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How to Write a Great Hypothesis

Hypothesis Format, Examples, and Tips

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

1 5 research hypothesis

Amy Morin, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.

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Verywell / Alex Dos Diaz

  • The Scientific Method

Hypothesis Format

Falsifiability of a hypothesis, operational definitions, types of hypotheses, hypotheses examples.

  • Collecting Data

Frequently Asked Questions

A hypothesis is a tentative statement about the relationship between two or more  variables. It is a specific, testable prediction about what you expect to happen in a study.

One hypothesis example would be a study designed to look at the relationship between sleep deprivation and test performance might have a hypothesis that states: "This study is designed to assess the hypothesis that sleep-deprived people will perform worse on a test than individuals who are not sleep-deprived."

This article explores how a hypothesis is used in psychology research, how to write a good hypothesis, and the different types of hypotheses you might use.

The Hypothesis in the Scientific Method

In the scientific method , whether it involves research in psychology, biology, or some other area, a hypothesis represents what the researchers think will happen in an experiment. The scientific method involves the following steps:

  • Forming a question
  • Performing background research
  • Creating a hypothesis
  • Designing an experiment
  • Collecting data
  • Analyzing the results
  • Drawing conclusions
  • Communicating the results

The hypothesis is a prediction, but it involves more than a guess. Most of the time, the hypothesis begins with a question which is then explored through background research. It is only at this point that researchers begin to develop a testable hypothesis. Unless you are creating an exploratory study, your hypothesis should always explain what you  expect  to happen.

In a study exploring the effects of a particular drug, the hypothesis might be that researchers expect the drug to have some type of effect on the symptoms of a specific illness. In psychology, the hypothesis might focus on how a certain aspect of the environment might influence a particular behavior.

Remember, a hypothesis does not have to be correct. While the hypothesis predicts what the researchers expect to see, the goal of the research is to determine whether this guess is right or wrong. When conducting an experiment, researchers might explore a number of factors to determine which ones might contribute to the ultimate outcome.

In many cases, researchers may find that the results of an experiment  do not  support the original hypothesis. When writing up these results, the researchers might suggest other options that should be explored in future studies.

In many cases, researchers might draw a hypothesis from a specific theory or build on previous research. For example, prior research has shown that stress can impact the immune system. So a researcher might hypothesize: "People with high-stress levels will be more likely to contract a common cold after being exposed to the virus than people who have low-stress levels."

In other instances, researchers might look at commonly held beliefs or folk wisdom. "Birds of a feather flock together" is one example of folk wisdom that a psychologist might try to investigate. The researcher might pose a specific hypothesis that "People tend to select romantic partners who are similar to them in interests and educational level."

Elements of a Good Hypothesis

So how do you write a good hypothesis? When trying to come up with a hypothesis for your research or experiments, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is your hypothesis based on your research on a topic?
  • Can your hypothesis be tested?
  • Does your hypothesis include independent and dependent variables?

Before you come up with a specific hypothesis, spend some time doing background research. Once you have completed a literature review, start thinking about potential questions you still have. Pay attention to the discussion section in the  journal articles you read . Many authors will suggest questions that still need to be explored.

To form a hypothesis, you should take these steps:

  • Collect as many observations about a topic or problem as you can.
  • Evaluate these observations and look for possible causes of the problem.
  • Create a list of possible explanations that you might want to explore.
  • After you have developed some possible hypotheses, think of ways that you could confirm or disprove each hypothesis through experimentation. This is known as falsifiability.

In the scientific method ,  falsifiability is an important part of any valid hypothesis.   In order to test a claim scientifically, it must be possible that the claim could be proven false.

Students sometimes confuse the idea of falsifiability with the idea that it means that something is false, which is not the case. What falsifiability means is that  if  something was false, then it is possible to demonstrate that it is false.

One of the hallmarks of pseudoscience is that it makes claims that cannot be refuted or proven false.

A variable is a factor or element that can be changed and manipulated in ways that are observable and measurable. However, the researcher must also define how the variable will be manipulated and measured in the study.

For example, a researcher might operationally define the variable " test anxiety " as the results of a self-report measure of anxiety experienced during an exam. A "study habits" variable might be defined by the amount of studying that actually occurs as measured by time.

These precise descriptions are important because many things can be measured in a number of different ways. One of the basic principles of any type of scientific research is that the results must be replicable.   By clearly detailing the specifics of how the variables were measured and manipulated, other researchers can better understand the results and repeat the study if needed.

Some variables are more difficult than others to define. How would you operationally define a variable such as aggression ? For obvious ethical reasons, researchers cannot create a situation in which a person behaves aggressively toward others.

In order to measure this variable, the researcher must devise a measurement that assesses aggressive behavior without harming other people. In this situation, the researcher might utilize a simulated task to measure aggressiveness.

Hypothesis Checklist

  • Does your hypothesis focus on something that you can actually test?
  • Does your hypothesis include both an independent and dependent variable?
  • Can you manipulate the variables?
  • Can your hypothesis be tested without violating ethical standards?

The hypothesis you use will depend on what you are investigating and hoping to find. Some of the main types of hypotheses that you might use include:

  • Simple hypothesis : This type of hypothesis suggests that there is a relationship between one independent variable and one dependent variable.
  • Complex hypothesis : This type of hypothesis suggests a relationship between three or more variables, such as two independent variables and a dependent variable.
  • Null hypothesis : This hypothesis suggests no relationship exists between two or more variables.
  • Alternative hypothesis : This hypothesis states the opposite of the null hypothesis.
  • Statistical hypothesis : This hypothesis uses statistical analysis to evaluate a representative sample of the population and then generalizes the findings to the larger group.
  • Logical hypothesis : This hypothesis assumes a relationship between variables without collecting data or evidence.

