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How to Frame the Hypothesis for a Research Study?

Research hypothesis is a specific, clear and testable proposition or Hypothesis is basically possible assumption on the study result that can be obtained only on the completion of the study.

 
 
 
 

A research hypothesis is a proposed possible outcome of a research study which is written in the form of a testable predictive statement.This assumed stated outcome of the scientific research study is based on the attribute or variable of the population measuring the differences either between population and sample; two samples or relationships between variables.

 
A hypothesis stems from the research questions framed based on the research problem formulated. It focuses on relation between the set of variables of the study and therefore clarity on dependent and independent variable is crucial in hypothesis formulation.

 

Types of Hypothesis

The hypothesis can be formulated in two different ways:

 

Descriptive Hypothesis

This is written as a simple statement that addresses trend, fact or behavior of population understudy. The assumptions are made based on variables under study.
Some of the examples are:

  • The statistical score of science students is 70 -80 %.
  • The job hopping rate of Millennials is 50%.
  • Trained staff handles stress in a better way.

 

Relational Hypothesis

These are the statements that typically state the relationship between two variables.The hypothesis test the effect of one variable on other.

The Standard Hypothesis format is as follows:

  • Null Hypothesis. There is no significant relationship between variable x and variable y
  • Alternative Hypothesis. There is a significant relationship between variable x and variable y

 

An Example

Let us assume that a primary study wants to investigate the effects of organizational factors on job satisfaction of employees. The foremost step is to identify the variables. So, here the dependent variable is job satisfaction of employees and independent variable is organizational factors.

 
Organizational factors that can affect job satisfaction inline with literature review and exploration of study need to be identified and listed to prevail more clarity and objectivity. In this example the variables can be:

  1. Remuneration,
  2. Rewards,
  3. Relation with employers,
  4. Training,
  5. Job engagement,
  6. Workload,
  7. Healthy environment at work and,
  8. Scope of promotion.

 

Writing the Frame of Hypothesis?

Considering the above example of organizational factors and job satisfaction, some of the key points to follow are:

  • Independent variable/s are to be listed on left hand side.
  • Dependent variable need to be written the right-hand side.
  • An arrow should be drawn in between to show the direction.
  • The arrow should be drawn in such a way that its direction is from the independent variable to the dependent variable.
  • Following the above framework, the independent variables are positioned on the left-hand side of the hypothesis and the dependent variable are positioned on the right-hand side of the hypothesis statement.
  • Include words like ‘impact’, ‘influence’, ‘effect’, ‘relationship’ or ‘association’ within the hypothesis. This is to indicate as to what tests can be used in testing it.
  • Use notation H0 to denote the null hypothesis.
  • Use notation Ha to denote the alternative hypothesis.

 
The standard frame of writing the hypothesis is:
H0: There is no significant relation between independent variable and dependent variable.
Ha: There is significant relation between independent variable and dependent variable.
 
H0: There is no significant impact of independent variable on dependent variable.
Ha: There is significant impact of independent variable on dependent variable.
 
H0: There is no significant influence of independent variable on dependent variable.
Ha: There is significant relation between independent variable on dependent variable.
 
H0: There is no significant association between independent variable and dependent variable.
Ha: There is significant relation between independent variable and dependent variable.
 
 
The null hypothesis can also be written in one of the following ways.
H0: Independent variable has no effect on the dependent variable.
H0: Independent variable has no impact on the dependent variable.
H0: Independent variable doesn’t influence the dependent variable.
H0: Independent variable has no association with dependent variable.
H0: Independent variable has no relation with dependent variable.

 
Following the above rules, the null and the alternative hypotheses in case of the above example can be:

H0: Remuneration have no effect on the job satisfaction of employees.
H0: Rewards have no effect on the job satisfaction of employees.
H0: Relation with employers have no effect on the job satisfaction of employees.
H0: Training have no effect on the job satisfaction of employees.
H0: Job engagement, have no effect on the job satisfaction of employees.

 
Here are some of the things to keep in mind before constructing a hypothesis.

  • The first step before constructing a hypothesis is a thorough review of existing literature on the topic of research.
  • After the literature review, identify gaps in the literature. Then narrow down the research problem to fullfil the gap.
  • The research problem needs to be then processed in terms of research objectives and research questions.
  • Following the research questions, identify the dependent and the independent variables.
  • Frame statements or hypotheses that reflect a prediction which is testable.
  • The results of hypothesis testing directly help to answer the research questions and draw conclusions for the study.

 

Important Pointers

Important pointers that one must keep in mind while framing the hypothesis of their study are:

  • The hypothesis should be precise and clear.
  • It should be stated in simple terms.
  • The scope of the hypothesis should be specific and narrow.
  • It should always be measurable and quantifiable for statistical authenticity.
  • It should be in congruence with the findings of the previous researches or facts that are derived and resulted from previous research studies.
  • The hypothesis should propose relationship(s) between two variables or a set of variables namely dependent and independent variables.
  • The hypothesis should conform to the research questions.
  • The hypothesis should be testable with primary or secondary data.
  • Results of hypothesis testing should address the study aim and objectives adequately.

 

Remember

Hypothesis should never be based on the gut feeling. It should always have the scientific base as its validation depends on statistical tools and techniques.

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    By: Dr. Poonam Arora

    Dr. Poonam Arora has rich and vivid experience in the area of Human Resources and Quantitative Techniques. She is an enthusiast in the field of Training and Development. She is pursuing her research in HR and likes to keep herself informed with the latest research and trends in HR.

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