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Monday, August 15, 2011



Once the research question has been stated, the next step is to define testable hypotheses. Usually a research question is a broad statement, that is not directly measurable by a research study. The research question needs to be broken down into smaller units, called hypotheses, that can be studied. A hypothesis is a statement that expresses the probable relationship between variables.

An assumption or concession made for the sake of argument

hypothesis is a specific statement of prediction

It describes in concrete (rather than theoretical) terms what you expect will happen in your study.

Not all studies have hypotheses

Educated guess

A hypothesis is a tentative statement that proposes a possible explanation to some phenomenon or event.

A useful hypothesis is a testable statement which may include a prediction

It is express in declarative form.


An hypothesis is a preliminary or tentative explanation or postulate by the researcher of what the researcher considers the outcome of an investigation will be. It is an informed/educated guess.

It indicates the expectations of the researcher regarding certain variables. It is the most specific way in which an answer to a problem can be stated.

Mouton's (1990: Chapter 6) and Guy's (1987: 116) presentation of the hypothesis:


Statement postulating a possible relationship between two or more phenomena or variables.


A statement describing a phenomenon or which specifies a relationship between two or more phenomena.


Both an hypothesis and a problem contribute to the body of knowledge which supports or refutes an existing theory. An hypothesis differs from a problem. A problem is formulated in the form of a question; it serves as the basis or origin from which an hypothesis is derived. An hypothesis is a suggested solution to a problem. A problem (question) cannot be directly tested, whereas an hypothesis can be tested and verified.


An hypothesis is formulated after the problem has been stated and the literature study has been concluded. It is formulated when the researcher is totally aware of the theoretical and empirical background to the problem.


It offers explanations for the relationships between those variables that can be empirically tested.

It furnishes proof that the researcher has suffucient background knowledge to enable him/her to make suggestions in order to extend existing knowledge.

It gives direction to an investigation.

It structures the next phase in the investigation and therefore furnishes continuity to the examination of the problem.

It provides a tentative answer to a researcher

Lead researcher to an answer

Bring clarity in enquiry

Route map is offered


It should have elucidating power.

It should strive to furnish an acceptable explanation of the phenomenon.

It must be verifiable.

It must be formulated in simple, understandable terms.

It should corresponds with existing knowledge.

Importance of Hypothesis

In quantitative research, hypothesis is unavoidable

Hypothesis suppports the research to find and answer to a problem.

hypothesis bridges the gap betwen theory and empirial inquiry

it will provide a gudeline to the problem.

It is the question that you are asking to be true or not

Characteristics of good hypothesis

A hypothesis is a tentative statement that proposes a possible explanation to some phenomenon or event.

useful hypothesis is a testable statement which may include a prediction

A hypotheses should not be confused with a theory.


Hypotheses can be classified in terms of their derivation (inductive and deductive hypotheses) and in terms of their formulation (research - directional and non-directional and statistical or null hypotheses).

Types of hypotheses-

A.Inductive or deductive

a. Inductive is a generalization based on specific observations. Inductive hypotheses are formed through inductively reasoning from many specific observations to tentative explanations

b. Deductive is derived from theory and provides evidence that supports, expands, or contradicts the theory. Deductive hypotheses are formed through deductively reasoning implications of theory

B.Research Hypothesis-

Research hypotheses are conjectural statements of the expected results

c. Non-directional - states that relation or difference between variables exists. an outcome is anticipated but the specific nature of it is unsure (e.g., there will be achievement differences between the groups of children using co-operative group strategies or individualized instruction)

d. Directional - states the expected direction of the relation or difference. a specific outcome is anticipated (e.g., the class using manipulatives will demonstrate higher achievement levels than the class using a traditional instructional approach)

C.Statistical hypotheses are statements of a relationship or difference that can be tested statistically
e. Null - states that there is no significant relation or difference between variables.
a statistical statement that no difference or relationship exists

This is purely statistical in nature

This does not represent the outcome anticipated by the researcher

It is a relationship between variables and indicates the nature of the relationship.

If A is valid, B follows ...

If you hit a child with a cain, he/she will cry.

Schools in which pupil-teacher relations are open/friendly will have less unrest than comparable schools where pupil-teacher relations are closed/tense.


"You are wrong, there is no relation; disprove me if you can" (Kerlinger, 1973)

There is no difference between pupil-teacher relations in unrest schools and pupil-teacher relations in comparable schools which experience no unrest.


An important requirement for hypotheses is TESTABILITY.

A condition for testability is CLEAR nad UNAMBIGUOUS CONCEPTS.

A research hypothesis (in empirical research) has to do with relationships between empirical phenomena. The concepts in a research hypothesis must posess single references (indicators) or denotations to identifiable phenomena in reality.

A central theoretical thesis refers to hypotheses in more theoretical studies.

How Are Hypotheses Written?

Internet may cause terrorism

Distance affects morning class participation of students

Internet causes poor reading habit

Film industry poorly represents women

Politics is male centered

Corruption led to voter apathy

Criteria for evaluating research hypotheses

Stated in declarative form

Consistent with known facts, prior research, or theory

Logical extension of the research problem

States an expected relationship between two or more variables

Can be tested

Is clear and concise

Lectur notes prepared by Biju P R,Assistant professor in Political science,GBC TLY

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