How To Write Hypothesis: Guide With Examples
November 4, 2021
If planning to write a scientific research paper, the first thing to know is how to write a hypothesis. This introductory statement is familiar to most students because it starts most scientific papers.
It also showcases what the author thinks can happen during the experiment. Scholars make this assumption based on facts, data, and knowledge. Forming a hypothesis is integral to all scientific and some non-scientific fields.
Science entails learning the truths regarding the world. Therefore, stating a hypothesis and testing it through experimentation is essential in creating laws, technologies, and theories. Most innovations and technologies available today began as hypotheses, including smartphones and computers.
With that said, composing a research hypothesis overwhelms many students when starting their journey in the science field. For this reason, this article defines this statement while explaining how to formulate a hypothesis and providing excellent and lousy hypothesis examples.
What is a Hypothesis in Research?
A hypothesis in research is a tentative statement regarding the relationship between variables. It’s a specific and testable prediction of what to expect in a study. Essentially, a hypothesis is a proposal or idea whose basis is limited evidence. But a hypothesis statement requires proving through direct testing, facts, and evidence.
For this reason, a scientific paper requires a testable hypothesis. For instance, research can hypothesize that white gold makes unicorn horns. However, if they can’t test the dependent and independent variables, the hypothesis remains in their dreams.
But if a researcher hypothesizes that crystals like rose quartz have healing powers, they can test and prove the hypothesis. And the tests or experiments can provide evidence supporting or opposing the hypothesis. Therefore, a good hypothesis is a statement based on the logical prediction of the research question and shaped with evidence and facts.
When solving a specific problem, you must identify a research question or problem, engage in initial research, and then find ways to answer the question through experiments and observation of the outcomes. But before moving to the experiment part, you must identify what you expect to see in results. And that’s when you make a logical guess and compose a hypothesis that you will refute or prove through your study.
As an academic rule, you need examples and observations on which to base your hypothesis. That way, the statement will look plausible because it will have known information supporting it. Subsequently, you prove the hypothesis with facts or refute it with counter-examples.
Your educator might ask you to create a hypothesis when writing a research paper, a dissertation, or a thesis. In some disciplines, a thesis statement and a hypothesis statement mean the same thing. But the goal and essence of this statement remain the same. Thus, it assumes the results of an investigation that the findings will refute or prove.
How to Make a Hypothesis
In a scientific project, a hypothesis should represent what you think will be the experiment’s outcome. Here’s how to make a good hypothesis in five simple steps.
1. Ask a Research Question.
Composing a research statement should start by asking a research question that the researcher aims to address. And this question should be focused, clear, and researchable, and within the project’s limitations. What’s more, the question should be testable. That is, the researcher should have a hypothesis for answering the research question.
2. Conduct Preliminary Research.
Writing a hypothesis requires you to gather data first. Academic journals, case studies, and experiments are good information sources. Also, observations can provide essential data. And don’t forget to explore the research question from every side. Conflicting research should also not deter you.
Naysayers should also not invalidate a hypothesis because you can state their findings as rebuttals and then frame the study in a way that addresses the concerns. For instance, you can find conflicting studies when trying to answer a question like, “What is the impact of sleep on motivation?” Some studies may recommend six hours, while others suggest eight hours of sleep. Nevertheless, such conflicting findings should guide you when developing hypothesis.
3. Answer Your Research Question.
Once you’ve completed your investigation, think about the best way to answer the research question while defending your position. Perhaps, you want to answer the question, “What is the impact of sleep on motivation?” In that case, your research can provide information and observations hinting that the lack of adequate sleep affects learning negatively.
Some findings can reveal that inadequate sleep can lower your thought processes while hindering you from learning new things. Some researchers can also say that learning when tired is complex, and you need more effort to grasp knowledge. And since learning becomes harder, most people become less motivated. Also, you can come across studies saying that sleep impacts function. All this information can help you when answering your research question.
Here’s how your hypothesis might look like:
Sleeping less than eight hours makes learning new things and creating new memories difficult. Thus, learning becomes more challenging, and a person’s motivation reduces.
4. Create a Hypothesis.
Once you’ve answered your research question, proceed to compose a hypothesis. In research terms, a hypothesis should be a statement that the researcher can prove through testing or experimenting. Include the following in your thesis statement:
- Outcome prediction
- Relevant variables
- What or who you’re studying
Don’t forget that your hypothesis should be a statement and not a question. It should be a prediction, proposal, or idea. Essentially, the hypothesis should have the structure of an if/then statement. For instance, “If you sleep less than eight hours, your motivation at school or work will be lower.”
Such a statement indicates that the research studies a person while the variables are motivation and sleep. The prediction that this hypothesis makes is that less sleep lowers motivation.
5. Refine the Hypothesis
Refining what you have is the last step in the hypothesis creation process. In this stage, define whether the hypothesis:
- Presents relevant and clear variables
- It shows how the variables relate
- Is testable and specific
- Predicts the experiment or investigation results
Note that a hypothesis can aim to study the differences between groups or serve as a correlation study. Thus, you should state the difference or relationship you seek to find.
