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A hypothesis can be defined as an assumption statement that is made on the basis of evidence so that this assumption can be tested to see if it might be true. It describes what you expect will happen in your research study before it has taken place and is therefore a prediction that you are trying to explore. Certain research studies may involve several hypotheses in cases where multiple aspects of the research question want to be studied.
Hypotheses often propose an association between two or more variables: this includes the independent variable (the variable that the researcher controls/manipulates) and the dependent variable (the variable that the researcher observes and measures).
Use the following six steps to effectively create a hypothesis for your research study:
The first step in writing a hypothesis is asking a question. In this step, you must clearly outline the research question that you want to answer, keeping it specific and focused.
Once you’ve defined your research question, you can start collecting preliminary research. Data collected at this stage can come in the form of existing studies with similar topics, academic journals, and any preliminary primary research conducted such as your own observations and experiments.
At this stage you can even construct a conceptual framework. This is a visual representation of the expected relationship between the variables being studied.
Once you’ve conducted your preliminary research, you can think about the ways in which you can answer the question. At this stage, your research will have allowed you to develop a stance on what you believe will be the result of the research. You must frame this answer in a clear and concise sentence.
In this stage, you must formulate your hypothesis. As you already have the answer to your question ready, you can create your hypothesis by including the following in your statement:
Your hypothesis is a prediction and it should be framed as a statement, not a question.
In this step, you must refine your hypothesis to ensure that it is specific and testable. Furthermore, there may be certain cases in which you are studying the difference between more than just one group or are conducting correlational research. In such cases, you must clearly state the relationships or differences that you believe you will find among the variables.
Certain studies may require statistical analysis to be conducted on the data collected. When employing the scientific method to form a hypothesis, you must know the difference between the null hypothesis and the alternative hypothesis.
An alternative hypothesis, often denoted as H1, is a statement that contradicts the null hypothesis and can be considered as an alternative to the null hypothesis.
We’ve already discussed null and alternative hypotheses and what each entails. Let’s also look at some other types of hypotheses. Research hypotheses can be categorized into the following groups:
A causal hypothesis predicts that changes in the dependent variable are a result of the manipulation of the independent variable.