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What is Hypothesis?

We have heard of many hypotheses which have led to great inventions in science. Assumptions that are made on the basis of some evidence are known as hypotheses. In this article, let us learn in detail about the hypothesis and the type of hypothesis with examples.

A hypothesis is an assumption that is made based on some evidence. This is the initial point of any investigation that translates the research questions into predictions. It includes components like variables, population and the relation between the variables. A research hypothesis is a hypothesis that is used to test the relationship between two or more variables.

Characteristics of Hypothesis

Following are the characteristics of the hypothesis:

Sources of Hypothesis

Following are the sources of hypothesis:

Types of Hypothesis

There are six forms of hypothesis and they are:

Simple Hypothesis

It shows a relationship between one dependent variable and a single independent variable. For example – If you eat more vegetables, you will lose weight faster. Here, eating more vegetables is an independent variable, while losing weight is the dependent variable.

Complex Hypothesis

It shows the relationship between two or more dependent variables and two or more independent variables. Eating more vegetables and fruits leads to weight loss, glowing skin, and reduces the risk of many diseases such as heart disease.

Directional Hypothesis

It shows how a researcher is intellectual and committed to a particular outcome. The relationship between the variables can also predict its nature. For example- children aged four years eating proper food over a five-year period are having higher IQ levels than children not having a proper meal. This shows the effect and direction of the effect.

Non-directional Hypothesis

It is used when there is no theory involved. It is a statement that a relationship exists between two variables, without predicting the exact nature (direction) of the relationship.

Null Hypothesis

It provides a statement which is contrary to the hypothesis. It’s a negative statement, and there is no relationship between independent and dependent variables. The symbol is denoted by “H O ”.

Associative and Causal Hypothesis

Associative hypothesis occurs when there is a change in one variable resulting in a change in the other variable. Whereas, the causal hypothesis proposes a cause and effect interaction between two or more variables.

Examples of Hypothesis

Following are the examples of hypotheses based on their types:

Functions of Hypothesis

Following are the functions performed by the hypothesis:

How will Hypothesis help in the Scientific Method?

Researchers use hypotheses to put down their thoughts directing how the experiment would take place. Following are the steps that are involved in the scientific method:

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

What is hypothesis.

A hypothesis is an assumption made based on some evidence.

Give an example of simple hypothesis?

What are the types of hypothesis.

Types of hypothesis are:

State true or false: Hypothesis is the initial point of any investigation that translates the research questions into a prediction.

Define complex hypothesis..

A complex hypothesis shows the relationship between two or more dependent variables and two or more independent variables.

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Characteristics of hypothesis

Posted by Admin | Aug 6, 2021 | Research Methodology

A hypothesis is usually considered the principal instrument in research. Its main function is to suggest new experiments and observations. In fact, many experiments are carried out with the deliberate object of testing hypotheses. Decision-makers often face situations wherein they are interested in testing hypotheses on the basis of available information and then take decisions on the basis of such testing. A researcher’s hypothesis is a formal question that he intends to resolve. Some of the characteristics of the hypothesis are being:

Characteristics of hypothesis - Characteristics of hypothesis

References: Research Methodology Methods and Techniques by C.R. Kothari

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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:

Sources of hypothesis

Following are the sources of the hypothesis:

Characteristics of an effective research hypothesis

Following are the characteristics of an effective research hypothesis:

Types of research hypothesis

Following are the types of research hypotheses.

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.

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.

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.

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 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. 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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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

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

The particular group being studied.

The predicted result of the analysis or experiment

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.

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.

hypothesis characteristics

Related Posts:

SciSpace Resources

The Craft of Writing a Strong Hypothesis

Deeptanshu D

Table of Contents

Writing a hypothesis is one of the essential elements of a scientific research paper. It needs to be to the point, clearly communicating what your research is trying to accomplish. A blurry, drawn-out, or complexly-structured hypothesis can confuse your readers. Or worse, the editor and peer reviewers.

A captivating hypothesis is not too intricate. This blog will take you through the process so that, by the end of it, you have a better idea of how to convey your research paper's intent in just one sentence.

What is a Hypothesis?

The first step in your scientific endeavor, a hypothesis, is a strong, concise statement that forms the basis of your research. It is not the same as a thesis statement , which is a brief summary of your research paper.

The sole purpose of a hypothesis is to predict your paper's findings, data, and conclusion. It comes from a place of curiosity and intuition . When you write a hypothesis, you're essentially making an educated guess based on scientific prejudices and evidence, which is further proven or disproven through the scientific method.

The reason for undertaking research is to observe a specific phenomenon. A hypothesis, therefore, lays out what the said phenomenon is. And it does so through two variables, an independent and dependent variable.

The independent variable is the cause behind the observation, while the dependent variable is the effect of the cause. A good example of this is “mixing red and blue forms purple.” In this hypothesis, mixing red and blue is the independent variable as you're combining the two colors at your own will. The formation of purple is the dependent variable as, in this case, it is conditional to the independent variable.

