A research hypothesis is a tentative statement or proposition that suggests a relationship between variables or predicts an outcome in a research study. It is an educated guess or assumption that guides the research process and serves as a starting point for investigation.
The research hypothesis is formulated based on existing knowledge, theories, observations, or prior research findings. It typically states the expected relationship or difference between variables or predicts the direction or nature of the effect being investigated.
Key characteristics of a research hypothesis include:
- Testability: A research hypothesis should be testable through empirical investigation. This means that it should be possible to collect data and analyze it to determine whether the hypothesis is supported or not.
- Specificity: A research hypothesis should be clear, specific, and focused. It should precisely state the variables involved and the expected relationship between them.
- Falsifiability: A research hypothesis should be falsifiable, meaning that there must be the potential for it to be proven false or rejected. This is important for scientific inquiry as it allows researchers to challenge and refine their hypotheses through empirical evidence.
- Connection to Research Question: A research hypothesis should be directly related to the research question or problem being addressed. It provides a potential answer or explanation to the research question and guides the research design and data analysis.
Examples of research hypotheses:
- “There is a positive correlation between exercise frequency and cardiovascular fitness levels.”
- “Increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere lead to a rise in global average temperature.”
- “Children exposed to violent media are more likely to display aggressive behavior.”
These hypotheses can be tested through data collection, statistical analysis, and comparison of results to determine whether they are supported or rejected. If supported, they contribute to the existing knowledge and understanding of the phenomenon under investigation. If rejected, they may lead to the formulation of new hypotheses or the revision of existing theories.