Learn How to Write a Hypothesis in Simple Steps
A hypothesis is one of the important parts of the scientific research paper. It is an idea that is based on evidence and must be proved through facts and examples.
In a scientific method, whether it involves research in biology, psychology, or any other area, a hypothesis will show what will come next in the experiment.
Since the hypothesis is the foundation for future research, it is important to draft a strong hypothesis. In this blog, you will learn how to write a good hypothesis statement in simple steps and many examples for your better understanding.
Table of Contents
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There are many questions regarding a hypothesis. Most people look for their answers.
- How to write a hypothesis for a research paper?
- How to write a hypothesis in sociology?
- How to write hypothesis psychology?
- How to write a hypothesis in a lab report?
- How to write a hypothesis in statistics?
- How to write a hypothesis for a science fair?
If you wonder how to create a hypothesis on any of the above scenarios, keep on reading to understand what a hypothesis is and how to write a perfect one.
What is Hypothesis?
A hypothesis is a prediction that is more than just a simple guess. Usually, the hypothesis starts with a question that is explored through in-depth research.
At this point, you need to develop a strong and testable hypothesis. Your hypothesis should explain what you expect to happen next, except if you are writing an explanatory study.
For example, if exploring the effects of a particular drug, the hypothesis should be what effects this drug might have on the symptoms of a particular disease.
In conducting psychology research, the hypothesis might be how an environment influences a particular response or behavior.
Similarly, a hypothesis does not always have to be accurate. While it predicts what the researchers expect, the research aims to determine whether the guess came out right or wrong.
It also establishes a relationship between two or more variables. A dependable variable is what you observe and measure. An independent variable is what you change or control over time.
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Different Types of Hypotheses
Before heading towards the writing steps, understand the common types of hypotheses with examples.
Refer to the document below to get a detailed description of these different types of hypotheses.
A simple hypothesis predicts the connection between the dependent and independent variables. Here are some simple hypothesis examples that you can refer to for your better understanding.
- Intake of sugary drinks leads to weight gain.
- Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer.
A complex hypothesis predicts the relationship between two or more dependent and two or more independent variables. Follow the below-mentioned complex hypothesis examples and understand how it is formulated.
- Overweight people who value and seek happiness are more likely to lose weight and enjoy life than those who do not care much.
- Individuals who eat fewer vegetables and more greasy food are at a greater risk of developing heart diseases.
An empirical hypothesis is also known as a ‘Working hypothesis.’ This hypothesis plays a part when the theory is being tested through an experiment and observation. It is no longer just a wild guess.
Here are some examples to quickly understand how to craft an empirical hypothesis.
- Women who take vitamin E grow their hair faster than those women who take vitamin K.
- Animals learn faster if the food is given immediately after the response of a command.
A null hypothesis is written when there is insufficient information to state the hypothesis or no obvious relationship between the two variables. Refer to the following null hypothesis examples and learn how to disapprove of something.
- There is no improvement in my health, no matter how healthy I eat or get plenty of sleep.
- There is no change in my work habits, whether I get 6 hours or 10 hours of sleep.
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There is always an alternative hypothesis that disapproves of a null hypothesis. It is denoted by H1. You can learn more about the alternative hypothesis with these examples.
- My health gets better when I drink green tea daily.
- My work habits get better when I sleep on time and wake up early in the morning.
The proposed explanation to process the evidence is a logical hypothesis. Usually, a logical hypothesis is turned into an empirical hypothesis. It aims to put your theories to the test.
Here are some logical hypothesis examples for your better understanding.
- Cacti experience more successful growth rates than tulips on Mars.
- The atmospheric pressure on Mars is less than one-hundredth of what we breathe on Earth.
A statistical hypothesis is an examination of a sample of a population. This is the type of analysis in which you use statistical information collected from and for a specific area.
Below are some statistical hypothesis examples to understand how to conduct your research using statistical information.
- About 16% of the American population is 65 years old or over.
- 21% of the adults in the United States fall into the category of illiteracy.
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How to Write a Hypothesis?
Here are the steps that you need to follow for writing a strong hypothesis.
1. Ask a Question
A hypothesis starts with a research question that you need to address. A clear, focused, and researchable question is required that should be within the limitations of the project.
Furthermore, the question needs to be testable, i.e., there should be a hypothesis that can answer the research question.
2. Conduct Some Initial Research
Now you have to collect data and think about the start of your answer. It should be about the information already known about the research paper topics. Take time and review theories and previous studies to formulate better assumptions.
You can create a conceptual framework to identify which variables you will be focusing on. Also, figure out the relationship between those variables.
3. Create Your Hypothesis
With the help of theories and previous studies, you might have an idea of what you expect to find. Make sure you come up with a clear and concise initial answer.
A hypothesis, in research terms, is the portion of a study that can be proven by testing it. In this case, how does your independent variable affect how participants respond to the experiment?
4. Refine Your Hypothesis
Make sure your hypothesis is to the point and testable. Similarly, it can be refined in a variety of ways. All the terms that you use must be defined clearly and contain the following elements.
- The required variables
- The group that is being studied
- The predicted outcome of the analysis
5. Compose Your Hypothesis in Three Different Ways
You can formulate a simple prediction in the form of if. then to identify the variables. The beginning of the sentence should state the independent variable and dependent variable at the end of the sentence.
In academic research, a hypothesis is commonly phrased in terms of defining relations or showing effects. Here you need to state the relationship between variables.
If you are making a comparison, your hypothesis should state what difference you expect.
6. Formulate a Null Hypothesis
If your research methods cover statistical hypothesis testing, you will need to formulate a null hypothesis. It is donated by ‘HO.’ A null hypothesis is the default position that shows no connection between the variables.
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Hypothesis Writing Tips
Here are some of the expert tips that you should keep in mind for writing a good hypothesis.