Different Types of Hypotheses‌


Types of hypotheses

Some would stand by the notion that there are only two types of hypotheses: a Null hypothesis and an Alternative hypothesis. While that may have some truth to it, it would be better to fully distinguish the most common forms as these terms come up so often, which might leave you out of context.

Apart from Null and Alternative, there are Complex, Simple, Directional, Non-Directional, Statistical, and Associative and casual hypotheses. They don't necessarily have to be exclusive, as one hypothesis can tick many boxes, but knowing the distinctions between them will make it easier for you to construct your own.

1. Null hypothesis

A null hypothesis proposes no relationship between two variables. Denoted by H 0 , it is a negative statement like “Attending physiotherapy sessions does not affect athletes' on-field performance.” Here, the author claims physiotherapy sessions have no effect on on-field performances. Even if there is, it's only a coincidence.

2. Alternative hypothesis

Considered to be the opposite of a null hypothesis, an alternative hypothesis is donated as H1 or Ha. It explicitly states that the dependent variable affects the independent variable. A good  alternative hypothesis example is “Attending physiotherapy sessions improves athletes' on-field performance.” or “Water evaporates at 100 °C. ” The alternative hypothesis further branches into directional and non-directional.

3. Simple hypothesis

A simple hypothesis is a statement made to reflect the relation between exactly two variables. One independent and one dependent. Consider the example, “Smoking is a prominent cause of lung cancer." The dependent variable, lung cancer, is dependent on the independent variable, smoking.

4. Complex hypothesis

In contrast to a simple hypothesis, a complex hypothesis implies the relationship between multiple independent and dependent variables. For instance, “Individuals who eat more fruits tend to have higher immunity, lesser cholesterol, and high metabolism.” The independent variable is eating more fruits, while the dependent variables are higher immunity, lesser cholesterol, and high metabolism.

5. Associative and casual hypothesis

Associative and casual hypotheses don't exhibit how many variables there will be. They define the relationship between the variables. In an associative hypothesis, changing any one variable, dependent or independent, affects others. In a casual hypothesis, the independent variable directly affects the dependent.

6. Empirical hypothesis

Also referred to as the working hypothesis, an empirical hypothesis claims a theory's validation via experiments and observation. This way, the statement appears justifiable and different from a wild guess.

Say, the hypothesis is “Women who take iron tablets face a lesser risk of anemia than those who take vitamin B12.” This is an example of an empirical hypothesis where the researcher  the statement after assessing a group of women who take iron tablets and charting the findings.

7. Statistical hypothesis

The point of a statistical hypothesis is to test an already existing hypothesis by studying a population sample. Hypothesis like “44% of the Indian population belong in the age group of 22-27.” leverage evidence to prove or disprove a particular statement.

Characteristics of a Good Hypothesis

Writing a hypothesis is essential as it can make or break your research for you. That includes your chances of getting published in a journal. So when you're designing one, keep an eye out for these pointers:

Separating a Hypothesis from a Prediction

Outside of academia, hypothesis and prediction are often used interchangeably. In research writing, this is not only confusing but also incorrect. And although a hypothesis and prediction are guesses at their core, there are many differences between them.

A hypothesis is an educated guess or even a testable prediction 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.

Predictions are assumptions or expected outcomes made without any backing evidence. They are more fictionally inclined regardless of where they originate from.

For this reason, a hypothesis holds much more weight than a prediction. It sticks to the scientific method rather than pure guesswork. "Planets revolve around the Sun." is an example of a hypothesis as it is previous knowledge and observed trends. Additionally, we can test it through the scientific method.

Whereas "COVID-19 will be eradicated by 2030." is a prediction. Even though it results from past trends, we can't prove or disprove it. So, the only way this gets validated is to wait and watch if COVID-19 cases end by 2030.

Finally, How to Write a Hypothesis

Quick Tips on How to Write a Hypothesis

Quick tips on writing a hypothesis

1.  Be clear about your research question

A hypothesis should instantly address the research question or the problem statement. To do so, you need to ask a question. Understand the constraints of your undertaken research topic and then formulate a simple and topic-centric problem. Only after that can you develop a hypothesis and further test for evidence.

2. Carry out a recce

Once you have your research's foundation laid out, it would be best to conduct preliminary research. Go through previous theories, academic papers, data, and experiments before you start curating your research hypothesis. It will give you an idea of your hypothesis's viability or originality.

Making use of references from relevant research papers helps draft a good research hypothesis. SciSpace Discover offers a repository of over 270 million research papers to browse through and gain a deeper understanding of related studies on a particular topic. Additionally, you can use SciSpace Copilot , your AI research assistant, for reading any lengthy research paper and getting a more summarized context of it. A hypothesis can be formed after evaluating many such summarized research papers. Copilot also offers explanations for theories and equations, explains paper in simplified version, allows you to highlight any text in the paper or clip math equations and tables and provides a deeper, clear understanding of what is being said. This can improve the hypothesis by helping you identify potential research gaps.