A hypothesis often follows a basic format of "If {this happens} then {this will happen}." One way to structure your hypothesis is to describe what will happen to the  dependent variable  if you change the  independent variable .

The basic format might be: "If {these changes are made to a certain independent variable}, then we will observe {a change in a specific dependent variable}."

A few examples of simple hypotheses:

  • "Students who eat breakfast will perform better on a math exam than students who do not eat breakfast."
  • Complex hypothesis: "Students who experience test anxiety before an English exam will get lower scores than students who do not experience test anxiety."​
  • "Motorists who talk on the phone while driving will be more likely to make errors on a driving course than those who do not talk on the phone."

Examples of a complex hypothesis include:

  • "People with high-sugar diets and sedentary activity levels are more likely to develop depression."
  • "Younger people who are regularly exposed to green, outdoor areas have better subjective well-being than older adults who have limited exposure to green spaces."

Examples of a null hypothesis include:

  • "Children who receive a new reading intervention will have scores different than students who do not receive the intervention."
  • "There will be no difference in scores on a memory recall task between children and adults."

Examples of an alternative hypothesis:

  • "Children who receive a new reading intervention will perform better than students who did not receive the intervention."
  • "Adults will perform better on a memory task than children." 

Collecting Data on Your Hypothesis

Once a researcher has formed a testable hypothesis, the next step is to select a research design and start collecting data. The research method depends largely on exactly what they are studying. There are two basic types of research methods: descriptive research and experimental research.

Descriptive Research Methods

Descriptive research such as  case studies ,  naturalistic observations , and surveys are often used when it would be impossible or difficult to  conduct an experiment . These methods are best used to describe different aspects of a behavior or psychological phenomenon.

Once a researcher has collected data using descriptive methods, a correlational study can then be used to look at how the variables are related. This type of research method might be used to investigate a hypothesis that is difficult to test experimentally.

Experimental Research Methods

Experimental methods  are used to demonstrate causal relationships between variables. In an experiment, the researcher systematically manipulates a variable of interest (known as the independent variable) and measures the effect on another variable (known as the dependent variable).

Unlike correlational studies, which can only be used to determine if there is a relationship between two variables, experimental methods can be used to determine the actual nature of the relationship—whether changes in one variable actually  cause  another to change.

A Word From Verywell

The hypothesis is a critical part of any scientific exploration. It represents what researchers expect to find in a study or experiment. In situations where the hypothesis is unsupported by the research, the research still has value. Such research helps us better understand how different aspects of the natural world relate to one another. It also helps us develop new hypotheses that can then be tested in the future.

Some examples of how to write a hypothesis include:

  • "Staying up late will lead to worse test performance the next day."
  • "People who consume one apple each day will visit the doctor fewer times each year."
  • "Breaking study sessions up into three 20-minute sessions will lead to better test results than a single 60-minute study session."

The four parts of a hypothesis are:

  • The research question
  • The independent variable (IV)
  • The dependent variable (DV)
  • The proposed relationship between the IV and DV

Castillo M. The scientific method: a need for something better? . AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2013;34(9):1669-71. doi:10.3174/ajnr.A3401

Nevid J. Psychology: Concepts and Applications. Wadworth, 2013.

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  • Manuscript Preparation

What is and How to Write a Good Hypothesis in Research?

  • 4 minute read

Table of Contents

One of the most important aspects of conducting research is constructing a strong hypothesis. But what makes a hypothesis in research effective? In this article, we’ll look at the difference between a hypothesis and a research question, as well as the elements of a good hypothesis in research. We’ll also include some examples of effective hypotheses, and what pitfalls to avoid.

What is a Hypothesis in Research?

Simply put, a hypothesis is a research question that also includes the predicted or expected result of the research. Without a hypothesis, there can be no basis for a scientific or research experiment. As such, it is critical that you carefully construct your hypothesis by being deliberate and thorough, even before you set pen to paper. Unless your hypothesis is clearly and carefully constructed, any flaw can have an adverse, and even grave, effect on the quality of your experiment and its subsequent results.

Research Question vs Hypothesis

It’s easy to confuse research questions with hypotheses, and vice versa. While they’re both critical to the Scientific Method, they have very specific differences. Primarily, a research question, just like a hypothesis, is focused and concise. But a hypothesis includes a prediction based on the proposed research, and is designed to forecast the relationship of and between two (or more) variables. Research questions are open-ended, and invite debate and discussion, while hypotheses are closed, e.g. “The relationship between A and B will be C.”

A hypothesis is generally used if your research topic is fairly well established, and you are relatively certain about the relationship between the variables that will be presented in your research. Since a hypothesis is ideally suited for experimental studies, it will, by its very existence, affect the design of your experiment. The research question is typically used for new topics that have not yet been researched extensively. Here, the relationship between different variables is less known. There is no prediction made, but there may be variables explored. The research question can be casual in nature, simply trying to understand if a relationship even exists, descriptive or comparative.

How to Write Hypothesis in Research

Writing an effective hypothesis starts before you even begin to type. Like any task, preparation is key, so you start first by conducting research yourself, and reading all you can about the topic that you plan to research. From there, you’ll gain the knowledge you need to understand where your focus within the topic will lie.