- Do not choose a random topic. Take time and find something interesting to write on
- Keep the hypothesis to the point, clear, and concise
- Make sure to research as it will help you throughout the writing process
- Clearly define your independent and dependent variables
- Know your audience to identify the relationship among phenomena observed in different experiments
A hypothesis is basically a statement of what you will do. It determines how you will set up an experiment and how you will analyze the results.
This is why a hypothesis needs to be clearly defined. Once you are done writing your hypothesis, you need to test it and analyze the data to come up with your conclusion.
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Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the three required parts of a hypothesis?
The three required parts of a hypothesis are as follows:
- If (cause)
- Then (effect)
- Because (rationale)
2. How do you turn a question into a hypothesis?
A research question can be transformed into a hypothesis by changing it into a statement.
3. Which statements contain a hypothesis?
A hypothesis is an if/then statement that gives a possibility and explains what may happen because of it. These statements could include “may.”
How to Write a Strong Hypothesis | Steps & Examples
A hypothesis is a statement that can be tested by scientific research. If you want to test a relationship between two or more variables, you need to write hypotheses before you start your experiment or data collection.
Daily apple consumption leads to fewer doctor’s visits.
Table of contents
- What is a hypothesis?
- Developing a hypothesis (with example)
- Hypothesis examples
- Frequently asked questions about writing hypotheses
What is a hypothesis?
A hypothesis states your predictions about what your research will find. It is a tentative answer to your research question that has not yet been tested. For some research projects, you might have to write several hypotheses that address different aspects of your research question.
A hypothesis is not just a guess – it should be based on existing theories and knowledge. It also has to be testable, which means you can support or refute it through scientific research methods (such as experiments, observations and statistical analysis of data).
Variables in hypotheses
Hypotheses propose a relationship between two or more variables. An independent variable is something the researcher changes or controls. A dependent variable is something the researcher observes and measures.
Daily exposure to the sun leads to increased levels of happiness.
In this example, the independent variable is exposure to the sun – the assumed cause . The dependent variable is the level of happiness – the assumed effect .
Developing a hypothesis (with example)
Step 1. Ask a question
Writing a hypothesis begins with a research question that you want to answer. The question should be focused, specific, and researchable within the constraints of your project.
Example: Research question
Do students who attend more lectures get better exam results?
Step 2. Do some preliminary research
Your initial answer to the question should be based on what is already known about the topic. Look for theories and previous studies to help you form educated assumptions about what your research will find.
At this stage, you might construct a conceptual framework to identify which variables you will study and what you think the relationships are between them. Sometimes, you’ll have to operationalise more complex constructs.
Step 3. Formulate your hypothesis
Now you should have some idea of what you expect to find. Write your initial answer to the question in a clear, concise sentence.
Attending more lectures leads to better exam results.
4. Refine your hypothesis
You need to make sure your hypothesis is specific and testable. There are various ways of phrasing a hypothesis, but all the terms you use should have clear definitions, and the hypothesis should contain:
- The relevant variables
- The specific group being studied
- The predicted outcome of the experiment or analysis
5. Phrase your hypothesis in three ways
To identify the variables, you can write a simple prediction in if…then form. The first part of the sentence states the independent variable and the second part states the dependent variable.
If a first-year student starts attending more lectures , then their exam scores will improve.
In academic research, hypotheses are more commonly phrased in terms of correlations or effects, where you directly state the predicted relationship between variables.
The number of lectures attended by first-year students has a positive effect on their exam scores.
If you are comparing two groups, the hypothesis can state what difference you expect to find between them.
First-year students who attended most lectures will have better exam scores than those who attended few lectures.
6. Write a null hypothesis
If your research involves statistical hypothesis testing, you will also have to write a null hypothesis. The null hypothesis is the default position that there is no association between the variables. The null hypothesis is written as H0, while the alternative hypothesis is H1 or Ha.
H0: The number of lectures attended by first-year students has no effect on their final exam scores.
H1: The number of lectures attended by first-year students has a positive effect on their final exam scores.
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How to Develop a Good Research Hypothesis
A hypothesis is a statement that introduces a research question and proposes an expected result. It is an integral part of the scientific method that forms the basis of scientific experiments. Therefore, you need to be careful and thorough when building your hypothesis. A minor flaw in the construction of your hypothesis could have an adverse effect on your experiment.
Essential Characteristics of a Good Hypothesis
As a research hypothesis is a specific, testable prediction about what you expect to happen in a study, you may consider drawing hypothesis from previously published research based on the theory.
A good research hypothesis involves more efforts than just a guess. In particular, your hypothesis may begin with a question which could be further explored through background research.
To help you formulate a promising research hypothesis, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the language clear and focused?
- What is the relationship between your hypothesis and your research topic?
- Is your hypothesis testable? If yes, then how?
- What are the possible explanations that you might want to explore?
- Does your hypothesis include both an independent and dependent variable?
- Can you manipulate your variables without hampering the ethical standards?
The questions listed above can be used as a checklist to make sure your hypothesis is based on a solid foundation. Furthermore, it can help you identify weaknesses in your hypothesis and revise it if necessary.
Types of Research Hypothesis
Research hypothesis can be classified into seven categories as stated below:
1. Simple Hypothesis
It predicts the relationship between a single dependent variable and a single independent variable.
2. Complex Hypothesis
It predicts the relationship between two or more independent and dependent variables.
3. Directional Hypothesis
It specifies the expected direction to be followed to determine the relationship between variables, and is derived from theory. Furthermore, it implies researcher’s intellectual commitment to a particular outcome.
4. Non-directional Hypothesis
It does not predict the exact direction or nature of the relationship between the two variables. Non-directional hypothesis is used when there is no theory involved or when findings contradict previous research.
5. Associative and Causal Hypothesis
Associative hypothesis defines interdependency between variables. A change in one variable results in the change of the other variable. On the other hand, causal hypothesis proposes an effect on the dependent due to manipulation of the independent variable.