3. Create a 3-dimensional hypothesis

Variables are an essential part of any reasonable hypothesis. So, identify your independent and dependent variable(s) and form a correlation between them. The ideal way to do this is to write the hypothetical assumption in the ‘if-then' form. If you use this form, make sure that you state the predefined relationship between the variables.

In another way, you can choose to present your hypothesis as a comparison between two variables. Here, you must specify the difference you expect to observe in the results.

4. Write the first draft

Now that everything is in place, it's time to write your hypothesis. For starters, create the first draft. In this version, write what you expect to find from your research.

Clearly separate your independent and dependent variables and the link between them. Don't fixate on syntax at this stage. The goal is to ensure your hypothesis addresses the issue.

5. Proof your hypothesis

After preparing the first draft of your hypothesis, you need to inspect it thoroughly. It should tick all the boxes, like being concise, straightforward, relevant, and accurate. Your final hypothesis has to be well-structured as well.

Research projects are an exciting and crucial part of being a scholar. And once you have your research question, you need a great hypothesis to begin conducting research. Thus, knowing how to write a hypothesis is very important.

Now that you have a firmer grasp on what a good hypothesis constitutes, the different kinds there are, and what process to follow, you will find it much easier to write your hypothesis, which ultimately helps your research.

Now it's easier than ever to streamline your research workflow with SciSpace Discover . Its integrated, comprehensive end-to-end platform for research allows scholars to easily discover, write and publish their research and fosters collaboration.

It includes everything you need, including a repository of over 270 million research papers across disciplines, SEO-optimized summaries and public profiles to show your expertise and experience.

If you found these tips on writing a research hypothesis useful, head over to our blog on Statistical Hypothesis Testing to learn about the top researchers, papers, and institutions in this domain.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. what is the definition of hypothesis.

According to the Oxford dictionary, a hypothesis is defined as “An idea or explanation of something that is based on a few known facts, but that has not yet been proved to be true or correct”.

2. What is an example of hypothesis?

The hypothesis is a statement that proposes a relationship between two or more variables. An example: "If we increase the number of new users who join our platform by 25%, then we will see an increase in revenue."

3. What is an example of null hypothesis?

A null hypothesis is a statement that there is no relationship between two variables. The null hypothesis is written as H0. The null hypothesis states that there is no effect. For example, if you're studying whether or not a particular type of exercise increases strength, your null hypothesis will be "there is no difference in strength between people who exercise and people who don't."

4. What are the types of research?

• Fundamental research

• Applied research

• Qualitative research

• Quantitative research

• Mixed research

• Exploratory research

• Longitudinal research

• Cross-sectional research

• Field research

• Laboratory research

• Fixed research

• Flexible research

• Action research

• Policy research

• Classification research

• Comparative research

• Causal research

• Inductive research

• Deductive research

5. How to write a hypothesis?

• Your hypothesis should be able to predict the relationship and outcome.

• Avoid wordiness by keeping it simple and brief.

• Your hypothesis should contain observable and testable outcomes.

• Your hypothesis should be relevant to the research question.

6. What are the 2 types of hypothesis?

• Null hypotheses are used to test the claim that "there is no difference between two groups of data".

• Alternative hypotheses test the claim that "there is a difference between two data groups".

7. Difference between research question and research hypothesis?

A research question is a broad, open-ended question you will try to answer through your research. A hypothesis is a statement based on prior research or theory that you expect to be true due to your study. Example - Research question: What are the factors that influence the adoption of the new technology? Research hypothesis: There is a positive relationship between age, education and income level with the adoption of the new technology.

8. What is plural for hypothesis?

The plural of hypothesis is hypotheses. Here's an example of how it would be used in a statement, "Numerous well-considered hypotheses are presented in this part, and they are supported by tables and figures that are well-illustrated."

9. What is the red queen hypothesis?

The red queen hypothesis in evolutionary biology states that species must constantly evolve to avoid extinction because if they don't, they will be outcompeted by other species that are evolving. Leigh Van Valen first proposed it in 1973; since then, it has been tested and substantiated many times.

10. Who is known as the father of null hypothesis?

The father of the null hypothesis is Sir Ronald Fisher. He published a paper in 1925 that introduced the concept of null hypothesis testing, and he was also the first to use the term itself.

11. When to reject null hypothesis?

You need to find a significant difference between your two populations to reject the null hypothesis. You can determine that by running statistical tests such as an independent sample t-test or a dependent sample t-test. You should reject the null hypothesis if the p-value is less than 0.05.

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On this Page

Introduction, sources of hypothesis, characteristics of a good hypothesis, types of hypothesis.

Importance of hypothesis


Hypothesis: definition; characteristics; types; difference & importance

A good research question should guide you to formulate the right hypothesis of your study. But before we go in to details, what is hypothesis and what does it entail? Remember we are defining hypothesis NOT research Hypothesis!