Remember that a hypothesis is a prediction of the relationship that exists between two or more variables. Your job is to write a hypothesis, and design the research, to “prove” whether or not your prediction is correct. A common pitfall is to use judgments that are subjective and inappropriate for the construction of a hypothesis. It’s important to keep the focus and language of your hypothesis objective.

An effective hypothesis in research is clearly and concisely written, and any terms or definitions clarified and defined. Specific language must also be used to avoid any generalities or assumptions.

Use the following points as a checklist to evaluate the effectiveness of your research hypothesis:

  • Predicts the relationship and outcome
  • Simple and concise – avoid wordiness
  • Clear with no ambiguity or assumptions about the readers’ knowledge
  • Observable and testable results
  • Relevant and specific to the research question or problem

Research Hypothesis Example

Perhaps the best way to evaluate whether or not your hypothesis is effective is to compare it to those of your colleagues in the field. There is no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to writing a powerful research hypothesis. As you’re reading and preparing your hypothesis, you’ll also read other hypotheses. These can help guide you on what works, and what doesn’t, when it comes to writing a strong research hypothesis.

Here are a few generic examples to get you started.

Eating an apple each day, after the age of 60, will result in a reduction of frequency of physician visits.

Budget airlines are more likely to receive more customer complaints. A budget airline is defined as an airline that offers lower fares and fewer amenities than a traditional full-service airline. (Note that the term “budget airline” is included in the hypothesis.

Workplaces that offer flexible working hours report higher levels of employee job satisfaction than workplaces with fixed hours.

Each of the above examples are specific, observable and measurable, and the statement of prediction can be verified or shown to be false by utilizing standard experimental practices. It should be noted, however, that often your hypothesis will change as your research progresses.

Language Editing Plus

Elsevier’s Language Editing Plus service can help ensure that your research hypothesis is well-designed, and articulates your research and conclusions. Our most comprehensive editing package, you can count on a thorough language review by native-English speakers who are PhDs or PhD candidates. We’ll check for effective logic and flow of your manuscript, as well as document formatting for your chosen journal, reference checks, and much more.

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  • v.36(50); 2021 Dec 27

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Formulating Hypotheses for Different Study Designs

Durga prasanna misra.

1 Department of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, India.

Armen Yuri Gasparyan

2 Departments of Rheumatology and Research and Development, Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust (Teaching Trust of the University of Birmingham, UK), Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley, UK.

Olena Zimba

3 Department of Internal Medicine #2, Danylo Halytsky Lviv National Medical University, Lviv, Ukraine.

Marlen Yessirkepov

4 Department of Biology and Biochemistry, South Kazakhstan Medical Academy, Shymkent, Kazakhstan.

Vikas Agarwal

George d. kitas.

5 Centre for Epidemiology versus Arthritis, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.

Generating a testable working hypothesis is the first step towards conducting original research. Such research may prove or disprove the proposed hypothesis. Case reports, case series, online surveys and other observational studies, clinical trials, and narrative reviews help to generate hypotheses. Observational and interventional studies help to test hypotheses. A good hypothesis is usually based on previous evidence-based reports. Hypotheses without evidence-based justification and a priori ideas are not received favourably by the scientific community. Original research to test a hypothesis should be carefully planned to ensure appropriate methodology and adequate statistical power. While hypotheses can challenge conventional thinking and may be controversial, they should not be destructive. A hypothesis should be tested by ethically sound experiments with meaningful ethical and clinical implications. The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has brought into sharp focus numerous hypotheses, some of which were proven (e.g. effectiveness of corticosteroids in those with hypoxia) while others were disproven (e.g. ineffectiveness of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin).

Graphical Abstract

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Science is the systematized description of natural truths and facts. Routine observations of existing life phenomena lead to the creative thinking and generation of ideas about mechanisms of such phenomena and related human interventions. Such ideas presented in a structured format can be viewed as hypotheses. After generating a hypothesis, it is necessary to test it to prove its validity. Thus, hypothesis can be defined as a proposed mechanism of a naturally occurring event or a proposed outcome of an intervention. 1 , 2

Hypothesis testing requires choosing the most appropriate methodology and adequately powering statistically the study to be able to “prove” or “disprove” it within predetermined and widely accepted levels of certainty. This entails sample size calculation that often takes into account previously published observations and pilot studies. 2 , 3 In the era of digitization, hypothesis generation and testing may benefit from the availability of numerous platforms for data dissemination, social networking, and expert validation. Related expert evaluations may reveal strengths and limitations of proposed ideas at early stages of post-publication promotion, preventing the implementation of unsupported controversial points. 4

Thus, hypothesis generation is an important initial step in the research workflow, reflecting accumulating evidence and experts' stance. In this article, we overview the genesis and importance of scientific hypotheses and their relevance in the era of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.


Broadly, research can be categorized as primary or secondary. In the context of medicine, primary research may include real-life observations of disease presentations and outcomes. Single case descriptions, which often lead to new ideas and hypotheses, serve as important starting points or justifications for case series and cohort studies. The importance of case descriptions is particularly evident in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic when unique, educational case reports have heralded a new era in clinical medicine. 5

Case series serve similar purpose to single case reports, but are based on a slightly larger quantum of information. Observational studies, including online surveys, describe the existing phenomena at a larger scale, often involving various control groups. Observational studies include variable-scale epidemiological investigations at different time points. Interventional studies detail the results of therapeutic interventions.

