Testing Research Hypotheses

Your hypothesis is more than just a simple prediction.

It is an assertion, conjecture or premise, that is subject to verification via research.

It comes as the consequence of organizing your questions - and the expected answers that grow out of them.

What are the criteria for evaluating hypotheses?

  • Correspondence - it uses available, relevant source testimony

  • Coherence - it should be logical, well-focused, and internally consistent

  • Conceptual Elegance - it has a minimum of abstract constructs and unstated assumptions

Formulation of the hypothesis and research protocol/methods can be the most difficult part of the entire thesis process.

  • It must be clear, precise, and succinct

  • It must be defensible on theoretical grounds and logistically feasible

  • It must honestly consider its own shortcomings and limitations

Substantial research must be completed before you construct your initial hypothesis.

Many things can happen during research. You may discover that someone else has already tested your hypothesis or answered your questions. Your hypothesis may be based on a misunderstanding or erroneous assumption. You may encounter something unexpected, which completely changes the research situation. Do not be dismayed if your hypothesis changes.

Alternative Hypotheses
If you do not make progress towards your initial hypothesis, you may indeed be moving toward finding an answer in a new hypothesis. You will raise new questions - and this new pathway will require active thought and inquiry.