6. Null Hypothesis
It states a negative statement to support the researcher’s findings that there is no relationship between two variables.
7. Alternative Hypothesis
It states that there is a relationship between the two variables of the study and that the results are significant to the research topic.
How to Formulate an Effective Research Hypothesis
A testable hypothesis is not a simple statement. It is rather an intricate statement that needs to offer a clear introduction to a scientific experiment, its intentions, and the possible outcomes. However, there are some important things to consider when building a compelling hypothesis.
- State the problem that you are trying to solve.
- Make sure that the hypothesis clearly defines the topic and the focus of the experiment.
- Try to write the hypothesis as an if-then statement.
- Follow this template: If a specific action is taken, then a certain outcome is expected.
- Define the variables
Independent variables are the ones which are manipulated, controlled, or changed. Independent variables are isolated from other factors of the study.
Dependent variables, as name suggests are dependent on other factors of the study. They are influenced by the change in independent variable.
Examples of Independent and Dependent Variables in a Hypothesis:
The greater number of coal plants in a region (independent variable) increases water pollution (dependent variable).
If you change the independent variable (building more coal factories), it will change the dependent variable (amount of water pollution).
What is the effect of diet or regular soda (independent variable) on blood sugar levels (dependent variable)?
If you change the independent variable (the type of soda you consume), it will change the dependent variable (blood sugar levels)
You should not ignore the importance of the above steps. The validity of your experiment and its results rely on a robust testable hypothesis. Developing a strong testable hypothesis has few advantages, it compels us to think intensely and specifically about the outcomes of a study. Consequently, it enables us to understand the implication of the question and the different variables involved in the study. Furthermore, it helps us to make precise predictions based on prior research. Hence, forming a hypothesis would be of great value to the research. Here are some good examples of testable hypotheses.
More importantly, you need to build a robust testable research hypothesis for your scientific experiments. A testable hypothesis is a hypothesis that can be proved or disproved as a result of experimentation.
Importance of a Testable Hypothesis
To devise and perform an experiment using scientific method, you need to make sure that your hypothesis is testable. To be considered testable, some essential criteria must be met:
- There must be a possibility to prove that the hypothesis is true.
- There must be a possibility to prove that the hypothesis is false.
- The results of the hypothesis must be reproducible.
Without these criteria, the hypothesis and the results will be vague. As a result, the experiment will not prove or disprove anything significant.
What are your experiences with building hypotheses for scientific experiments? What challenges did you face? How did you overcome these challenges? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section. You can also visit our Q&A forum for frequently asked questions related to different aspects of research writing and publishing answered by our team that comprises subject-matter experts, eminent researchers, and publication experts.
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What is and How to Write a Good Hypothesis in Research?
One of the most important aspects of conducting research is constructing a strong hypothesis. But what makes a hypothesis in research effective? In this article, we’ll look at the difference between a hypothesis and a research question, as well as the elements of a good hypothesis in research. We’ll also include some examples of effective hypotheses, and what pitfalls to avoid.
What is a Hypothesis in Research?
Simply put, a hypothesis is a research question that also includes the predicted or expected result of the research. Without a hypothesis, there can be no basis for a scientific or research experiment. As such, it is critical that you carefully construct your hypothesis by being deliberate and thorough, even before you set pen to paper. Unless your hypothesis is clearly and carefully constructed, any flaw can have an adverse, and even grave, effect on the quality of your experiment and its subsequent results.
Research Question vs Hypothesis
It’s easy to confuse research questions with hypotheses, and vice versa. While they’re both critical to the Scientific Method, they have very specific differences. Primarily, a research question, just like a hypothesis, is focused and concise. But a hypothesis includes a prediction based on the proposed research, and is designed to forecast the relationship of and between two (or more) variables. Research questions are open-ended, and invite debate and discussion, while hypotheses are closed, e.g. “The relationship between A and B will be C.”
A hypothesis is generally used if your research topic is fairly well established, and you are relatively certain about the relationship between the variables that will be presented in your research. Since a hypothesis is ideally suited for experimental studies, it will, by its very existence, affect the design of your experiment.
The research question is typically used for new topics that have not yet been researched extensively. Here, the relationship between different variables is less known. There is no prediction made, but there may be variables explored. The research question can be casual in nature, simply trying to understand if a relationship even exists, descriptive or comparative.
How to Write Hypothesis in Research
Writing an effective hypothesis starts before you even begin to type. Like any task, preparation is key, so you start first by conducting research yourself, and reading all you can about the topic that you plan to research. From there, you’ll gain the knowledge you need to understand where your focus within the topic will lie.
Remember that a hypothesis is a prediction of the relationship that exists between two or more variables. Your job is to write a hypothesis, and design the research, to “prove” whether or not your prediction is correct. A common pitfall is to use judgments that are subjective and inappropriate for the construction of a hypothesis. It’s important to keep the focus and language of your hypothesis objective.
An effective hypothesis in research is clearly and concisely written, and any terms or definitions clarified and defined. Specific language must also be used to avoid any generalities or assumptions.
Use the following points as a checklist to evaluate the effectiveness of your research hypothesis:
- Predicts the relationship and outcome
- Simple and concise – avoid wordiness
- Clear with no ambiguity or assumptions about the readers’ knowledge
- Observable and testable results
- Relevant and specific to the research question or problem
Research Hypothesis Example
Perhaps the best way to evaluate whether or not your hypothesis is effective is to compare it to those of your colleagues in the field. There is no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to writing a powerful research hypothesis. As you’re reading and preparing your hypothesis, you’ll also read other hypotheses. These can help guide you on what works, and what doesn’t, when it comes to writing a strong research hypothesis.
Here are a few generic examples to get you started.
Eating an apple each day, after the age of 60, will result in a reduction of frequency of physician visits.
Budget airlines are more likely to receive more customer complaints. A budget airline is defined as an airline that offers lower fares and fewer amenities than a traditional full-service airline. (Note that the term “budget airline” is included in the hypothesis.