Secondary research is based on already published literature and does not directly involve human or animal subjects. Review articles are generated by secondary research. These could be systematic reviews which follow methods akin to primary research but with the unit of study being published papers rather than humans or animals. Systematic reviews have a rigid structure with a mandatory search strategy encompassing multiple databases, systematic screening of search results against pre-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria, critical appraisal of study quality and an optional component of collating results across studies quantitatively to derive summary estimates (meta-analysis). 6 Narrative reviews, on the other hand, have a more flexible structure. Systematic literature searches to minimise bias in selection of articles are highly recommended but not mandatory. 7 Narrative reviews are influenced by the authors' viewpoint who may preferentially analyse selected sets of articles. 8

In relation to primary research, case studies and case series are generally not driven by a working hypothesis. Rather, they serve as a basis to generate a hypothesis. Observational or interventional studies should have a hypothesis for choosing research design and sample size. The results of observational and interventional studies further lead to the generation of new hypotheses, testing of which forms the basis of future studies. Review articles, on the other hand, may not be hypothesis-driven, but form fertile ground to generate future hypotheses for evaluation. Fig. 1 summarizes which type of studies are hypothesis-driven and which lead on to hypothesis generation.

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A review of the published literature did not enable the identification of clearly defined standards for working and scientific hypotheses. It is essential to distinguish influential versus not influential hypotheses, evidence-based hypotheses versus a priori statements and ideas, ethical versus unethical, or potentially harmful ideas. The following points are proposed for consideration while generating working and scientific hypotheses. 1 , 2 Table 1 summarizes these points.

Evidence-based data

A scientific hypothesis should have a sound basis on previously published literature as well as the scientist's observations. Randomly generated (a priori) hypotheses are unlikely to be proven. A thorough literature search should form the basis of a hypothesis based on published evidence. 7

Unless a scientific hypothesis can be tested, it can neither be proven nor be disproven. Therefore, a scientific hypothesis should be amenable to testing with the available technologies and the present understanding of science.

Supported by pilot studies

If a hypothesis is based purely on a novel observation by the scientist in question, it should be grounded on some preliminary studies to support it. For example, if a drug that targets a specific cell population is hypothesized to be useful in a particular disease setting, then there must be some preliminary evidence that the specific cell population plays a role in driving that disease process.

Testable by ethical studies

The hypothesis should be testable by experiments that are ethically acceptable. 9 For example, a hypothesis that parachutes reduce mortality from falls from an airplane cannot be tested using a randomized controlled trial. 10 This is because it is obvious that all those jumping from a flying plane without a parachute would likely die. Similarly, the hypothesis that smoking tobacco causes lung cancer cannot be tested by a clinical trial that makes people take up smoking (since there is considerable evidence for the health hazards associated with smoking). Instead, long-term observational studies comparing outcomes in those who smoke and those who do not, as was performed in the landmark epidemiological case control study by Doll and Hill, 11 are more ethical and practical.

Balance between scientific temper and controversy

Novel findings, including novel hypotheses, particularly those that challenge established norms, are bound to face resistance for their wider acceptance. Such resistance is inevitable until the time such findings are proven with appropriate scientific rigor. However, hypotheses that generate controversy are generally unwelcome. For example, at the time the pandemic of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and AIDS was taking foot, there were numerous deniers that refused to believe that HIV caused AIDS. 12 , 13 Similarly, at a time when climate change is causing catastrophic changes to weather patterns worldwide, denial that climate change is occurring and consequent attempts to block climate change are certainly unwelcome. 14 The denialism and misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic, including unfortunate examples of vaccine hesitancy, are more recent examples of controversial hypotheses not backed by science. 15 , 16 An example of a controversial hypothesis that was a revolutionary scientific breakthrough was the hypothesis put forth by Warren and Marshall that Helicobacter pylori causes peptic ulcers. Initially, the hypothesis that a microorganism could cause gastritis and gastric ulcers faced immense resistance. When the scientists that proposed the hypothesis themselves ingested H. pylori to induce gastritis in themselves, only then could they convince the wider world about their hypothesis. Such was the impact of the hypothesis was that Barry Marshall and Robin Warren were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2005 for this discovery. 17 , 18


Influential hypotheses are those that have stood the test of time. An archetype of an influential hypothesis is that proposed by Edward Jenner in the eighteenth century that cowpox infection protects against smallpox. While this observation had been reported for nearly a century before this time, it had not been suitably tested and publicised until Jenner conducted his experiments on a young boy by demonstrating protection against smallpox after inoculation with cowpox. 19 These experiments were the basis for widespread smallpox immunization strategies worldwide in the 20th century which resulted in the elimination of smallpox as a human disease today. 20

Other influential hypotheses are those which have been read and cited widely. An example of this is the hygiene hypothesis proposing an inverse relationship between infections in early life and allergies or autoimmunity in adulthood. An analysis reported that this hypothesis had been cited more than 3,000 times on Scopus. 1