There are diverse definitions that refer to hypothesis. Some of them are as follows;

Definition 1: Hypothesis is official uncertain statement that the researcher frames to portray the expected correlational perspective between two or more variables under investigation or being studied.

Definition 2: Hypothesis is a rational forecast of a specific event happening before the researcher carryout any empirical confirmation or evidence to support it.

Definition 3: Hypothesis in scientific expression. It is a tentative theory or testable statement about the association between two or more variables.

 Therefore, a hypothesis will guide the audience on how or why an event happens or occurs in the natural phenomenon. It achieves this objective by giving a clear explanation using facts on the ground or using some reasonable/logical assumptions although not yet tested for approval.

NB: That, a research question should lead the researcher to hypothetical claim of logical expected outcome of the research study.

Therefore, a hypothesis is a scientific suggestion of the expected research finding of the association between or amongst the study variables and this means the hypothesis should be specific, testable and falsifiable . Therefore, these three key aspects drives us to curiously establish the key characteristic indicators of a good research hypothesis.

How does hypothesis come about? Where does this proposition, supposition, suggestion, premises or theory come from? The following are some of the origins of a hypothesis. These are;

1). Premonition or intuition/personal insight;

This is an original idea or a virgin idea that one comes up with. This implies that it is an idea that has never been in existence before. Although virgin ideas may bring in unique contribution(s) to the body of existing knowledge, it may suffer two major challenges, one; the association that is discovered between the two or more variables as per the hypothesis, may fail to be in existence in other studies. Two; the concept or relationship may lack other similar theories to back it up. But they can be a Centre of interest for further research by scholars. In fact, it can translate into an explanatory theory.

2). Research Findings

From other research findings as per past literature review, one can develop a new hypothesis. Once the hypothesis is proven through empirical tests, then this confirms the previous studies. Hence no re-inventing the wheel by the researcher although it will always appear as if it is a replication of past studies which were conducted in distinctly different conditions. In fact this is the reason as to why most of the institutions of higher learning like Universities incorporate a chapter section of SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS mostly in chapter four or five of the project and/or thesis work so as to portray that the current hypothesis is in tandem with the existing research findings and so nothing like re-inventing the wheel.

3). Existing Theory or set of Theories

A Theory is a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained.

A THEORY is the natural, observable, logical, realistic and practical working or relation of two or more characteristics or behavior of a particular subject matter whether of a natural person or otherwise.

Therefore, a theory is a logical relationship between or amongst variables and it is also referred to as conceptual framework. Out of the existing conceptual framework/theory, the researcher out of logical deductions may establish a hypothesis.

4). Social cultural setting

Cultural values and beliefs initiate hypothesis development by social researchers/scientists. They carry out careful observations and generates a number of testable suppositions or premises in the format of hypothesis. So, most of the times, hypotheses may carry the same message but in different contextual setting.

5). Analogy

An analogous situation is a case of similarity, equivalence or likeness which the researcher can replicate to form a hypothesis. To achieve this goal, the researcher needs to test the analogy relationship with a similar characteristic in a different setting or environment. It should be noted that the success of this endeavor is pegged on the researcher’s appreciation of the theory underpinning the analogy and its relevance to the new hypothesis. 

6). Personal Experience

Past experience of the researcher may help in designing the hypothesis. From inference due to continuous interactions and exposure by the researcher can lead to a way of forming a hypothesis. The researcher will establish research questions and look for tentative answers (hypothesis) which will solve the problem at hand in the future. So, the researchers unique life history personal exposure influences his/her perception and conceptualization and hypothesizing of issues.

A good hypothesis has the following characteristics

All these viewpoints of high quality for research purposes are as explained as follows;

2.1 Conceptual Clarity

A good quality hypothesis should maintain clarity in terms of concept definition . The researcher has to ensure that the concept and the study variables used in the study carry the intendent implication to avoid any ambiguity or confusion. This is achieved if the process of operationalization of the study variables is firm and distinct. Operationalization means a way of putting a measurement indicator on a variable to make it observable and measurable . For instance, if we want to measure ones intelligence, we can consider class performance based on marks scored in certain subject.

You see, you cannot touch ones intelligence for all heads look alike but what is inside (i.e. intelligence level) is invisible hence cannot be touched or seen. Therefore, with an examination test we can rank those who have highly scored marks like 80% to 90 or 100% as having high level of intelligence. Otherwise, it will mean medium or low intelligence level. In short the researcher must define how the variable will be manipulated and measured in the study. 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 need be.

2.2 Empirical reference Origin

The hypothesis should be anchored on some empirical literature from past studies. A hypothesis cannot be a stand-alone as far as its origin is concerned. In other words am saying that a researcher cannot wake up one morning and decide to formulate a hypothesis from nowhere. A hypothesis should be from other researched work or findings. The researcher should consider drawing hypothesis from previously published research work based on the theory.