Workplaces that offer flexible working hours report higher levels of employee job satisfaction than workplaces with fixed hours.
Each of the above examples are specific, observable and measurable, and the statement of prediction can be verified or shown to be false by utilizing standard experimental practices. It should be noted, however, that often your hypothesis will change as your research progresses.
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Forming a Good Hypothesis for Scientific Research
Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.
Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.
Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She’s also a psychotherapist, the author of the bestselling book “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do,” and the host of The Verywell Mind Podcast.
Verywell / Alex Dos Diaz
A hypothesis is a tentative statement about the relationship between two or more variables. It is a specific, testable prediction about what you expect to happen in a study.
For example, a study designed to look at the relationship between sleep deprivation and test performance might have a hypothesis that states, “This study is designed to assess the hypothesis that sleep-deprived people will perform worse on a test than individuals who are not sleep-deprived.”
The Hypothesis in the Scientific Method
In the scientific method, whether it involves research in psychology, biology, or some other area, a hypothesis represents what the researchers think will happen in an experiment. The scientific method involves the following steps:
- Forming a question
- Performing background research
- Creating a hypothesis
- Designing an experiment
- Collecting data
- Analyzing the results
- Drawing conclusions
- Communicating the results
The hypothesis is a prediction, but it involves more than a guess. Most of the time, the hypothesis begins with a question which is then explored through background research. It is only at this point that researchers begin to develop a testable hypothesis. Unless you are creating an exploratory study, your hypothesis should always explain what you expect to happen.
In a study exploring the effects of a particular drug, the hypothesis might be that researchers expect the drug to have some type of effect on the symptoms of a specific illness. In psychology, the hypothesis might focus on how a certain aspect of the environment might influence a particular behavior.
Remember, a hypothesis does not have to be correct. While the hypothesis predicts what the researchers expect to see, the goal of the research is to determine whether this guess is right or wrong. When conducting an experiment, researchers might explore a number of factors to determine which ones might contribute to the ultimate outcome.
In many cases, researchers may find that the results of an experiment do not support the original hypothesis. When writing up these results, the researchers might suggest other options that should be explored in future studies.
Formulating a Hypothesis
In many cases, researchers might draw a hypothesis from a specific theory or build on previous research. For example, prior research has shown that stress can impact the immune system. So a researcher might hypothesize: “People with high-stress levels will be more likely to contract a common cold after being exposed to the virus than people who have low-stress levels.”
In other instances, researchers might look at commonly held beliefs or folk wisdom. “Birds of a feather flock together” is one example of folk wisdom that a psychologist might try to investigate. The researcher might pose a specific hypothesis that “People tend to select romantic partners who are similar to them in interests and educational level.”
Elements of a Good Hypothesis
When trying to come up with a good hypothesis for your own research or experiments, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is your hypothesis based on your research on a topic?
- Can your hypothesis be tested?
- Does your hypothesis include independent and dependent variables?
Before you come up with a specific hypothesis, spend some time doing background research. Once you have completed a literature review, start thinking about potential questions you still have. Pay attention to the discussion section in the journal articles you read. Many authors will suggest questions that still need to be explored.
In order to form a hypothesis, you should take these steps:
- Collect as many observations about a topic or problem as you can.
- Evaluate these observations and look for possible causes of the problem.
- Create a list of possible explanations that you might want to explore.
- After you have developed some possible hypotheses, think of ways that you could confirm or disprove each hypothesis through experimentation. This is known as falsifiability.
In the scientific method, falsifiability is an important part of any valid hypothesis. In order to test a claim scientifically, it must be possible that the claim could be proven false.
Students sometimes confuse the idea of falsifiability with the idea that it means that something is false, which is not the case. What falsifiability means is that if something was false, then it is possible to demonstrate that it is false.
One of the hallmarks of pseudoscience is that it makes claims that cannot be refuted or proven false.
A variable is a factor or element that can be changed and manipulated in ways that are observable and measurable. However, the researcher must also define how the variable will be manipulated and measured in the study.
For example, a researcher might operationally define the variable “test anxiety” as the results of a self-report measure of anxiety experienced during an exam. A “study habits” variable might be defined by the amount of studying that actually occurs as measured by time.
These precise descriptions are important because many things can be measured in a number of different ways. One of the basic principles of any type of scientific research is that the results must be replicable. By clearly detailing the specifics of how the variables were measured and manipulated, other researchers can better understand the results and repeat the study if needed.
Some variables are more difficult than others to define. How would you operationally define a variable such as aggression? For obvious ethical reasons, researchers cannot create a situation in which a person behaves aggressively toward others.
In order to measure this variable, the researcher must devise a measurement that assesses aggressive behavior without harming other people. In this situation, the researcher might utilize a simulated task to measure aggressiveness.
- Does your hypothesis focus on something that you can actually test?
- Does your hypothesis include both an independent and dependent variable?
- Can you manipulate the variables?
- Can your hypothesis be tested without violating ethical standards?
Examples of Hypotheses
A hypothesis often follows a basic format of “If then .” One way to structure your hypothesis is to describe what will happen to the dependent variable if you make changes to the independent variable.
- “Students who eat breakfast will perform better on a math exam than students who do not eat breakfast.”
- “Students who experience test anxiety prior to an English exam will get higher scores than students who do not experience test anxiety.”
- “Motorists who talk on the phone while driving will be more likely to make errors on a driving course than those who do not talk on the phone.”
Collecting Data on Your Hypothesis
Once a researcher has formed a testable hypothesis, the next step is to select a research design and start collecting data. The research method depends largely on exactly what they are studying. There are two basic types of research methods: descriptive research and experimental research.
Descriptive Research Methods
Descriptive research such as case studies, naturalistic observations, and surveys are often used when it would be impossible or difficult to conduct an experiment. These methods are best used to describe different aspects of a behavior or psychological phenomenon.
