Understanding the importance of a research hypothesis

By Riya Jain and Priya Chetty on August 28, 2021

A research hypothesis is a specification of a testable prediction about what a researcher expect as the outcome of the study. It comprises certain aspects such as the population, variables, and the relationship between the variables. It states the specific role of the position of individual elements through empirical verification. When conducting research, there are certain assumptions that are made by the researcher. According to the available information, the goal is to present the expected outcome after testing them.

A hypothesis should be precise and accurate

A hypothesis is a clear statement of the information that the researcher intends to investigate. It is thus a clear statement that is essential before conducting research.

Aspects identified by the hypothesis in a thesis
Figure 1: Aspects identified by the hypothesis in a thesis

Based on this aspect, the features of the hypothesis are listed below:

Figure 2: Features of Hypothesis
Figure 2: Features of Hypothesis

1. Conceptual

The statement of the hypothesis is based on a certain concept i.e. it could be either related to the theory or the pre-assumption of the researcher about certain variables i.e. educated guess. This leads to linking the research questions of the study. It helps the collection of data and conducting analysis as per the stated concept.

For example; people who shop at speciality stores tend to spend more on luxury brands as compared to those who shop at a department store.

2. Verbal statement

The research hypothesis represents a verbal statement in declarative form. The hypothesis is often stated in mathematical form. However, it brings in the possibility of representing the idea, assumption, or concept of the researcher in the form of words that could be tested.

For example; the capability of students who are undergoing vocational training programs is not different from the students undergoing regular studies.

3. Empirical reference

By building a tentative relationship among concepts, hypothesis testing provides an empirical verification to a study. It helps validate the assumption of the researcher.

For example; the quality of nursing education affects the quality of nursing practice skills.

4. Tentative relationship

It links the variables as per assumption and builds a tentative relationship. A hypothesis is initially unverified, therefore the relationship between variables is uncertain. Thus a predictable relationship is specified.

For example; sleep deprivation affects the productivity of an individual.

5. Tool of knowledge advancement

With help of a hypothesis statement, the researcher has the opportunity of verifying the available knowledge and having further enquiry about a concept. Thus, it helps the advancement of knowledge.

For example; the effectiveness of the social awareness programs influences the living standards of people.

6. Tested

The hypothesis statement provides the benefit of assessing the available information and makes the appropriate prediction about the future. With the possibility of verifiability and identifying the falsifiable information, researchers assess their assumptions and determine accurate conclusions.

For example; people who are exposed to a high level of ultraviolet light tend to have a higher incidence of cancer.

7. Not moral

The hypothesis statement is not based on the consideration of moral values or ethics. It is as per the beliefs or assumptions of the researcher. However, testing and prediction are not entirely based on individual moral beliefs. For example, people having sample moral values would take the same strategy for business management. In this case, it is not the desired objective to study the business management strategy.

Neither too specific nor too general

A hypothesis should not be too general or too specific.

For example; ‘actions of an individual would impact the health’ is too general, ‘running would improve your health’ is too specific. Thus, the hypothesis for the above study is exercise does have impact on the health of people.

Prediction of consequences

The hypothesis is the statement of the researcher’s assumption. Thus, it helps in predicting the ultimate outcome of the thesis.

For example; experience leads to better air traffic control management.

Valuable

Even if the assumption of the researcher is proven false in testing, the result derived from the examination is valuable. With the presence of null and alternative hypotheses, each assessment of the hypothesis yields a valuable conclusion.

Separating irrelavant information from relevant information

 A hypothesis plays a significant role ineffectiveness of a study. It not only navigates the researcher but also prevents the researcher from building an inconclusive study. By guiding as light in the entire thesis, the hypothesis contributes to suggesting and testing the theories along with describing the legal or social phenomenon.

Importance of Hypothesis
Figure 3: Importance of Hypothesis

Navigate research

A hypothesis helps in identifying the areas that should be focused on for solving the research problem. It helps frame the concepts of study in a meaningful and effective manner. It also helps the researcher arrive at a conclusion for the study based on organized empirical data examination.

Prevents blind research

A hypothesis guides the researcher in the processes that need to be followed throughout the study. It prevents the researcher from collecting the massive data and doing blind research which would prove irrelevant.

Platform for investigating activities

By examining conceptual and factual elements related to the problem of a thesis, the hypothesis provides a framework for drawing effective conclusions. It also helps stimulate further studies.

Describes a phenomenon

Each time a hypothesis is tested, more information about the concerned phenomenon is made available. Empirical support via hypothesis testing helps analyse aspects that were unexplored earlier.

Framing accurate research hypothesis statements

For the deduction of accurate and reliable outcomes from the analysis, belong stated things should be noted:

  • Should never be formulated in the form of a question.
  • Empirical testability of the hypothesis should be possible.
  • Precise and specific statement of concept should be present.
  • The hypothesis should not be contradictory to the identified concept and linkage between the variables.
  • Clear specification of all the variables which are used for building relationship in hypothesis should be present.
  • Focus of a single hypothesis should only be on one issue. No multi-issue consideration should be taken while building the hypothesis i.e. could only be either relational or descriptive.
  • Hypothesis should not be conflicting with the defined law of nature which is already specified as true.
  • Effective tools and techniques need to be used for having the verification of the hypothesis.
  • Form of hypothesis statement should be simple and understandable. Complex or conflicting statement reduces the applicability and reliability of the thesis results.
  • The hypothesis should be amendable in the form that testing could be completed within a specified reasonable time.

Riya Jain

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