The COVID-19 pandemic devastated the world like no other in recent memory. During this period, various hypotheses emerged, understandably so considering the public health emergency situation with innumerable deaths and suffering for humanity. Within weeks of the first reports of COVID-19, aberrant immune system activation was identified as a key driver of organ dysfunction and mortality in this disease. 21 Consequently, numerous drugs that suppress the immune system or abrogate the activation of the immune system were hypothesized to have a role in COVID-19. 22 One of the earliest drugs hypothesized to have a benefit was hydroxychloroquine. Hydroxychloroquine was proposed to interfere with Toll-like receptor activation and consequently ameliorate the aberrant immune system activation leading to pathology in COVID-19. 22 The drug was also hypothesized to have a prophylactic role in preventing infection or disease severity in COVID-19. It was also touted as a wonder drug for the disease by many prominent international figures. However, later studies which were well-designed randomized controlled trials failed to demonstrate any benefit of hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19. 23 , 24 , 25 , 26 Subsequently, azithromycin 27 , 28 and ivermectin 29 were hypothesized as potential therapies for COVID-19, but were not supported by evidence from randomized controlled trials. The role of vitamin D in preventing disease severity was also proposed, but has not been proven definitively until now. 30 , 31 On the other hand, randomized controlled trials identified the evidence supporting dexamethasone 32 and interleukin-6 pathway blockade with tocilizumab as effective therapies for COVID-19 in specific situations such as at the onset of hypoxia. 33 , 34 Clues towards the apparent effectiveness of various drugs against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in vitro but their ineffectiveness in vivo have recently been identified. Many of these drugs are weak, lipophilic bases and some others induce phospholipidosis which results in apparent in vitro effectiveness due to non-specific off-target effects that are not replicated inside living systems. 35 , 36

Another hypothesis proposed was the association of the routine policy of vaccination with Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) with lower deaths due to COVID-19. This hypothesis emerged in the middle of 2020 when COVID-19 was still taking foot in many parts of the world. 37 , 38 Subsequently, many countries which had lower deaths at that time point went on to have higher numbers of mortality, comparable to other areas of the world. Furthermore, the hypothesis that BCG vaccination reduced COVID-19 mortality was a classic example of ecological fallacy. Associations between population level events (ecological studies; in this case, BCG vaccination and COVID-19 mortality) cannot be directly extrapolated to the individual level. Furthermore, such associations cannot per se be attributed as causal in nature, and can only serve to generate hypotheses that need to be tested at the individual level. 39


Traditionally, publication after peer review has been considered the gold standard before any new idea finds acceptability amongst the scientific community. Getting a work (including a working or scientific hypothesis) reviewed by experts in the field before experiments are conducted to prove or disprove it helps to refine the idea further as well as improve the experiments planned to test the hypothesis. 40 A route towards this has been the emergence of journals dedicated to publishing hypotheses such as the Central Asian Journal of Medical Hypotheses and Ethics. 41 Another means of publishing hypotheses is through registered research protocols detailing the background, hypothesis, and methodology of a particular study. If such protocols are published after peer review, then the journal commits to publishing the completed study irrespective of whether the study hypothesis is proven or disproven. 42 In the post-pandemic world, online research methods such as online surveys powered via social media channels such as Twitter and Instagram might serve as critical tools to generate as well as to preliminarily test the appropriateness of hypotheses for further evaluation. 43 , 44

Some radical hypotheses might be difficult to publish after traditional peer review. These hypotheses might only be acceptable by the scientific community after they are tested in research studies. Preprints might be a way to disseminate such controversial and ground-breaking hypotheses. 45 However, scientists might prefer to keep their hypotheses confidential for the fear of plagiarism of ideas, avoiding online posting and publishing until they have tested the hypotheses.

What Is A Research (Scientific) Hypothesis? A plain-language explainer + examples

By:  Derek Jansen (MBA)  | Reviewed By: Dr Eunice Rautenbach | June 2020

If you’re new to the world of research, or it’s your first time writing a dissertation or thesis, you’re probably noticing that the words “research hypothesis” and “scientific hypothesis” are used quite a bit, and you’re wondering what they mean in a research context .

“Hypothesis” is one of those words that people use loosely, thinking they understand what it means. However, it has a very specific meaning within academic research. So, it’s important to understand the exact meaning before you start hypothesizing. 

Research Hypothesis 101

  • What is a hypothesis ?
  • What is a research hypothesis (scientific hypothesis)?
  • Requirements for a research hypothesis
  • Definition of a research hypothesis
  • The null hypothesis

What is a hypothesis?

Let’s start with the general definition of a hypothesis (not a research hypothesis or scientific hypothesis), according to the Cambridge Dictionary:

Hypothesis: an idea or explanation for something that is based on known facts but has not yet been proved.

In other words, it’s a statement that provides an explanation for why or how something works, based on facts (or some reasonable assumptions), but that has not yet been specifically tested . For example, a hypothesis might look something like this:

Hypothesis: sleep impacts academic performance.

This statement predicts that academic performance will be influenced by the amount and/or quality of sleep a student engages in – sounds reasonable, right? It’s based on reasonable assumptions , underpinned by what we currently know about sleep and health (from the existing literature). So, loosely speaking, we could call it a hypothesis, at least by the dictionary definition.

But that’s not good enough…

Unfortunately, that’s not quite sophisticated enough to describe a research hypothesis (also sometimes called a scientific hypothesis), and it wouldn’t be acceptable in a dissertation, thesis or research paper. In the world of academic research, a statement needs a few more criteria to constitute a true research hypothesis . 

What is a research hypothesis?

A research hypothesis (also called a scientific hypothesis) is a statement about the expected outcome of a study (for example, a dissertation or thesis). To constitute a quality hypothesis, the statement needs to have three attributes – specificity , clarity and testability .

Let’s take a look at these more closely.

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Hypothesis Essential #1: Specificity & Clarity

A good research hypothesis needs to be extremely clear and articulate about both what’ s being assessed (who or what variables are involved ) and the expected outcome (for example, a difference between groups, a relationship between variables, etc.).

Let’s stick with our sleepy students example and look at how this statement could be more specific and clear.

Hypothesis: Students who sleep at least 8 hours per night will, on average, achieve higher grades in standardised tests than students who sleep less than 8 hours a night.