Once a researcher has collected data using descriptive methods, a correlational study can then be used to look at how the variables are related. This type of research method might be used to investigate a hypothesis that is difficult to test experimentally.
Experimental Research Methods
Experimental methods are used to demonstrate causal relationships between variables. In an experiment, the researcher systematically manipulates a variable of interest (known as the independent variable) and measures the effect on another variable (known as the dependent variable).
Unlike correlational studies, which can only be used to determine if there is a relationship between two variables, experimental methods can be used to determine the actual nature of the relationship—whether changes in one variable actually cause another to change.
A Word From Verywell
The hypothesis is a critical part of any scientific exploration. It represents what researchers expect to find in a study or experiment. In situations where the hypothesis is unsupported by the research, the research still has value. Such research helps us better understand how different aspects of the natural world relate to one another. It also helps us develop new hypotheses that can then be tested in the future.
How to Write a Hypothesis in 6 Steps
A hypothesis is a statement that explains the predictions and reasoning of your research—an “educated guess” about how your scientific experiments will end. As a fundamental part of the scientific method, a good hypothesis is carefully written, but even the simplest ones can be difficult to put into words.
Want to know how to write a hypothesis for your academic paper . Below we explain the different types of hypotheses, what a good hypothesis requires, the steps to write your own, and plenty of examples.
What is a hypothesis?
One of our 10 essential words for university success , a hypothesis is one of the earliest stages of the scientific method. It’s essentially an educated guess—based on observations—of what the results of your experiment or research will be.
If you’ve noticed that watering your plants every day makes them grow faster, your hypothesis might be “plants grow better with regular watering.” From there, you can begin experiments to test your hypothesis; in this example, you might set aside two plants, water one but not the other, and then record the results to see the differences.
The language of hypotheses always discusses variables , or the elements that you’re testing. Variables can be objects, events, concepts, etc.—whatever is observable.
There are two types of variables: independent and dependent. Independent variables are the ones that you change for your experiment, whereas dependent variables are the ones that you can only observe. In the above example, our independent variable is how often we water the plants and the dependent variable is how well they grow.
Hypotheses determine the direction and organization of your subsequent research methods, and that makes them a big part of writing a research paper . Ultimately the reader wants to know whether your hypothesis was proven true or false, so it must be written clearly in the introduction and/or abstract of your paper.
7 main types of hypotheses (with examples)
Depending on the nature of your research and what you expect to find, your hypothesis will fall into one or more of the seven main categories. Keep in mind that these categories are not exclusive, so the same hypothesis might qualify as several different types.
1 Simple hypothesis
A simple hypothesis suggests only the relationship between two variables: one independent and one dependent.
- If you stay up late, then you feel tired the next day.
- Turning off your phone makes it charge faster.
2 Complex hypothesis
A complex hypothesis suggests the relationship between more than two variables, for example, two independents and one dependent, or vice versa.
- People who both (1) eat a lot of fatty foods and (2) have a family history of health problems are more likely to develop heart diseases.
- Older people who live in rural areas are happier than younger people who live in rural areas.
3 Null hypothesis
A null hypothesis, abbreviated as H 0 , suggests that there is no relationship between variables.
- There is no difference in plant growth when using either bottled water or tap water.
- Professional psychics do not win the lottery more than other people.
4 Alternative hypothesis
An alternative hypothesis, abbreviated as H 1 or H A , is used in conjunction with a null hypothesis. It states the opposite of the null hypothesis, so that one and only one must be true.
- Plants grow better with bottled water than tap water.
- Professional psychics win the lottery more than other people.
5 Logical hypothesis
A logical hypothesis suggests a relationship between variables without actual evidence. Claims are instead based on reasoning or deduction, but lack actual data.
- An alien raised on Venus would have trouble breathing in Earth’s atmosphere.
- Dinosaurs with sharp, pointed teeth were probably carnivores.
6 Empirical hypothesis
An empirical hypothesis, also known as a “working hypothesis,” is one that is currently being tested. Unlike logical hypotheses, empirical hypotheses rely on concrete data.
- Customers at restaurants will tip the same even if the wait staff’s base salary is raised.
- Washing your hands every hour can reduce the frequency of illness.
7 Statistical hypothesis
A statistical hypothesis is when you test only a sample of a population and then apply statistical evidence to the results to draw a conclusion about the entire population. Instead of testing everything , you test only a portion and generalize the rest based on preexisting data.
- In humans, the birth-gender ratio of males to females is 1.05 to 1.00.
- Approximately 2% of the world population has natural red hair.
What makes a good hypothesis?
No matter what you’re testing, a good hypothesis is written according to the same guidelines. In particular, keep these five characteristics in mind:
Cause and effect
Hypotheses always include a cause-and-effect relationship where one variable causes another to change (or not change if you’re using a null hypothesis). This can best be reflected as an if-then statement: If one variable occurs, then another variable changes.
Most hypotheses are designed to be tested (with the exception of logical hypotheses). Before committing to a hypothesis, make sure you’re actually able to conduct experiments on it. Choose a testable hypothesis with an independent variable that you have absolute control over.
Independent and dependent variables
Define your variables in your hypothesis so your readers understand the big picture. You don’t have to specifically say which ones are independent and dependent variables, but you definitely want to mention them all.
Academic writing can easily get convoluted, so make sure your hypothesis remains as simple and clear as possible. Readers use your hypothesis as a contextual pillar to unify your entire paper, so there should be no confusion or ambiguity. If you’re unsure about your phrasing, try reading your hypothesis to a friend to see if they understand.
Adherence to ethics
It’s not always about what you can test, but what you should test. Avoid hypotheses that require questionable or taboo experiments to keep ethics (and therefore, credibility) intact.
How to write a hypothesis in 6 steps
1 Ask a question
Curiosity has inspired some of history’s greatest scientific achievements, so a good place to start is to ask yourself questions about the world around you. Why are things the way they are? What causes the factors you see around you? If you can, choose a research topic that you’re interested in so your curiosity comes naturally.
