear scope for conducting more studies and tests
- The explanation of the hypothesis must be simple. Keep in mind that the simplicity of the hypothesis has nothing to do with its significance
Only a strong hypothesis will motivate the readers to read the entire paper. So make sure that you carefully develop a hypothesis for your research.
If you are writing a paper for the first time, it is suggested by professionals to go through a few examples. It will help you understand the pattern in which you should be working.
Below-given are examples of how hypotheses are developed for different research experiments.
Going through these examples will help you understand better which course of action should be chosen for your research. If it is still difficult for you to look for sources and write a compelling hypothesis, get help from professionals.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How do you turn a question into a hypothesis?
You can change and transform a question into a hypothesis by changing it into a statement.
Is a hypothesis a prediction?
No, a hypothesis is not a prediction but rather a possibility. The researcher ‘hopes’ to obtain a certain kind of result through the experimentation. This possibility or expected results are the hypothesis.
Can a hypothesis be a question?
No, a hypothesis is and should be a statement and not a question.
Do all research papers have a hypothesis?
No, some research papers are based on exploratory research, which is used to develop the hypothesis. So, such a research paper does not need a hypothesis.