As you can see, the statement is very specific as it identifies the variables involved (sleep hours and test grades), the parties involved (two groups of students), as well as the predicted relationship type (a positive relationship). There’s no ambiguity or uncertainty about who or what is involved in the statement, and the expected outcome is clear.

Contrast that to the original hypothesis we looked at – “Sleep impacts academic performance” – and you can see the difference. “Sleep” and “academic performance” are both comparatively vague , and there’s no indication of what the expected relationship direction is (more sleep or less sleep). As you can see, specificity and clarity are key.

A good research hypothesis needs to be very clear about what’s being assessed and very specific about the expected outcome.

Hypothesis Essential #2: Testability (Provability)

A statement must be testable to qualify as a research hypothesis. In other words, there needs to be a way to prove (or disprove) the statement. If it’s not testable, it’s not a hypothesis – simple as that.

For example, consider the hypothesis we mentioned earlier:

Hypothesis: Students who sleep at least 8 hours per night will, on average, achieve higher grades in standardised tests than students who sleep less than 8 hours a night.  

We could test this statement by undertaking a quantitative study involving two groups of students, one that gets 8 or more hours of sleep per night for a fixed period, and one that gets less. We could then compare the standardised test results for both groups to see if there’s a statistically significant difference. 

Again, if you compare this to the original hypothesis we looked at – “Sleep impacts academic performance” – you can see that it would be quite difficult to test that statement, primarily because it isn’t specific enough. How much sleep? By who? What type of academic performance?

So, remember the mantra – if you can’t test it, it’s not a hypothesis 🙂

A good research hypothesis must be testable. In other words, you must able to collect observable data in a scientifically rigorous fashion to test it.

Defining A Research Hypothesis

You’re still with us? Great! Let’s recap and pin down a clear definition of a hypothesis.

A research hypothesis (or scientific hypothesis) is a statement about an expected relationship between variables, or explanation of an occurrence, that is clear, specific and testable.

So, when you write up hypotheses for your dissertation or thesis, make sure that they meet all these criteria. If you do, you’ll not only have rock-solid hypotheses but you’ll also ensure a clear focus for your entire research project.

What about the null hypothesis?

You may have also heard the terms null hypothesis , alternative hypothesis, or H-zero thrown around. At a simple level, the null hypothesis is the counter-proposal to the original hypothesis.

For example, if the hypothesis predicts that there is a relationship between two variables (for example, sleep and academic performance), the null hypothesis would predict that there is no relationship between those variables.

At a more technical level, the null hypothesis proposes that no statistical significance exists in a set of given observations and that any differences are due to chance alone.

And there you have it – hypotheses in a nutshell. 

If you have any questions, be sure to leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to help you. If you need hands-on help developing and testing your hypotheses, consider our private coaching service , where we hold your hand through the research journey.

1 5 research hypothesis

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This post is part of our dissertation mini-course, which covers everything you need to get started with your dissertation, thesis or research project. 

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Research philosophy basics: What is research philosophy?


Lynnet Chikwaikwai

Very useful information. I benefit more from getting more information in this regard.

Dr. WuodArek

Very great insight,educative and informative. Please give meet deep critics on many research data of public international Law like human rights, environment, natural resources, law of the sea etc


In a book I read a distinction is made between null, research, and alternative hypothesis. As far as I understand, alternative and research hypotheses are the same. Can you please elaborate? Best Afshin

GANDI Benjamin

This is a self explanatory, easy going site. I will recommend this to my friends and colleagues.

Lucile Dossou-Yovo

Very good definition. How can I cite your definition in my thesis? Thank you. Is nul hypothesis compulsory in a research?

Egya Salihu

Please what is the difference between alternate hypothesis and research hypothesis?

Mulugeta Tefera

It is a very good explanation. However, it limits hypotheses to statistically tasteable ideas. What about for qualitative researches or other researches that involve quantitative data that don’t need statistical tests?

Derek Jansen

In qualitative research, one typically uses propositions, not hypotheses.


could you please elaborate it more

Patricia Nyawir

I’ve benefited greatly from these notes, thank you.

Hopeson Khondiwa

This is very helpful

Dr. Andarge

well articulated ideas are presented here, thank you for being reliable sources of information


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Research hypothesis: What it is, how to write it, types, and examples

What is a research hypothesis: How to write it, types, and examples

1 5 research hypothesis

Any research begins with a research question and a research hypothesis . A research question alone may not suffice to design the experiment(s) needed to answer it. A hypothesis is central to the scientific method. But what is a hypothesis ? A hypothesis is a testable statement that proposes a possible explanation to a phenomenon, and it may include a prediction. Next, you may ask what is a research hypothesis ? Simply put, a research hypothesis is a prediction or educated guess about the relationship between the variables that you want to investigate.  

It is important to be thorough when developing your research hypothesis. Shortcomings in the framing of a hypothesis can affect the study design and the results. A better understanding of the research hypothesis definition and characteristics of a good hypothesis will make it easier for you to develop your own hypothesis for your research. Let’s dive in to know more about the types of research hypothesis , how to write a research hypothesis , and some research hypothesis examples .  

Table of Contents

What is a hypothesis ?  

A hypothesis is based on the existing body of knowledge in a study area. Framed before the data are collected, a hypothesis states the tentative relationship between independent and dependent variables, along with a prediction of the outcome.  

What is a research hypothesis ?  

Young researchers starting out their journey are usually brimming with questions like “ What is a hypothesis ?” “ What is a research hypothesis ?” “How can I write a good research hypothesis ?”   

