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Hypothesis Definition

Whether you are new to the world of research or are in the process of writing a dissertation or thesis, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the phrases that are used. Particularly, the phrase "hypothesis" is often used. It is important that you have a strong understanding of what a hypothesis is as well as how it might assist you with your research. In this article, we are going to talk about what a hypothesis is, types of hypothesis, and some tips for writing a hypothesis.

Hypothesis Definition

Definition of Hypothesis

A hypothesis is a potential explanation for anything that takes place or that you see and consider to be true. It may also assist in determining the link between two or more variables that you believe may be related.

Hypotheses are often presented in the form of if-then statements when written by professionals. For example, if an individual consumes a lot of sugar, then their teeth will acquire cavities. These statements point out specific variables and suggest results. In this particular example, the quantity of sugar consumed serves as the variable (the independent variable), and the subsequent formation of cavities serves as the result (the dependent variable).

It is best to develop a hypothesis as strongly as you can before doing tests or making further observations. This may be accomplished via the use of questioning, brainstorming, being logical, and ensuring that the hypothesis can be tested within the limits that are present.

Types of Variables

Independent Variable

In an experiment, the variable that you are free to change or alter in order to investigate its effects is referred to as an independent variable. It is referred to be "independent" since it is unaffected by any of the other factors that are being investigated in this research.

Dependent Variable

Anything which is influenced by changes in independent variables is known as a dependent variable. It is the result that you are interested in measuring, and whether it is positive or negative "depends" on your independent variable.

Independent vs. Dependent Variables

When organizing a complex study or reading an academic research report, it may be challenging to differentiate between variables that are independent and those that are dependent.

It is essential to pay attention to the design of the research that you are doing since a dependent variable from one study might be an independent variable in another study.

The following are some pointers that may be used to recognize the different types of variables.

Identifying Independent Variables

To determine whether or not you are dealing with an independent variable, you may use the following set of questions:

  • Does the researcher modify or control the variable?
  • Does the researcher utilize the variable as a subject grouping method?
  • Does this variable arrive earlier in time than the other variable?
  • Is the researcher attempting to figure out whether or how this variable influences another variable?

Identifying Dependent Variables

To determine whether or not you are dealing with a dependent variable, you may use the following set of questions:

  • Is there a way to quantify this variable as an outcome of the study?
  • Is there a relationship between this variable and another one that's being examined in the study?
  • Is it the case that this variable is not evaluated until after the values of other variables have been changed?

Types of Hypothesis

Professionals in a wide variety of fields and sectors make use of hypotheses as a strong tool in their work. The process of developing hypotheses is a useful method for seeing trends, locating answers, and selecting the most productive course of action. Although they are most often associated with the scientific method, research projects, and other academic subjects, hypotheses are also used in areas of daily life such as commerce, education, and even the process of making personal choices. The following is a list of some of the many types of hypotheses:

Null Hypothesis

According to the "null hypothesis," the two variables that are the subject of the current investigation do not have any kind of connection with one another (one variable does not affect the other). The modification of the independent variable will not have any effect on the dependent variable, hence the dependent variable will remain unchanged.


  • Using either bottled water or water from the tap has no influence on the growth of plants.
  • Professional psychics do not have a greater chance of winning the lottery than other people do.

Alternative Hypothesis

An alternative hypothesis, which is the opposite of a null hypothesis, is denoted as H1 or Ha. It indicates quite clearly that the dependent variable does have an effect on the independent variable. The statement that "Athletes who regularly attend physiotherapy treatments see improvements in their on-field performance" is an excellent example of an alternative hypothesis. or "Water will evaporate at a temperature of 100 degrees Celsius."

The alternative hypothesis is further subdivided into directional and non-directional hypotheses.

Directional hypothesis:

The term "directional hypothesis" refers to a kind of hypothesis that indicates that the outcome will either be positive or negative. H1 is accompanied by the '<' or '>' symbol.

Non-directional hypothesis:

A non-directional hypothesis only claims that there is an effect on the dependent variable. It's unclear if the end outcome would be positive or negative. A non-directional hypothesis is denoted by the symbol '≠'.

Simple Hypothesis

A simple hypothesis is a statement that reflects the relationship between precisely two variables. One independent and one dependent. Take, for instance, the statement that "smoking is one of the most prevalent causes of lung cancer." Lung cancer is the dependent variable, while smoking is the independent variable that is driving the relationship.


  • If you stay up late, you will feel exhausted the following day.
  • If you turn off your phone while charging it, it will charge more quickly.

Complex Hypothesis

The complex hypothesis demonstrates the connection between two or more dependent and independent variables. For instance, if you increase the number of nutritious vegetables and fruits in your diet, you will have a healthier body and a lower chance of developing a number of health problems, such as high or low blood pressure, heart attacks, or kidney failure. Eating more vegetables and fruits is the independent variable, whereas high and low blood pressure, heart attack, and kidney failure are the dependent variables. Therefore, in a simple hypothesis, there is a relationship between just two variables, but in a complex hypothesis, there are several variables involved.


