Dr Jana Martiskova
Are you working on your final thesis or dissertation and are confused between the difference of hypothesis and research question?
Then you are in serious trouble.
Lucky for you, we’re here to help you out! But before we tell you the difference between each other, let’s first see what they are individual.
Both the hypothesis and research question are the central points in any thesis or dissertations as they give directions to the structure of the literature review, data collection process, data analysis, and conclusions.
A hypothesis is a formal statement that tries to assume a relationship between two or more variables. Hypotheses are very specific as they describe the exact nature of the relationship, for example, positive or negative, between two or more variables.
A research question is a type of hypothesis that is asked in the form of a question. It also predicts the exact relationship between two variables but it is asked in the form of a question rather than a statement.
What is the difference between the two?
Both the hypothesis and research question either support or refuse an existing theory but the main difference between the two is that a research question is formulated in the form of a question whereas a hypothesis is an assumed solution to a problem.
Another main difference between the two is that a hypothesis is an educated guess on the outcome of the study while a research question is a form of the researcher wondering about the workings of the world.
Because of that, a hypothesis is a part of the scientific study process while the research question is not.
Due to the two differences, the writing structure of both of them differs majorly. The hypothesis is usually written in the form of a prediction, mostly starting with ‘I predict’ while the research question is mostly structured as a question trying to determine a relationship between two variables, i.e. ‘what is the effect of (variable 1) on (variable 2)?
Example: It is assumed that second-grade girls will show better-reading understanding than second-grade boys.
The Data: The two variables between which we are trying to identify a relationship are a gender (male or female) and level of reading understanding.
The Correct hypothesis:
Second-grade girls will show better-reading understanding than second-grade boys.
Do second-grade girls show better reading understanding than second-grade boys?
Some second girls show better reading understanding than the rest of the class.
Here we have segregated one gender into two groups and completely ignored the second gender making it an incorrect hypothesis. In a nutshell, both statements can serve the purpose of giving a direction to your thesis or dissertation but it is important to know the difference between the two while conduction your research studies.