Hypothesis: The Complete Guide for Students of All Levels

November 14, 2022

A hypothesis may be an idea or proposal based on limited evidence, but it’s still an important part of a scientific method because it forms the core for future research. It tests the prediction about what your research will find, gives a tentative answer to your research question, but it hasn’t been through testing.

To be very clear, a hypothesis isn’t a standard guess. In addition to basing it on existing theories and knowledge, it should be testable. If you can prove it with direct testing, evidence, and facts, then it’s highly likely a good hypothesis to consider.

In this guide, you’ll learn everything you should know about hypothesis, including what it is, the types, and the right way to write a strong one.

What is a Hypothesis?

A hypothesis is a precise, testable statement presented in the beginning of a study. It is from a hypothesis that one gets a glimpse of the possible outcome of a research process. The hypothesis will propose a relationship between two variables, which can be either dependent or independent variables.

In most cases, you will have to write a hypothesis in two forms: alternative hypothesis and null hypothesis because they’re experimental in nature.

A hypothesis can be either be accepted or rejected after being experimented against reality. So it’s important to assume there’s no difference between your studies when testing a hypothesis.

What are the Characteristics of a Good Hypothesis?

You now have an idea of what a hypothesis is. Now it’s time to know the main characteristics that describe it.

Below are the 5 major characteristics of a good hypothesis:

  • It is should be flexible to allow extended experiments and investigations.
  • A hypothesis should not be vague; it is supposed to be particular. With a specific hypothesis, researchers can express specific traits that define ideas.
  • One should be able to discuss the hypothesis in a simple and understandable terms
  • Includes relationship and variables (for relational hypothesis)
  • It should be accurate. A hypothesis that is accurate and clear sounds more reliable.

Where are Hypotheses Derived from?

The main sources of a hypothesis include patterns that affect the way people think, similarities in different circumstances, scientific hypotheses, current experiences, and observation from studies.

The 2 Major Types of Hypothesis

Talking of types of hypotheses, we only have two main types that you should know about to get this right.

These are:

1. Alternative Hypothesis

The Alternative hypothesis, designated in the character of H1, gives a glimpse of what to expect from your research.

There are two types of alternative hypothesis:

  • Directional hypothesis: A directional hypothesis will help you to gain an understanding of the relationship between variables. Directional hypothesis discusses what to expect in a study.
  • Non-directional hypothesis: A non-directional hypothesis won’t give you an idea of what to expect during a study.

2. Null Hypothesis

The null hypothesis is an opposing statement of what you expect from a study. In simple terms, it is the opposite of the alternative hypothesis.

Like the alternative hypothesis, the null hypothesis has a H0 notation, and it states that there’s no authentic connection explained in the hypothesis.

Both null hypothesis and alternative hypotheses bring jaggy illustrations of the topic matter. Also, their main goal is to provide examiners with particular guesses, which they can test in an investigation.

Apart from null and alternative hypotheses, we have other minor hypotheses. These are:

  • Complex hypotheses: A complex hypothesis points out the connection between two or more independent and dependent variables.
  • Research hypotheses: A research hypothesis tests for the connection between two or more variables.
  • Associative and causal hypotheses: An associative and causal hypothesis points out the connection between variables under the scheme when a commute in a variable inexorably changes the other variable. An associative hypothesis highlights the causes and effects of correlation between variables.
  • Simple hypotheses: A simple hypothesis shows the relationships between a dependent and an independent variable.

How to Write a Hypothesis

You now have an idea of what a hypothesis is, the types of hypothesis in scientific research, and the importance of a hypothesis.

To take this even further, below are the steps to write a strong hypothesis:

1. Define Your Research Query

The first thing you should always consider no matter the project you are working on is asking the right research question.

We would advise you to use a handful of words and not a block of long a sentence. To make your research question perfect ensure that is specific, manageable, and very clear.

2. Conduct a Basic Initial Research

Before coming up with assumptions you must collect some information and that is because a hypothesis is a prediction of expected results on research.

This is where you get answers to an investigation with the help of what you find out. The data you collect will be of much help because it will not only make logical but also intelligent guesses.

4. Formulate a Hypothesis

Find out what you are likely to find throughout your entire research based on your initial research and use it to make a precise and to-the-point hypothesis.

You can restate the statement in various ways and that depends on the type of assignment and hypothesis you find worth using.

5. Refine the Hypothesis

Doing clarifications is the last step of formulating a hypothesis. This is the part where you ensure your hypothesis points out connections between its variables, the variable is to the purpose and clear, it is valid and particular and it proposes a foreseen outcome of the research.

Final Thoughts

Formulating a strong hypothesis is not as easy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get it right on a first attempt.

Here are some tips to help:

The first thing will be finding what is more interesting to you. The worst mistake most students or researchers do is picking a topic randomly. We are 99% sure that a topic picked randomly won’t come up with a good hypothesis.

Let the research you did guide you to put down your hypothesis while you keep it clear and direct to the point.

Cut your reader a slack by clearly defining your variables. Unclear variables make your hypothesis look sound terrible.

Consider writing your hypothesis an ‘if’ statement or ‘then’ statement. E.g. If this, then look forward to that as the result.  

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

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