  • Tobacco and other drug use are linked to several cancers, depression, and respiratory infections.
  • A greater proportion of people who are unemployed, poor, and illiterate are more likely to commit crimes such as burglary and other similar offenses.

Empirical Hypothesis

The term "empirical hypothesis" is used to describe any kind of research whose conclusions are based only on hard, observable facts. When someone refers to anything as empirical, they are essentially saying that it is driven by the results of scientific experiments or data.

For example, research is being carried out to assess whether or not working from home may assist reduce the stress caused by jobs that need a high level of productivity. An experiment is carried out with two groups of employees: one group works from their homes, while the other group works in the office. Each group was watched carefully. The findings of this study will give empirical data on the question of whether or not working from home may assist decrease stress.


  • It has been shown that women who take iron supplements have a lower chance of developing anemia compared to those who take vitamin B12.
  • If you wash your hands every hour, you're less likely to get sick.

Associative and Casual Hypothesis

The number of variables that will be involved is not taken into account while formulating associative or causal hypotheses. They determine how the variables are connected to one another. The associative hypothesis implies that modifying either a dependent or an independent variable will have a ripple effect on the other variables. Under the framework of the causal hypothesis, the independent variable has an immediate impact on the dependent variable.

How to Properly Compose a Hypothesis

Ask Question

Since curiosity has been the driving force behind some of the most significant scientific advances in human history, a smart way to begin is by questioning the reality that is physically around you. Why do things work in this particular way? What are the elements that lead to the effects you see in your environment? If possible, choose a study subject that piques your interest so that your curiosity arises naturally.

Do Preliminary Study

Next, you should begin by gathering some background information on your subject. Get as much data as you can find about the subject you've chosen to focus on. You'll need to learn everything there is to know about the topic and become an expert on it.

You have to be very positive that the information you have is unbiased, correct, and complete. Databases designed specifically for academic research, such as Google Scholar and Web of Science, may assist you in locating papers derived from reliable sources that are relevant to your topic of study.

You may look for knowledge in books, in libraries, and even on the internet. If you are still in college, you have the option of seeking assistance from your instructors, the library, and even your fellow students.

Specify your Variables

After you have a general idea of what your hypothesis will be, the next step is to determine which variables will be independent and which will be dependent. Always keep in mind that independent variables can only be things that you have total control over, and before you settle on a hypothesis for your experiment, you should think about the limits that are imposed by the experiment.

Put it in the Form of an "If-Then" Sentence.

When drafting a hypothesis, it is helpful to state it using an if-then structure. For example, "If I water a plant every day, then it will grow better," is a sentence that uses this pattern. This approach may become complex when dealing with several variables, but in general, it is a reliable technique for presenting the cause-and-effect connection that you're evaluating.

Develop a Hypothesis

When you have finished all of your previous reading and investigation, it is time to formulate a hypothesis. A hypothesis is an explanation of a phenomenon that is based on the author's best-educated estimate based on the available information. The theory may be expressed in a manner that is understandable, concise, and detailed. It may predict the outcome of your experiment. For instance, if you are doing research on the impact of various colors of light on the growth of plants, one of your hypotheses may be that red light causes plants to develop at a faster rate, resulting in increased height.

Refine your Hypothesis

Spend some time reviewing your hypothesis once you've written it. Make sure your hypothesis can be tested. This is a crucial phase in the scientific process since it helps to keep your study focused and ensures that your hypothesis comprises variables, expected results, and a defined procedure for testing. Also, it might be useful to identify any faults in your theory and evaluate how to overcome them.

Characteristics of a Good Hypothesis

Developing a hypothesis is very important since it may determine the success or failure of your research. It includes the possibility of having your work published in a scholarly journal. Thus, while you are developing one, make sure to keep an eye out for the following pointers:

  • In order to seem justified enough, a research hypothesis needs to be straightforward while yet include all of the necessary information.
  • It has to be something that can be tested. Your research would be pointless if it was too far-fetched or couldn't be done because of technology.
  • A research hypothesis needs to be self-explanatory so that it does not leave any room for uncertainty in the mind of the reader.
  • If you are building a relational hypothesis, you need to include the variables and create an acceptable connection among them.
  • A hypothesis must maintain and represent the scope for more research and experimentation.

Main Sources of Hypothesis in Research

There are a lot of different sources that may be used to formulate a hypothesis. The most significant sources of the hypothesis are as follows.

  • One's Own Experience
  • Imagination and Critical Thinking
  • Direct Experience
  • Observation
  • Scientific Theory
  • Prior Research
  • Culture


Throughout the course of any scientific investigation, the formulation of a hypothesis is an essential step. It shows what researchers hope to find in an experiment or study. There are circumstances in which the hypothesis is not supported by the research; yet, this does not diminish the usefulness of the research study. Such study improves our understanding of the interrelationships between many natural world components. In addition to this, it assists us in the formulation of new theories, which we may later put to the test.

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