2 Conduct preliminary research
Next, collect some background information on your topic. How much background information you need depends on what you’re attempting. It could require reading several books, or it could be as simple as performing a web search for a quick answer. You don’t necessarily have to prove or disprove your hypothesis at this stage; rather, collect only what you need to prove or disprove it yourself.
3 Define your variables
Once you have an idea of what your hypothesis will be, select which variables are independent and which are dependent. Remember that independent variables can only be factors that you have absolute control over, so consider the limits of your experiment before finalizing your hypothesis.
4 Phrase it as an if-then statement
When writing a hypothesis, it helps to phrase it using an if-then format, such as, “ If I water a plant every day, then it will grow better.” This format can get tricky when dealing with multiple variables, but in general, it’s a reliable method for expressing the cause-and-effect relationship you’re testing.
5 Collect data to support your hypothesis
A hypothesis is merely a means to an end. The priority of any scientific research is the conclusion. Once you have your hypothesis laid out and your variables chosen, you can then begin your experiments. Ideally, you’ll collect data to support your hypothesis, but don’t worry if your research ends up proving it wrong—that’s all part of the scientific method.
6 Write with confidence
Last, you’ll want to record your findings in a research paper for others to see. This requires a bit of writing know-how, quite a different skill set than conducting experiments.
That’s where Grammarly can be a major help; our writing suggestions point out not only grammar and spelling mistakes, but also new word choices and better phrasing. While you write, Grammarly automatically recommends optimal language and highlights areas where readers might get confused, ensuring that your hypothesis—and your final paper—are clear and polished.
How to Write a Good Research Hypothesis
Everybody, including you, is pretty familiar with this phrase or statement, as it represents the beginning of a scientific paper or a project. However, this statement is nothing but a hypothesis. It resembles your thought of what will happen while or after performing the experiments. Moreover, this statement can be curated only based on knowledge, facts, and data you already possess.
A hypothesis is one of the essential elements of a scientific research paper. It is an assumption or idea built on your understanding of evidence and requires you to prove it via relevant facts and examples.
A hypothesis is an indication of the expected results of an experiment. In scientific methods, a hypothesis is used as a foundation for future research. Once you fully understand the concept behind the hypothesis and its appropriate structure, you will not find it harder to create. However, if it is the first time you are an early-stage researcher, then it might become an exhausting and frustrating task. In this article, you will learn everything from scratch, i.e., what a hypothesis is, its types, and practical tips to write one.
A hypothesis is an assumption or perhaps a tentative explanation for a specific process or phenomenon that has been observed during research. Very often, a hypothesis and a guess are treated the same. However, a hypothesis is a calculated and educated guess proven or disproven through research methods.
Based on the facts and evidence you gather during research, you can transform an initial research question into a logical & rational prediction i.e. the hypothesis. Every research is conducted to solve a specific problem. To fulfill that, one has to undertake the route of problem identification, conduct initial research and then, figure out the answer by performing various experiments and observing its outcome. However, before conducting the experiments or the surveys related to the research, you must understand and acknowledge what you expect from the results. At this point, you are supposed to make your educated and calculated hypothesis and translate it into a scientific statement that you will be either proving or refuting within the course of your study.
A hypothesis reflects your understanding of the problem statement and as a form of development of knowledge. Therefore, you need to articulate your hypothesis in a way that should appear as a justifiable assumption to study the properties and causes of the phenomenon in the research topic.
Characteristics and Sources of Hypotheses:
Now that you have gained pretty much an idea about a hypothesis, it’s time that you understand its characteristics.
- A research hypothesis has to be simple yet clear to look reliable and justifiable enough.
- It has to be precise about the results.
- A research hypothesis should be written in a self-explanatory manner with its significance staying intact.
- If you are developing a relational hypothesis, you need to include the variables and establish an appropriate relationship among them.
- A hypothesis must keep and reflect the scope for further investigations and experiments.
Similar to the characteristics of a research hypothesis, there exist many sources through which you can hypothesize your research problem. The primary sources that you can refer to while creating a hypothesis for your research are:
- Scientific paper and theories from the domain of your research topic.
- Observations from previous experiments and recent theories
- A general paradigm that runs through the research domain of a specific topic
- Resemblance and relativity among various research topics
While going through these sources, you must ensure all the sources are credible and scholarly.
Types of Hypotheses
To create a good hypothesis, you need to understand the concept of hypotheses completely. Therefore, before starting to write, it is important that you first understand the different types of hypotheses.
Majorly, there exist only two types, i.e., the Alternative hypothesis and Null Hypothesis.
1. Alternative Hypothesis
In the academic domain, it is very often denoted as H1. The significance of this kind is to identify the expected outcome of your research procedure. Additionally, it is further classified into two subcategories:
a. Directional: A statement that defines the ways through which the expected results will be gathered. It is generally used in the cases where you need to establish a relationship between various variables rather than making any comparison between multiple groups. For example, Attending physiotherapy sessions will improve the on-field performance of athletes.
b. No directional: As the name suggests, a non-directional alternative hypothesis doesn’t suggest any direction for the expected outcomes. For example, Attending physiotherapy sessions influence the on-field performance of athletes.
Now in the above two examples, carefully observe the two statements. The directional statement specifies that physiotherapy sessions will improve or boost performance. On the other hand, the non-directional statement helps establish a correlation between the two variables (physiotherapy sessions and performance). However, it does not emphasize whether the performance will be good or bad due to physiotherapy sessions.
2. Null Hypothesis
A null hypothesis is denoted as H0. A null hypothesis exists as opposed to an alternative hypothesis. It is a statement that defines the opposite of the expected results or outcomes throughout your research. In simpler terms, a null hypothesis is used to establish a claim that no relationship exists between the variables defined in the hypothesis.