A research hypothesis is a statement that proposes a possible explanation for an observable phenomenon or pattern. It guides the direction of a study and predicts the outcome of the investigation. A research hypothesis is testable, i.e., it can be supported or disproven through experimentation or observation.     

1 5 research hypothesis

Characteristics of a good hypothesis  

Here are the characteristics of a good hypothesis :  

  • Clearly formulated and free of language errors and ambiguity  
  • Concise and not unnecessarily verbose  
  • Has clearly defined variables  
  • Testable and stated in a way that allows for it to be disproven  
  • Can be tested using a research design that is feasible, ethical, and practical   
  • Specific and relevant to the research problem  
  • Rooted in a thorough literature search  
  • Can generate new knowledge or understanding.  

How to create an effective research hypothesis  

A study begins with the formulation of a research question. A researcher then performs background research. This background information forms the basis for building a good research hypothesis . The researcher then performs experiments, collects, and analyzes the data, interprets the findings, and ultimately, determines if the findings support or negate the original hypothesis.  

Let’s look at each step for creating an effective, testable, and good research hypothesis :  

  • Identify a research problem or question: Start by identifying a specific research problem.   
  • Review the literature: Conduct an in-depth review of the existing literature related to the research problem to grasp the current knowledge and gaps in the field.   
  • Formulate a clear and testable hypothesis : Based on the research question, use existing knowledge to form a clear and testable hypothesis . The hypothesis should state a predicted relationship between two or more variables that can be measured and manipulated. Improve the original draft till it is clear and meaningful.  
  • State the null hypothesis: The null hypothesis is a statement that there is no relationship between the variables you are studying.   
  • Define the population and sample: Clearly define the population you are studying and the sample you will be using for your research.  
  • Select appropriate methods for testing the hypothesis: Select appropriate research methods, such as experiments, surveys, or observational studies, which will allow you to test your research hypothesis .  

Remember that creating a research hypothesis is an iterative process, i.e., you might have to revise it based on the data you collect. You may need to test and reject several hypotheses before answering the research problem.  

How to write a research hypothesis  

When you start writing a research hypothesis , you use an “if–then” statement format, which states the predicted relationship between two or more variables. Clearly identify the independent variables (the variables being changed) and the dependent variables (the variables being measured), as well as the population you are studying. Review and revise your hypothesis as needed.  

An example of a research hypothesis in this format is as follows:  

“ If [athletes] follow [cold water showers daily], then their [endurance] increases.”  

Population: athletes  

Independent variable: daily cold water showers  

Dependent variable: endurance  

You may have understood the characteristics of a good hypothesis . But note that a research hypothesis is not always confirmed; a researcher should be prepared to accept or reject the hypothesis based on the study findings.  

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Research hypothesis checklist  

Following from above, here is a 10-point checklist for a good research hypothesis :  

  • Testable: A research hypothesis should be able to be tested via experimentation or observation.  
  • Specific: A research hypothesis should clearly state the relationship between the variables being studied.  
  • Based on prior research: A research hypothesis should be based on existing knowledge and previous research in the field.  
  • Falsifiable: A research hypothesis should be able to be disproven through testing.  
  • Clear and concise: A research hypothesis should be stated in a clear and concise manner.  
  • Logical: A research hypothesis should be logical and consistent with current understanding of the subject.  
  • Relevant: A research hypothesis should be relevant to the research question and objectives.  
  • Feasible: A research hypothesis should be feasible to test within the scope of the study.  
  • Reflects the population: A research hypothesis should consider the population or sample being studied.  
  • Uncomplicated: A good research hypothesis is written in a way that is easy for the target audience to understand.  

By following this research hypothesis checklist , you will be able to create a research hypothesis that is strong, well-constructed, and more likely to yield meaningful results.  

Research hypothesis: What it is, how to write it, types, and examples

Types of research hypothesis  

Different types of research hypothesis are used in scientific research:  

1. Null hypothesis:

A null hypothesis states that there is no change in the dependent variable due to changes to the independent variable. This means that the results are due to chance and are not significant. A null hypothesis is denoted as H0 and is stated as the opposite of what the alternative hypothesis states.   

Example: “ The newly identified virus is not zoonotic .”  

2. Alternative hypothesis:

This states that there is a significant difference or relationship between the variables being studied. It is denoted as H1 or Ha and is usually accepted or rejected in favor of the null hypothesis.  

Example: “ The newly identified virus is zoonotic .”  

3. Directional hypothesis :

This specifies the direction of the relationship or difference between variables; therefore, it tends to use terms like increase, decrease, positive, negative, more, or less.   

Example: “ The inclusion of intervention X decreases infant mortality compared to the original treatment .”   

4. Non-directional hypothesis:

While it does not predict the exact direction or nature of the relationship between the two variables, a non-directional hypothesis states the existence of a relationship or difference between variables but not the direction, nature, or magnitude of the relationship. A non-directional hypothesis may be used when there is no underlying theory or when findings contradict previous research.  

Example, “ Cats and dogs differ in the amount of affection they express .”  

5. Simple hypothesis :

A simple hypothesis only predicts the relationship between one independent and another independent variable.  

Example: “ Applying sunscreen every day slows skin aging .”  

6 . Complex hypothesis :

A complex hypothesis states the relationship or difference between two or more independent and dependent variables.   

Example: “ Applying sunscreen every day slows skin aging, reduces sun burn, and reduces the chances of skin cancer .” (Here, the three dependent variables are slowing skin aging, reducing sun burn, and reducing the chances of skin cancer.)  

7. Associative hypothesis:  

An associative hypothesis states that a change in one variable results in the change of the other variable. The associative hypothesis defines interdependency between variables.  

