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How to write hypothesis for a research paper: new hints from experts


Writing a hypothesis for a research paper is one place where many students get stuck, and it can be quite discouraging as it is one of the earliest parts of the writing process. Writing a hypothesis for one’s scientific research paper doesn’t have to be an obstacle, however. The following tips will help.

  • Do your preliminary research
  • This is where all too many students first cause problems for themselves. They think of a hypothesis as merely a guess, but it is much more than that, and instructors (especially in university) expect students to be making an informed, educated guess in regards to their topic. Before the student even dreams up a hypothesis, they need to do some preliminary research on the topic and have some basic ideas of the supporting ideas they can use for their hypothesis.

  • Understand the formula for a hypothesis
  • “If X, then Y.” Simple, straightforward, and clearly stated. This is the essence of a hypothesis. Yes, the final statement of one’s hypothesis is likely to be more complex, but before moving forward with any idea, the student needs to determine whether or not they can state it in this very simple manner. If they can’t, there’s a good chance it’s not a true hypothetical statement and needs considerable reworking to become a strong hypotheses.

  • You can’t have an answer without a question.
  • Too many students forget about what a hypothesis is. It’s the answer to a question, and the question is implicitly stated within the hypothesis. For example, the hypothesis “If I don’t water my roses, they’ll die,” is an answer to the question, “What will happen if I don’t water my roses?” If the student is having trouble formulating a strong hypothetical statement, they should step back from that a moment and formulate their question first.

  • Ensure the hypothesis can be tested.
  • It’s easy to test the hypothesis of “If I don’t water my roses, they’ll die.” It’s considerably harder (presumably) to test “If I send my roses on a rocket to Jupiter, they’ll die.” Keep in mind that a hypothesis should address one single experiment, not a collection of them, and make it appropriately specific. There are too many variables involved with sending roses to Jupiter, even if it were practically possible to do, to make that a good hypothesis for a research paper.

 
 

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