To give you an idea about how to write a null hypothesis, the last example can be stated as:
The physiotherapy sessions do not affect athletes’ on-field performance.
Both the null and alternative hypotheses are written to provide specific clarifications and examination of the research problem. So, to clarify confusion, the difference between a research problem statement and a hypothesis is that the former is just a question that can’t be validated or tested. In contrast, the latter can be tested, validated, or denied.
3. Simple Hypothesis
It is a statement that is made to reflect the relation between the dependent and independent variables. Follow through the example, and you will understand,
a. Smoking is a prominent cause of lung cancer
b. Intake of sugar-rich foods can lead to obesity
4. Complex Hypothesis
A complex hypothesis implies the relationship between multiple dependent or independent variables stated in the research problem. Follow through the below examples for better clarity on this:
a. Individuals who eat more fruits tend to have higher immunity, lesser cholesterol, and high metabolism.
b. Including short breaks during work hours can lead to higher concentration and boost productivity.
5. Empirical Hypothesis
It is also referred to as the “Working Hypothesis.” This type of claim is made when a theory is being validated through an experiment and observation. This way, the statement appears justifiable enough and different from a wild guess.
Here are a few examples through which you can learn to create an empirical hypothesis:
a. Women who take iron tablets face a lesser risk of anemia than those women who take vitamin B12.
b. Canines learn faster if they are provided with food immediately after they obey a command.
6. Statistical Hypothesis
A statement claiming an explanation after studying a sample of the population is called a statistical hypothesis. It is a type of logic-based analysis where you research a specific population and gather evidence through a particular sample size.
Below are some hypothetical statistical statements to understand how you can conduct your research leveraging statistical data :
a. 44% of the Indian population belong in the age group of 22-27
b. 47% of the rural population in India is involved in agro-based activities.
Difference between Hypothesis and Prediction
Hypothesis and prediction are very often used interchangeably, and that creates confusion. Although both the hypothesis and prediction can be treated as guesses, there lies much difference between the two terms. Since we are talking about research hypotheses and in the context of the academic domain, the words bear much relevance here. Therefore it is forbidden to use hypotheses for prediction or otherwise. So, the significant difference between a hypothesis and a prediction is that the first is predominantly used in the academic world related to research on various topics. In contrast, prediction can be used anywhere and need not be validated, defined, or tested.
In simpler terms, a hypothesis is a calculated, intelligent assumption tested and validated through research. It aims to analyze the gathered evidence and facts to define a relationship between variables and put forth a logical explanation behind the nature of events.
On the other hand, predictions are vague assumptions or claims made without backing data or evidence. You can test it and have to wait to check if the prediction will become true or not. Although a prediction can be even scientific majorly, it is seen that predictions are somewhat fictional, not based on data or facts. Predictions are more often observed as a foretelling of any future event that may or may not ever happen.
To emphasize in a better manner the difference between a hypothesis and a prediction, follow through the below-mentioned example:
Hypothesis: Having smaller and frequent meals can lead to a higher metabolism rate.
This is a pure scientific hypothesis based on previous knowledge and the trends that have been observed in many individuals. Additionally, it can be tested by putting some individuals under observation.
Prediction: There will be zero COVID-19 cases in the world by 2030.
Now, this is a prediction. Even though it is based on definite facts and the trends of past results, it can’t be tested with certainty for success or failure. So the only way this gets validated is to wait and watch if the covid cases end by 2030.
How to Write a Hypothesis?
Attentively follow through the below-mentioned steps that you can leverage to create a compelling hypothesis for your research.
1. Identify and Clearly Describe your Research Question
A hypothesis should be written in a way that should address the research question or the problem statement. You first need to understand the constraints of your undertaken research topic and then formulate a clear, simple, and topic-centered problem statement. Once you have the problem statement, you can ask the right question to test the validity of the problem statement or research question. For answering a research question, there should be a hypothetical statement that you should prove through your research.
For example: How does attending physiotherapy sessions can affect an athlete’s on-field performance?
2. Carry Out an Initial Preliminary Research
At this stage, you need to go through the previous theories, academic papers, and previous studies and experiments to start curating your research hypothesis. Next, you must gather evidence and prepare a research methodology to carry out your experiments. Here itself, try figuring out the answer to the research question.
You need to design a conceptual and rational framework to identify which variables.
(both dependent and independent) over which your hypothesis will focus. Additionally, you need to discover the relationship between various variables.
3. Make the First Draft of your Hypothesis
After undertaking and finalizing the initial research, you will get an idea about the expected outcomes and results. Leveraging this, you need to create a simple, concise, and first version of your hypothesis.
Depending upon the chosen research domain and its topic, you can rephrase the answer to the problem statement via a hypothesis in specific ways.
a. Non- directional: Attending physiotherapy sessions will influence the on-field performance of athletes.
b. Directional: Attending physiotherapy sessions will boost the on-field performance of athletes.
c. Null: Attending physiotherapy sessions will not affect the on-field performance of athletes.
4. Skim your Hypothesis
After preparing the first draft of your hypothesis, you need to check whether the hypothesis addresses the problem statement or not. You need to ensure that the hypothesis statement is straightforward-focused on the research topic and is testable. To further refine your first draft of the hypothesis, you must check the presence of some aspects in your hypothesis:
a. It has clear, relevant, and defined variables.
b. An appropriate relationship exists between the variables.
c. It is accurate and signifies its capacity to go under testing and validation.
d. It must showcase a specific result or outcome through certain experiments.
5. Create a 3-Dimensional Phrase of your Hypothesis Statement
To appropriately recognize the various variables to be used, you can write the hypothetical assumption in the “if..then” form. Here, you must ensure that the first part of the hypothesis should contain the independent variable and the second part should contain the dependent variable.
For example, if athletes start attending physiotherapy sessions, then their on-field performance will improve.
It’s common in the academic domain to present the hypothesis in terms of correlation and its effects. If you choose to use this form of phrase as a research hypothesis, make sure that you state the predefined relationship between the variables.