2.3 Objectivity

The hypothesis should observe objectivity in various aspects such as data collection to avoid researcher’s biasedness when choosing the study variables.

2.4 Specificity

 A good hypothesis ought to be specific and not general to the contrary so as to be able to straightaway predict the expected correlation between the study variables. In other words, a hypothesis is a specific, testable prediction about what you expect to happen in a study, so buying a leaf from previously published studies which have been based on the theory to develop a hypothesis is much in order.

To achieve the objective of specificity of the hypothesis, one should ask himself or herself the following questions;

The aforementioned questions ensure that your hypothesis is based on a sure underpinning. They can also be useful in guiding you on revising your hypothesis to eliminate any weaknesses therein.

2.5 Relevance

The hypothesis should be aligned to both the research questions and the research objectives to make sense. On the same breath, it should match the theory to be tested for approval or disapproval.

2.6 Testability

There must be a method to test the validity of the hypothesis to ensure that the researcher does not make moral judgment on the study variables. This ensures that the variables are measurable and verifiable. The quality of testability is key for it portrays in a clear manner how the independent variable can be manipulated and how the dependent variable can be measured in a certain population so as to depict the relational links thereof. You see, a good hypothesis will state the cause-effect implications between the predictor variable and the dependent or criterion variables which are inferentially evaluated to prove their validity.

2.7 Consistency:

A good hypothesis should portray an element of constancy, steadiness or uniformity in every way. Such as being underpinned by a body of theories, research findings and other inter-linked hypothesis. It should further show a connection with existing knowledge.

2.8 Simplicity

A hypothesis should be well understood for it is simple to the users. Therefore, the assumptions and conditions operationalizing the hypothesis should be simple.

2.9 Availability of Technique(s)

A scientific method should be identifiable that can be used to test the proposed hypothesis.

2.10 Purposiveness

The established hypothesis should be for a specific purpose. That is, it should be formulated to answer the research problem and meet the specific research objective .  

2.11 Verifiability

It should be possible to practically verify or validate the hypothesis if it represents good features.

2.12 Profundity of Effect

It means a good quality hypothesis should portray philosophical effect upon a variety of study variables. In other words it should portray a level of understandability of a concept.

2.13 Economical

A hypothesis should show cost-benefit picture. Such that the benefits that accrue to the research at hand is more than the financial or non-financial resources used to facilitate the research exercise.

Hypotheses may be of diverse nature based on the criteria used. The various types of hypotheses are categorized as per several distinct criteria such as;

i). Number of independent and dependent variables in an empirical model Criteria

Under this classification, we have simple and complex hypothesis.

1. Simple Hypothesis

This type of hypothesis is also referred to as composite hypothesis. It is characterized by specification of all the parameters used. This hypothesis forecasts the link between two variables, namely; independent and dependent variables.

2. Complex Hypothesis:

As the name implies, this type of hypothesis portrays the link between more than two independent variables on one side and two or more than two dependent variables. You see, for the simple one as it has been discussed earlier on, it only involves one independent variable and one dependent variable. But for complex case, the independent and dependent variables on both sides of the empirical model are more than one.

ii). Level and nature of outcome assurance Criteria

under this perspective, we have research hypothesis and logical hypothesis

3. Research Hypothesis

It is also referred to as empirical or working hypothesis and it represents a more than sure event occurring hence it is a specific, clear predictor of the event to occur in the future. The hypothesis is based on specific factors of the population.

4. Logical Hypothesis

It is a hypothesis which represents a planned elucidation with inadequate proof. In other words, the suggestion has no actual evidence. The argument is only pegged on reasoning or deduction for there is no actual data.

iii). Basis of either population or sample Criteria

Under this perspective, there is only one class known as statistical hypothesis as explained in number 5.

5. Statistical Hypothesis

It is a hypothesis whose basis suggestion is on the sample tested which represent the population. In this case, the statistical evidence (sample data available) is relied upon to make general conclusion of the population. It is a type of hypothesis, which is used for confirmation purposes and that is why it is referred to as confirmatory data analysis, which carry the population parameter assumption.

iv). Direction of the Association/relationship between the variables Criteria

The possible link between the variables can be witnessed in the type of hypothesis used by a researcher. Under this classification, there are both directional and non-directional hypothesis.

6. Directional Hypothesis

This is a type of hypothesis which is biased to a particular direction of a relationship of the participating variables. Such that the hypothesis supports a more than (>) or less than (<)direction of the relationship of the variables of interest. For instance, the researcher postulates that;

“Those students who actively participate in religious activities in their respective religious affiliations perform better in their religious subjects respectively than those who does not. This is a greater than hypothesis which is assessed using right hand tailed test”.

“Those children who does not feed on starch foods are less active in school extra curriculum activities as compared to those who feed on starch foods. This is a less than (<) hypothesis which is assessed using left hand tailed test”.

