How to Write a Hypothesis

Omkar Phatak May 13, 2019
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If you are completely clueless about writing a hypothesis statement as part of your research project, this write-up will be a useful read.
Taking up a research project is one of the best exercises in analytical thinking. It is a great opportunity to challenge your mind to think out of the box and come up with a possible explanation for any observable phenomenon.
Imagination plays a very important role in the whole process of research. It is required in the formation of a hypothesis and is perhaps one of the hardest parts of the whole process.

What is a Hypothesis

To put it in the simplest of words, it is a 'guess', made to explain any phenomenon in nature. When you see something weird happening and guess about what could have caused it, you are actually formulating one. However, hypotheses are informed and logical guesses, arrived at, after observing the relevant phenomenon in the most minute of details.
Now you would say, isn't that the same thing as coming up with a theory? No, it isn't. Hypothesis and theory, though used interchangeably by some, are quite different concepts, with different meanings.

Difference Between a Theory and a Hypothesis

A hypothesis is an unverified idea or possibility, which has not been tested through actual experiment or factual checking. On the other hand, a theory is an idea which has been validated by actual observation.
It is a hypothesis which has stood the test of experiment and time to be unequivocally accepted. Hypothesis is a nascent theory, that's awaiting the approval from testable experimental results.

How to Write One For a Research Paper

Forming a hypothesis carries utmost importance in the scientific method of analyzing nature. All hypotheses need to have two prime features. One is a possible explanation of the phenomenon and the second is a testable prediction.
That is, your hypothesis cannot just be a guess, it has to have a clause in it, which offers a hint of how that guess of yours could be actually tested. The format of most hypothesis statements is - 'If. . Then'.
The 'if' covers the actual explanation, which presents an elucidation of how something works and 'then' includes the testable prediction, which would provide a solid experimental proof for its validation. Try to make it as specific as possible and make sure that all the information included in there is accurate.

Examples

What you need is an example of a hypothesis, which will demonstrate and inculcate all the features discussed before. Here are three statements for your perusal.

➢ If life was indeed seeded on Earth from outer space, we should find traces of living organisms at high altitudes over the Earth's surface.
➢ If the reason for the mass extinction of dinosaurs was meteorite impact, there should be a large impact crater on Earth, which could account for it.
➢ If there is intelligent life on any of the planets, revolving around the many stars of the Milky Way galaxy and it has developed just like life on Earth, we should be able to receive an intelligible radio signal in the near future.
A hypothesis statement needs to be formulated very carefully as it determines the direction of your research and forms the core idea, which motivates your research further. Guided by imagination and causality, let logical precision and predictability be the hallmarks of your hypothesis statement.
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