For example, Attending physiotherapy sessions lead to the better on-field performance of athletes.
In another way, you can choose to present your hypothesis as a comparison between two variables. Also, you must specify the difference that you expect to observe in the results.
For example, Athletes attending physiotherapy sessions will have better on-field performance than those who never attend any physiotherapy sessions.
6. Create a Null Hypothesis
If your research procedure involves some statistical hypothesis testing, you need to provide a null hypothesis statement. As previously discussed, a null hypothesis is used to represent or show no relation between different variables.
For example, attending physiotherapy sessions does not affect the on-field performance of athletes.
Quick Tips on How to Write a Hypothesis
Follow the below-mentioned points to find some pro tips that you must keep in mind for writing a good hypothesis.
- Always try to create a hypothesis that interestingly addresses the problem statement.
- Keep the hypothesis statement short yet entirely focused over the problem statement phrased in an utmost clear and concise manner.
- Make sure the initial research has been done thoroughly, and you have gone through all the relevant scholarly sources related to your chosen research topic.
- Accurately define the variables that you will be using in the hypothesis, and through the course of the research,
- Always keep your audience in your mind while creating any statements or paraphrasing any related theories. In academia, the audience being the researchers and scholars, bear the knowledge of the relationship that exists between various phenomena and experiments.
A hypothesis is just a statement representing your understanding of the answer to the problem statement of the research. It showcases how you will proceed with the experiments to test the hypothesis and interpret the expected outcome.
Review: ‘The Love Hypothesis’ is a Guide to Feeling Something on Valentines Day
Protagonist Adam Carlsen is the silver lining of BookTok.
Reading “The Love Hypothesis” feels like gaining all the perks of graduate school without actually having to attend a university. Author Ali Hazelwood creates a fake relationship between cheery Olive Smith, a Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University, and standoffish Adam Carlsen, a tenured professor and MacArthur Fellow. When Anh, Olive’s best friend, starts dating Olive’s former fling, Olive attempts to show that she is unbothered. Olive tells Anh that she’s also dating someone, and to prove it, Olive kisses the first man she sees: Adam. To her surprise, Adam then proposes the idea of “fake-dating” for their mutual benefit. Adam can project the image of having “roots” at Stanford so his department will stop expecting his departure after the completion of his research, and Olive can keep up her lie to Anh. The cliche of fake-dating, while drastically overused, still finds a way to my heart each time.
The novel is unique in that it falls within the “New Adult” genre, a developing genre that highlights the stories of 18-30 year old protagonists and is intended for those who have recently graduated from the Young Adult novel. I am always wary of books I find on BookTok, the corner of TikTok for literature enthusiasts, which only look good in 15 second videos and will not stick with me for years. However, after four mediocre books and countless hours scrolling through the trenches of that damned social media app, I finally found a book I thoroughly enjoyed.
My taste in books entirely depends on the writing style and the pace of the book; I like long sentences with seven semicolons and descriptions that take up half of the page. While this book did not hold up to the writing style of Jane Austen, it was very accessible to read, while being complex and entertaining at the same time. “The Love Hypothesis” was perfectly paced, making me invested in each part of the book. I understood every obstacle the characters encountered and felt how much each one wanted their respective goal.
All the characters are graduate students or older, and they act the way that people in their mid-to-late twenties act. The book is meant for new adults, and that tone is set throughout the entire book. I also appreciated that the age gap in the relationship was socially acceptable, as Olive is 26 and Adam is 34. While there is a very obvious power imbalance, their relationship still feels equal. The characters respond in mature ways to each other. Even in places where I anticipated the plotlines, the characters kept me on my toes and made me excited for the next chapter.
While reading romance books feels like something that should be said in hushed tones, it is the most popular book genre at the moment. In fact, it hasn’t fallen out of the top five best selling book genres since its publication. The purpose of romance novels is to fall in love with the characters as they fall in and out of love themselves. Shakespeare wrote about love because it is easy to create problems out of something so human. In my opinion, this genre is the most special thing to come out of literature because it shows that people take interest in romantic connections. This interest is why new relationships are always in pop culture (Kim and Pete, anyone?) and news and divorces are talked about for months. So, when given the opportunity to devour all the drama in a fictional relationship, readers latch onto it.
“The Love Hypothesis” also includes my favorite trope: grumpy-sunshine. This trope is defined by two protagonists whose personalities are antithetical to one another. Hazelwood’s only flaw in writing this book” is that Adam’s character is slightly underdeveloped. The idea of a mysterious, aloof man with whom readers are meant to fall in love can only be executed if he actually possesses those characteristics. While Adam is a heart-throb throughout the novel, his character was never given a chance to shine; readers rarely get a sense of his actions and the way in which he communicates. Where Hazelwood would animate Olive with pieces of dialogue: “‘Oh, no.’ She shook her head empathetically,” Adam would simply have: “‘Sure.’”
While this book seeks to entertain, it also contains social commentary, as all books should. The book has the perfect balance between rom-com and real-life commentary about women in academia. While reading it, I felt the purpose of the book was to shine light on sexism in a patriarchal field. In the author’s note, Hazelwood emphasizes her need to make the setting at Stanford, because academia is a familiar territory for her. Hazelwood wanted to be transparent about her experience in academia and the dynamic women have with each other and their male counterparts in such a rigorous field. Hazelwood describes that, while her experiences in academia have “not been the same as Olive’s” — no fake dating for her — she still wanted to pour the “frustrations, joys and disappointments” that come with academic endeavors into a book.
I read this book for the same reason anyone reads romance novels: to feel something. I wanted tension and anger and frustrations to excite my life while the sun sets at 5 p.m. Valentine’s Day is coming up and I needed a man to gush over, someone who I could talk to my friends about without worrying whether or not he would text back. With “The Love Hypothesis,” I got a light-hearted and easy read for my favorite holiday.