Academic Paper Writing

Manuals for students

How to Write a Hypothesis

In a research project, the hypothesis refers to a testable prediction about the outcomes of a study based on relationships between variables. Your entire research revolves around the hypothesis so if you get it wrong then the rest of the work may go south. Make sure you ask the right questions and word your hypothesis correctly. This way, you will not have trouble filling in your research findings to make sense of your study. Below is a three-step process of correctly writing a research hypothesis:

  1. Get a general hypothesis

This is a general statement you develop even before you get to the specific details of your study. You even include all that you have reviewed and observed as you gathered the information for your research. Observing various outcomes of specific experiments will also give you an idea of a general hypothesis. This is the stage where the research problem is developed. At this point, you have not come up with anything specific but just general ideas of how things might turn out. The statement is usually inspired by what others have done before and how different variables relate.

For instance, if a fish farmer notices that his catfishes have more lice during summer, he may want to guess why this is so. For obvious reasons, the water levels are lower in summer so the farmer will use this general knowledge to come up with a general hypothesis. He will say that ‘water levels affect the number of lice in catfish.’ This is a good statement but it does not give any specific research direction.

  1. Test Your Hypothesis

Once you come up with a general hypothesis in the first step, you need to go further and make it more specific. That means before you get to step two, you have a statement that you believe is testable and can give a clear direction to your work. Well, you cannot be sure of the testability of your hypothesis until you test it. In this step, you will need to design your experiment and allow a statistical analysis of your data. Remember you are still using much of what you have observed or read from other people’s work.

At this point, you have your null hypothesis that states no significant difference between the measured phenomena and your alternative hypothesis that states otherwise. Once you test your hypothesis, you will either reject the null or the alternative. Rejecting the alternative hypothesis will mean that you go back to the drawing board and design a new research program.

  1. Write your hypothesis

After going through steps one and two of this process, you come up with a testable research hypothesis. This is a statement that gives a clear direction to your study and allows you to ask the right questions for the success of your study.

Final Remarks

Writing a research hypothesis is not such an uphill task but most people still do not get it right on their first trial. The tips above will help you to get done with it quickly and right.