Research Hypothesis – Types, Examples Characteristics, and Sources

Research Hypothesis

A research hypothesis is referred to as a scientific hypothesis. This is a clear, specific, and testable statement that predicts the expected result in a scientific study. It is a prediction, reasonable guess, and logical supposition about the relationship between the variables. A research hypothesis is an integral and central part of research whether it is exploratory or explanatory, qualitative or quantitative. It creates the base of scientific experiments. So, you must be very careful while building any hypothesis.

A hypothesis can be correct or wrong. It is tested through experiments or research to determine whether it is correct or incorrect.

Functions of research  hypothesis

There are major functions of research hypothesis that are as follow:

  1. It helps in making observations and experiments possible.
  2. It is the basic point for the research.
  3. It verifies the observations.
  4. It leads the inquiries in the right regulation.
  5. It provides the extension of knowledge.
  6. It helps to explore different aspects of the research.
  7. It introduces different research techniques.
  8. It ensures the precision and accuracy of the results of the research.
  9. It enables the researcher to be focused. Because without a hypothesis, he may focus on unnecessary aspects and wastes his resources like time, money, and effort.

Sources of hypothesis

Following are the sources of the hypothesis:

  1. Scientific theories
  2. Personal experience
  3. Observation
  4. Imagination and thinking
  5. Previous study
  6. Culture
  7. General patterns

Characteristics of an effective research hypothesis

Following are the characteristics of an effective research hypothesis:

  1. It must be logical.
  2. It must be simple and clear.
  3. It needs to be precise.
  4. It must identify the research objectives.
  5. It must be empirically testable with experimentation and research.
  6. It must be manageable.
  7. It must be relevant and specific to the theme of the research.
  8. It must be predictable.
  9. It must be falsifiable.
  10. It must be neither specific nor general.
  11. It must be considered valuable even if it proves false.

Types of research hypothesis

Following are the types of research hypotheses.

  • Simple hypothesis

It shows a relationship between a single dependent variable and an independent variable. For instance, if you take in more carbs and fats, you will gain obesity. Here taking more carbs and fats are an independent variable and gaining weight is the dependent variable.

  • Complex hypothesis

It predicts the relationship between two or more independent variables and dependent variables. For example, we can say that taking in more carbs and fats can cause obesity along with other problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, and so on.

  • Directional hypothesis 

Typically, directional hypotheses are derived from theory. This type of hypothesis shows the researcher’s intellectual commitment towards a specific outcome. The researcher predicts the existence and nature of a relationship between variables.

  • Non-directional hypothesis

The non-directional hypothesis is used when there is no theory and the findings of studies are contradictory.  It shows the relationship between two variables but does not set down the expected direction or nature of the relationship.

  • Null hypothesis

Null hypotheses are made when there is no empirical and adequate theoretical information to show a hypothesis. The null hypothesis negates the relationship between variables. It is denoted by Ho. This hypothesis is made when the researcher wants to reject or disapprove the null hypothesis. It is contrary to what an experimenter or investigator expects. The purpose is to confirm the existence of a relationship between the variables.

The null hypothesis can be:

  1. Associative or causal
  2. Simple or complex


1. Alternative hypothesis

When a hypothesis is rejected, then another hypothesis is made to be tested and show the desired results. This is called an alternative hypothesis. It is opposite to the null hypothesis and is made to disprove that hypothesis. This hypothesis is denoted by H1.

2. Statistical hypothesis

As the name mentions, this hypothesis has the quality to be verified statistically. It is tested by using quantitative techniques. The variables in this hypothesis are quantifiable and can also transform into quantifiable indicators to verify it statistically.

  • Empirical hypothesis

This hypothesis is used when a theory is tested with observation and experiment. It is just a notion or idea. This hypothesis goes through trial and error by changing independent variables. The series of trial and error helps to find the best result. The outcomes of these experiments can be proven over time.

  • Associative and causal hypothesis

The associative hypothesis shows interdependency between variables. Any change in one variable causes the change in another variable. Whereas, the causal hypothesis shows a cause and effect between variables.

How to formulate a research hypothesis

There are some important points you must consider while formulating a hypothesis:

  • Ask a question

The first and foremost thing for creating a research hypothesis is to generate a research question. The question should be specific, focused, and researchable within the limitations of your project.

  • Do preliminary research

Now try to find the answer to your question. The initial answer must be based on previous knowledge about the topic. Concern theories and previous studies and try to form assumptions about what you will find in your research.

Create a conceptual framework about different variables you are going to study and the relationships between them.

  • Formulate the hypothesis

Now you have an idea of what you are expecting to find. Make a clear and concise answer to the question.

  • Refine your hypothesis

Now check whether your hypothesis is testable. There must be clear definitions of your hypothesis while phrasing. It should contain:

  • The relevant variables

The particular group being studied.

The predicted result of the analysis or experiment

  • Phrase your hypothesis in three ways

To recognize the variables, write a prediction in (if-then) form. Like, if a particular action is taken, a certain result is expected. The first part of the phrase shows the independent variable while the second part shows the dependent variable.

  • Write a null hypothesis

If the research requires statistical hypothesis testing, you must have to make a null hypothesis and an alternative hypothesis.

Now test your hypothesis through observations, techniques, and experiments by keeping necessary things and resources in consideration.


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