7. Non-directional Hypothesis

This is a type of hypothesis which is not biased to any particular direction of a relationship of the participating variables. Such that the hypothesis does not support a more than (>) or less than (<) direction of the relationship of the variables of interest. For instance, the two examples used in the case of directional hypothesis can be postulated as;

Case one: “There is no significant difference in respective religious subject performance between those students who actively participate in religious activities in their respective religious affiliations and those who do not. This is a non-directional hypothesis which is assessed using two tailed tests”.

“Those children who does not feed on starch foods and those who does are statistically the same as far as active participation in school extra curriculum activities is concerned.” This is a non-directional hypothesis which is assessed using two tailed tests”.

v). Causal and Correlational Criteria

Under this perspective, there are two common types of hypotheses, namely; associative and causal hypotheses.

8. Associative Hypothesis

This is a hypothesis which portrays the level of strength or weakness of the association between two variables. It postulates the direction and level of strength two variables only. The direction can be a positive or a negative while the level of association can be weak or strong. This type of hypothesis is measured using Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient approach.

a). There exists a strong positive relationship between the weather changes and the level of mango productivity. Implying that the expected relationship is that when the weather is conducive, more mangoes are produced or increase in a large way.

b). The association between customer price and demand level for night dresses is weak and negative. Implying that the expected relationship is that when the price increase, night dresses demanded decrease slightly.

9. Causal Hypothesis

This is a hypothesis which portrays the cause-effect relationship between or amongst two or more variables. It postulates the significant level of the influence of the variables used in the empirical model.  The cause-effect relationship can either be statistically significant or not statistically significant. This type of hypothesis is measured using inferential statistics such as F-test, R-Squared ( R2 ) or t-statistics.

vi). Theory Development Criteria

Majorly, suppositions can be based on how the researcher infer the relationship based on general or specific theory development. Hence we have the inductive and deductive hypothesis.

10. Inductive Hypothesis

This is a type of hypothesis which is postulated by moving from specific to general argument or conclusion. In other words, this hypothesis advocate for Generalizing from the specific observations to the general conclusion. At the end of it all, the outcome is building of a new theory. Inductive hypothesis works well where there is no theory in existence.

11. Deductive Hypothesis

This is a type of hypothesis which is postulated by moving from to general to specific argument or conclusion. In other words, this hypothesis advocate for Generalizing from the specific observations to the general conclusion. At the end of it all, the outcome is falsification or verification of existing theory. Deductive hypothesis works well where there exists a theory which the researcher is either trying to approve or disapprove.

vii). Statistical Significance Criteria

This criteria focuses on the level of statistical significance of the cause-effect relationship between two or more variables in an empirical model. Under this guideline, we have two commonly used hypotheses, that is Null and Alternative Hypotheses.

12. Null Hypothesis

The hypothesis is expressed in a general way with connotation that there exists no relationship between or amongst some variables. It is symbolically expressed as H 0 .

Now, in a study, a prediction on the event to occur is expressed in a manner that no link exists. There are two ways in which the statement should be expressed.

“ There is no significant relationship between X and Z ”.

This is the most common expression used to imply a null hypothesis by most of the researchers or scholars. Caution is needed here for this expression has a shortcoming for it implies that there is an element of pre-emptying the expectations of the researcher.

You see, if you say there is no significant relationship , it means you already know that there are no reliable results expected at the end of it all. In other words, you know your proposition or supposition is not appropriate. Such a statement can be likened with a scenario like that of your friend telling you that he is wishing to visit the boss in his/her office in a certain locality and at the same time he/she has enough information that he is NOT IN THE OFFICE. So, he puts it this way, “ The boss is not in his office and I am going there to meet him. ” This means your friend is simply wasting his resources to make a visit to an office when he pretty knows that the occupant is absent. This takes us to the second expression of null hypothesis.

To rectify this common expression in research, the researcher needs to express null hypothesis as follows;

“ The relationship between X and Z is not statistically significant. ”

This implies that the researcher has first of all appreciated that there is a relationship that exist between X and Z. Then he/she goes ahead and declares that it is not significant. You see, putting it this way is also away of implying relationship aspect is what is taking you to the field to collect data.

This is the way to set the null hypothesis although sometimes it is dictated by the institution’s or sponsor’s format adopted.

13. Alternative Hypothesis

An alternative hypothesis is the opposite of null hypothesis for it is a statement which portrays some statistical significance between two variables and it is usually expressed as H1 or HA .

In any study, the researcher is after rejection of the null hypothesis to accept the alternative hypothesis. When this happens, implies that the researcher’s proposition or proposal was correct. When testing hypothesis in research, the null and alternative hypothesis are commonly utilized.

So, what is the difference between null and alternative hypothesis? The differences are as portrayed by Table1.1 below

Table 1.1: Difference between Null & Alternative Hypothesis

hypothesis characteristics

There are numerous roles that a hypothesis plays in a study. This include and not limited to;

hypothesis characteristics


What is Hypothesis? Definition, Meaning, Characteristics, Sources

What is Hypothesis?