For instance, “Having less than eight sleep hours harm school or work motivation” is a correlation hypothesis. On the other hand, “People who get less than seven sleep hours are less motivated than individuals with more than eight sleep hours when completing tasks” is a hypothesis indicating a difference.
If the basis of your research is statistical testing, you require a null hypothesis. This hypothesis states that variables don’t have an association or relationship. For instance, “Sleep hours don’t affect motivation” is a null hypothesis.
What Must You Do Before You Make a Hypothesis?
According to this guide on how to write a hypothesis statement, you must formulate a researchable question within your project’s limit and perform some background research before creating a hypothesis. Ideally, an experiment’s value depends on whether the results refute or support the hypothesis.
Perhaps, you’re still wondering, what is the hypothesis of an experiment? Well, it’s a statement introducing your research question while proposing your expected results. This statement is integral to scientific methods, and it forms the basis of most scientific experiments.
Before composing this statement, a scientist must ask a question about a particular phenomenon. After that, they must research what other experts have discovered about the subject. For instance, a researcher can wonder whether carbon dioxide is heavier or lighter than the other gas molecules in the air combined. Before composing a hypothesis, the researcher must investigate what other experts have discovered about this gas. After that, the researcher can formulate a hypothesis or statement about carbon dioxide behavior based on their findings.
Once a researcher has a hypothesis, they can structure an experiment to test the hypothesis by changing a single variable to ensure validity.
What Makes a Testable Hypothesis?
Perhaps, you’ve learned how to state a hypothesis, but you don’t know what makes this statement testable. For a hypothesis to be testable, it must be:
- Possible to prove it’s true
- Possible to prove it’s false
- Possible to generate results
The word testable means you can conduct a test to determine the possible relationship between the variables. Thus, you run an experiment to test the variables. Usually, the basis of a hypothesis is a previous observation. For instance, you might have noticed that tree leaves change color in November, and daily temperatures drop. In that case, the hypothesis can aim to find out whether these events are connected.
Perhaps, you want to know how to write a hypothesis for a lab report. In that case, ensure that your laboratory procedure has a hypothesis. Essentially, a lab procedure without a hypothesis is not an experiment but a demonstration or exercise of what you already know.
Here’s how to write a hypothesis example:
- Chocolate might cause pimples
- Soil salt may impact plant growth
- Light color might affect plant growth
- The temperature may affect bacterial growth
- Ultraviolet light might lead to skin cancer
- The temperature might change leave color
Any example of research hypothesis in this list is tentative because it uses “may” or “might.” But the hypothesis structure or form is particularly not useful. The words “may” and “might” don’t suggest how a researcher can prove the hypothesis. Failure to write these statements carefully means they don’t serve as hypotheses. For instance, saying something like “Tree leaves will change their color during the cold season” is a lousy thesis statement because it’s a prediction. Also, a phrase like “Ultraviolet light leads to skin cancer” is an awful hypothesis because it’s like a conclusion.
To avoid this mistake as you learn how to state a hypothesis, formalize this statement’s form. Here are samples of a formalized hypothesis:
“If skin cancer incidence is related to ultraviolet light exposure levels, then individuals with high UV light exposure have a higher skin cancer frequency.”
“If a change in tree leaves color and temperature are related, then exposing trees to low temperatures may change their leave color.”
Each of these statements is a testable hypothesis examples because it has the tentative words “if” and “then.” However, not all phrases with these words are a hypothesis. For instance, “If you play the lottery, then you will get rich” is a prediction, not a hypothesis. Essentially, a formalized hypothesis states a tentative relationship between variables.
Types of Hypothesis
Perhaps, you’ve known how to state a hypothesis, but you don’t know about the categories of this introductory statement in scientific research. Here are the primary classes of hypotheses.
- Complex hypothesis: This is a hypothesis predicting the relationship between several dependent and independent variables.
- Simple hypothesis: A simple hypothesis predicts a relationship between one dependent variable and one independent variable.
- Non-directional hypothesis: A non-directional hypothesis doesn’t predict the exact nature or direction of the relationship between variables.
- Directional hypothesis: This predicts the expected direction of the variables to determine their relationship, and it comes from a theory while implying the intellectual commitment of the research to a specific outcome.
- Null hypothesis: A null hypothesis is a negative statement supporting the findings that the variables don’t have a relationship.
- Causal and associative hypothesis: A causal hypothesis suggests a change in the dependent variable after manipulating the independent variable. An associative hypothesis defines variables’ interdependency. Thus, a change in a variable causes a difference in the other one.
- Alternative hypothesis: This hypothesis suggests a relationship between variables and that the findings are crucial to the study topic.
Your professor might take some time teaching you how to write a scientific hypothesis. However, you might still have difficulties composing a reasonable hypothesis because this statement has a significant bearing on your paper. That’s why you might need help from experts that know how to write a research hypothesis after many years of hands-on experience.
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