How to Write and Develop a Research Hypothesis

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Writing a research hypothesis is an integral part of a research or experiment, it states the predictions on what the research will find out.  It is not a guess, it should be testable.  If you desire to know how to write and develop a research hypothesis, this article is written to provide essential guidance on how you can address that aspect of your research; read further for 7 tips on how to write and develop a research hypothesis.

How to Write and Develop a Research Hypothesis

What is a hypothesis?

A hypothesis can be said to be a statement/idea that can be tested by research.  It is important to read the topic of interest thoroughly before formulating a research hypothesis; the reading may include journals, books, and cases.  Thorough reading is essential because it will help you to be able to narrow down your entire research and express it as research questions.  Simply put, hypothesis is a question that flows from the topic you are considering; the research question is your hypothesis.

In scientific experiments, the hypothesis introduces the research question and proposes the expected result.  It is an essential part of the scientific method; it forms the basis of scientific experiments.  It requires thorough care because minor errors in the formulation of hypotheses can have an adverse effect on the experiment to be carried out.

 Below are the 7 tips on how to write and develop a research hypothesis

Ask questions

To develop an hypothesis, there are important questions you must ask yourself, This questions can be used as a checklist for a hypothesis based on a solid foundation.  It will also help in the identification of weaknesses in the hypothesis and make revisions where necessary.  They are-

  1. What could be the relationship between formulated hypothesis and the research topic?
  2. Is the hypothesis testable?
  3. What are the possible explanations that may be explored?
  4. Does the hypothesis include independent and dependent variables?
  5. Is the language clear and focused enough?

The hypothesis is a research question that has to be answered; the question should be specific, focused, and researchable within the constraints of the research project.

Carry out preliminary research

Make extensive research, and read resources to be familiar with your chosen research topic before arriving at a final decision.  The answer to the questions should be based on what is already known about the topic.  Be certain that the topic is researchable, this is done by looking into theories and previous studies to help form assumptions on what the research will find.

Develop your hypothesis

Remember hypothesis is more than just a topic; it has two elements (variables) that are in relation to each other.  The hypothesis is what you propose to prove with your research, with the research result you arrive at a conclusion or theory that will be useful or applicable even beyond the research itself. Write the initial answer to the question in a clear and concise sentence.

Variables in the hypothesis are independent and dependent variables.  An independent variable is what the researcher can change or control, while the dependent variable is what the researcher observes and measures.

Example- Daily reading leads to success in examination
The independent variable is the ‘daily reading’- the assumed cause
The dependent variable leads to success in an examination- the assumed effect.

The hypothesis should be refined

The hypothesis should be specific and testable, each term should be clear, easily understood, and defined; it should not deal in generalities or be based on assumption that the reader knows the meaning of all terms i.e. technical terms.

The hypothesis should be phrased with clear terms and definitions.  It should contain relevant variables and predict the outcome of the experiment or analysis to be carried out.

The hypothesis should be positive

The hypothesis should not be negative. That is hypothesis should be a positive statement about the existence of a relationship or effect rather than the negative, that the relationship or effect does not exist. In scientific experiments and research, the scientist does not set out to show that relationships or effects do not exist, as such the hypothesis should not be structured that way to suggest that a relationship or effect does not exist, instead it should be worded that it exists, that is the nature of science.  The nature of science is to predict that something does not exist and then seek to find evidence to prove this wrong, that it does exist.

The hypothesis should be testable and challenging

It should be a statement or question that is testable. Readers will have to see evidence to believe the statement.  Scientifically, there should be methods that can be used to test if the hypothesis is true or false, experiments can provide scientific evidence to prove that it does exist or not.  The weight of the challenge to the hypothesis will depend largely on the problem type and its relevance. Challenging here implies verification, justification, repeatability, refutability, rectification, and validity.

There are always two possibilities, which are-

  1. Something did happen- Alternative Hypothesis- H1
  2. Nothing happened- Null Hypothesis- Ho

Formulate a Null Hypothesis

A null hypothesis should always be created; it states that the variables in the hypothesis are not connected.  Where the research involves statistical hypothesis testing, the null hypothesis has to be written. The null hypothesis is written as Ho
To write a null hypothesis, the question has to be written first, the question is then rephrased in such a form that, it assumes that no relationship exists between the variables.

Check out these examples:
Question–  Are children better at video games than adults?
Null Hypothesis–  Age has no effect on video games ability.

Why Null hypothesis is important when you want to write and develop a research hypothesis.

The null hypothesis is important because it can be tested to arrive at a result that shows whether or not there is a relationship between variables (dependent and independent variables).  That is if the observed null hypothesis is consistent with the position of the null hypothesis, the hypothesis is accepted. Where the null hypothesis is false, it is rejected and replaced with an alternative hypothesis (H1 or Ha).  Rejecting the null hypothesis actually sets the stage for a further experiment to see if the relationship between two variables does exist; thus setting the stage for further experimentation.


The research question and hypothesis are the signposts for explaining the purpose of the study and guiding the research.   A hypothesis is the backbone of science.  A well-stated hypothesis, founded in truth; that can withstand repeated research and experiment can lead to new discoveries.  This article on 7 Tips on how to write and develop a research hypothesis has to a large extent given a comprehensive guide on how to write a hypothesis.




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