Hypothesis is a prediction of the outcome of a study. Hypotheses are drawn from theories and research questions or from direct observations. In fact, a research problem can be formulated as a hypothesis. To test the hypothesis we need to formulate it in terms that can actually be analysed with statistical tools.

As an example, if we want to explore whether using a specific teaching method at school will result in better school marks (research question), the hypothesis could be that the mean school marks of students being taught with that specific teaching method will be higher than of those being taught using other methods.

In this example, we stated a hypothesis about the expected differences between groups. Other hypotheses may refer to correlations between variables.

Table of Content

Thus, to formulate a hypothesis, we need to refer to the descriptive statistics (such as the mean final marks), and specify a set of conditions about these statistics (such as a difference between the means, or in a different example, a positive or negative correlation). The hypothesis we formulate applies to the population of interest.

The null hypothesis makes a statement that no difference exists (see Pyrczak, 1995, pp. 75-84).

Hypothesis Definition

A hypothesis is ‘a guess or supposition as to the existence of some fact or law which will serve to explain a connection of facts already known to exist.’ – J. E. Creighton & H. R. Smart

Hypothesis is ‘a proposition not known to be definitely true or false, examined for the sake of determining the consequences which would follow from its truth.’ – Max Black

Hypothesis is ‘a proposition which can be put to a test to determine validity and is useful for further research.’ – W. J. Goode and P. K. Hatt

A hypothesis is a proposition, condition or principle which is assumed, perhaps without belief, in order to draw out its logical consequences and by this method to test its accord with facts which are known or may be determined. – Webster’s New International Dictionary of the English Language (1956)

Meaning of Hypothesis

From the above mentioned definitions of hypothesis, its meaning can be explained in the following ways.

The concept of hypothesis can further be explained with the help of some examples. Lord Keynes, in his theory of national income determination, made a hypothesis about the consumption function. He stated that the consumption expenditure of an individual or an economy as a whole is dependent on the level of income and changes in a certain proportion.

Later, this proposition was proved in the statistical research carried out by Prof. Simon Kuznets. Matthus, while studying the population, formulated a hypothesis that population increases faster than the supply of food grains. Population studies of several countries revealed that this hypothesis is true.

Validation of the Malthus’ hypothesis turned it into a theory and when it was tested in many other countries it became the famous Malthus’ Law of Population. It thus emerges that when a hypothesis is tested and proven, it becomes a theory. The theory, when found true in different times and at different places, becomes the law. Having understood the concept of hypothesis, few hypotheses can be formulated in the areas of commerce and economics.

Characteristics of Hypothesis

Not all the hypotheses are good and useful from the point of view of research. It is only a few hypotheses satisfying certain criteria that are good, useful and directive in the research work undertaken. The characteristics of such a useful hypothesis can be listed as below:

Conceptual Clarity

Need of empirical referents, hypothesis should be specific, hypothesis should be within the ambit of the available research techniques, hypothesis should be consistent with the theory, hypothesis should be concerned with observable facts and empirical events, hypothesis should be simple.

The concepts used while framing hypothesis should be crystal clear and unambiguous. Such concepts must be clearly defined so that they become lucid and acceptable to everyone. How are the newly developed concepts interrelated and how are they linked with the old one is to be very clear so that the hypothesis framed on their basis also carries the same clarity.

A hypothesis embodying unclear and ambiguous concepts can to a great extent undermine the successful completion of the research work.

A hypothesis can be useful in the research work undertaken only when it has links with some empirical referents. Hypothesis based on moral values and ideals are useless as they cannot be tested. Similarly, hypothesis containing opinions as good and bad or expectation with respect to something are not testable and therefore useless.

For example, ‘current account deficit can be lowered if people change their attitude towards gold’ is a hypothesis encompassing expectation. In case of such a hypothesis, the attitude towards gold is something which cannot clearly be described and therefore a hypothesis which embodies such an unclean thing cannot be tested and proved or disproved. In short, the hypothesis should be linked with some testable referents.

For the successful conduction of research, it is necessary that the hypothesis is specific and presented in a precise manner. Hypothesis which is general, too ambitious and grandiose in scope is not to be made as such hypothesis cannot be easily put to test. A hypothesis is to be based on such concepts which are precise and empirical in nature. A hypothesis should give a clear idea about the indicators which are to be used.

For example, a hypothesis that economic power is increasingly getting concentrated in a few hands in India should enable us to define the concept of economic power. It should be explicated in terms of measurable indicator like income, wealth, etc. Such specificity in the formulation of a hypothesis ensures that the research is practicable and significant.

While framing the hypothesis, the researcher should be aware of the available research techniques and should see that the hypothesis framed is testable on the basis of them. In other words, a hypothesis should be researchable and for this it is important that a due thought has been given to the methods and techniques which can be used to measure the concepts and variables embodied in the hypothesis.

It does not however mean that hypotheses which are not testable with the available techniques of research are not to be made. If the problem is too significant and therefore the hypothesis framed becomes too ambitious and complex, it’s testing becomes possible with the development of new research techniques or the hypothesis itself leads to the development of new research techniques.

A hypothesis must be related to the existing theory or should have a theoretical orientation. The growth of knowledge takes place in the sequence of facts, hypothesis, theory and law or principles. It means the hypothesis should have a correspondence with the existing facts and theory.

If the hypothesis is related to some theory, the research work will enable us to support, modify or refute the existing theory. Theoretical orientation of the hypothesis ensures that it becomes scientifically useful. According to Prof. Goode and Prof. Hatt, research work can contribute to the existing knowledge only when the hypothesis is related with some theory.

This enables us to explain the observed facts and situations and also verify the framed hypothesis. In the words of Prof. Cohen and Prof. Nagel, “hypothesis must be formulated in such a manner that deduction can be made from it and that consequently a decision can be reached as to whether it does or does not explain the facts considered.”

If the research work based on a hypothesis is to be successful, it is necessary that the later is as simple and easy as possible. An ambition of finding out something new may lead the researcher to frame an unrealistic and unclear hypothesis. Such a temptation is to be avoided. Framing a simple, easy and testable hypothesis requires that the researcher is well acquainted with the related concepts.

Sources of Hypothesis

Hypotheses can be derived from various sources. Some of the sources is given below:


State of knowledge, continuity of research.

Hypotheses can be derived from observation from the observation of price behavior in a market. For example the relationship between the price and demand for an article is hypothesized.

Analogies are another source of useful hypotheses. Julian Huxley has pointed out that casual observations in nature or in the framework of another science may be a fertile source of hypotheses. For example, the hypotheses that similar human types or activities may be found in similar geophysical regions come from plant ecology.

This is one of the main sources of hypotheses. It gives direction to research by stating what is known logical deduction from theory lead to new hypotheses. For example, profit / wealth maximization is considered as the goal of private enterprises. From this assumption various hypotheses are derived’.

An important source of hypotheses is the state of knowledge in any particular science where formal theories exist hypotheses can be deduced. If the hypotheses are rejected theories are scarce hypotheses are generated from conception frameworks.

Another source of hypotheses is the culture on which the researcher was nurtured. Western culture has induced the emergence of sociology as an academic discipline over the past decade, a large part of the hypotheses on American society examined by researchers were connected with violence. This interest is related to the considerable increase in the level of violence in America.

The continuity of research in a field itself constitutes an important source of hypotheses. The rejection of some hypotheses leads to the formulation of new ones capable of explaining dependent variables in subsequent research on the same subject.

Null and Alternative Hypothesis

Null hypothesis.

The hypothesis that are proposed with the intent of receiving a rejection for them are called Null Hypothesis . This requires that we hypothesize the opposite of what is desired to be proved. For example, if we want to show that sales and advertisement expenditure are related, we formulate the null hypothesis that they are not related.

Similarly, if we want to conclude that the new sales training programme is effective, we formulate the null hypothesis that the new training programme is not effective, and if we want to prove that the average wages of skilled workers in town 1 is greater than that of town 2, we formulate the null hypotheses that there is no difference in the average wages of the skilled workers in both the towns.

Since we hypothesize that sales and advertisement are not related, new training programme is not effective and the average wages of skilled workers in both the towns are equal, we call such hypotheses null hypotheses and denote them as H 0 .

Alternative Hypothesis

Rejection of null hypotheses leads to the acceptance of alternative hypothesis . The rejection of null hypothesis indicates that the relationship between variables (e.g., sales and advertisement expenditure) or the difference between means (e.g., wages of skilled workers in town 1 and town 2) or the difference between proportions have statistical significance and the acceptance of the null hypotheses indicates that these differences are due to chance.

As already mentioned, the alternative hypotheses specify that values/relation which the researcher believes hold true. The alternative hypotheses can cover a whole range of values rather than a single point. The alternative hypotheses are denoted by H 1 .


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What is Hypothesis? What are its types and characteristics?

“Hypothesis may be defined as a proposition or a set of propositions set forth as an explanation for the occurrence of some specified group of phenomena either asserted merely as a provisional conjecture to guide some investigation in the light of established facts” (Kothari, 1988).

A research hypothesis is quite often a predictive statement, which is capable of being tested using scientific methods that involve an independent and some dependent variables. For instance, the following statements may be considered:

These two statements are hypotheses that can be objectively verified and tested. Thus, they indicate that a hypothesis states what one is looking for. Besides, it is a proposition that can be put to test in order to examine its validity.

Types of hypothesis

Hypotheses are of two types,

Null hypothesis

Alternative hypothesis.

When two methods A and B are compared on their relative superiority, and

The null hypothesis is expressed as  H 0 , while the alternative hypothesis is expressed as  H 1 .


A hypothesis should have the following characteristic features

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