Example: “ There is a positive association between physical activity levels and overall health .”  

8 . Causal hypothesis:

A causal hypothesis proposes a cause-and-effect interaction between variables.  

Example: “ Long-term alcohol use causes liver damage .”  

Note that some of the types of research hypothesis mentioned above might overlap. The types of hypothesis chosen will depend on the research question and the objective of the study.  

1 5 research hypothesis

Research hypothesis examples  

Here are some good research hypothesis examples :  

“The use of a specific type of therapy will lead to a reduction in symptoms of depression in individuals with a history of major depressive disorder.”  

“Providing educational interventions on healthy eating habits will result in weight loss in overweight individuals.”  

“Plants that are exposed to certain types of music will grow taller than those that are not exposed to music.”  

“The use of the plant growth regulator X will lead to an increase in the number of flowers produced by plants.”  

Characteristics that make a research hypothesis weak are unclear variables, unoriginality, being too general or too vague, and being untestable. A weak hypothesis leads to weak research and improper methods.   

Some bad research hypothesis examples (and the reasons why they are “bad”) are as follows:  

“This study will show that treatment X is better than any other treatment . ” (This statement is not testable, too broad, and does not consider other treatments that may be effective.)  

“This study will prove that this type of therapy is effective for all mental disorders . ” (This statement is too broad and not testable as mental disorders are complex and different disorders may respond differently to different types of therapy.)  

“Plants can communicate with each other through telepathy . ” (This statement is not testable and lacks a scientific basis.)  

Importance of testable hypothesis  

If a research hypothesis is not testable, the results will not prove or disprove anything meaningful. The conclusions will be vague at best. A testable hypothesis helps a researcher focus on the study outcome and understand the implication of the question and the different variables involved. A testable hypothesis helps a researcher make precise predictions based on prior research.  

To be considered testable, there must be a way to prove that the hypothesis is true or false; further, the results of the hypothesis must be reproducible.  

Research hypothesis: What it is, how to write it, types, and examples

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on research hypothesis  

1. What is the difference between research question and research hypothesis ?  

A research question defines the problem and helps outline the study objective(s). It is an open-ended statement that is exploratory or probing in nature. Therefore, it does not make predictions or assumptions. It helps a researcher identify what information to collect. A research hypothesis , however, is a specific, testable prediction about the relationship between variables. Accordingly, it guides the study design and data analysis approach.

2. When to reject null hypothesis ?

A null hypothesis should be rejected when the evidence from a statistical test shows that it is unlikely to be true. This happens when the test statistic (e.g., p -value) is less than the defined significance level (e.g., 0.05). Rejecting the null hypothesis does not necessarily mean that the alternative hypothesis is true; it simply means that the evidence found is not compatible with the null hypothesis.  

3. How can I be sure my hypothesis is testable?  

A testable hypothesis should be specific and measurable, and it should state a clear relationship between variables that can be tested with data. To ensure that your hypothesis is testable, consider the following:  

  • Clearly define the key variables in your hypothesis. You should be able to measure and manipulate these variables in a way that allows you to test the hypothesis.  
  • The hypothesis should predict a specific outcome or relationship between variables that can be measured or quantified.   
  • You should be able to collect the necessary data within the constraints of your study.  
  • It should be possible for other researchers to replicate your study, using the same methods and variables.   
  • Your hypothesis should be testable by using appropriate statistical analysis techniques, so you can draw conclusions, and make inferences about the population from the sample data.  
  • The hypothesis should be able to be disproven or rejected through the collection of data.  

4. How do I revise my research hypothesis if my data does not support it?  

If your data does not support your research hypothesis , you will need to revise it or develop a new one. You should examine your data carefully and identify any patterns or anomalies, re-examine your research question, and/or revisit your theory to look for any alternative explanations for your results. Based on your review of the data, literature, and theories, modify your research hypothesis to better align it with the results you obtained. Use your revised hypothesis to guide your research design and data collection. It is important to remain objective throughout the process.  

5. I am performing exploratory research. Do I need to formulate a research hypothesis?  

As opposed to “confirmatory” research, where a researcher has some idea about the relationship between the variables under investigation, exploratory research (or hypothesis-generating research) looks into a completely new topic about which limited information is available. Therefore, the researcher will not have any prior hypotheses. In such cases, a researcher will need to develop a post-hoc hypothesis. A post-hoc research hypothesis is generated after these results are known.  

6. How is a research hypothesis different from a research question?

A research question is an inquiry about a specific topic or phenomenon, typically expressed as a question. It seeks to explore and understand a particular aspect of the research subject. In contrast, a research hypothesis is a specific statement or prediction that suggests an expected relationship between variables. It is formulated based on existing knowledge or theories and guides the research design and data analysis.

7. Can a research hypothesis change during the research process?

Yes, research hypotheses can change during the research process. As researchers collect and analyze data, new insights and information may emerge that require modification or refinement of the initial hypotheses. This can be due to unexpected findings, limitations in the original hypotheses, or the need to explore additional dimensions of the research topic. Flexibility is crucial in research, allowing for adaptation and adjustment of hypotheses to align with the evolving understanding of the subject matter.

8. How many hypotheses should be included in a research study?

The number of research hypotheses in a research study varies depending on the nature and scope of the research. It is not necessary to have multiple hypotheses in every study. Some studies may have only one primary hypothesis, while others may have several related hypotheses. The number of hypotheses should be determined based on the research objectives, research questions, and the complexity of the research topic. It is important to ensure that the hypotheses are focused, testable, and directly related to the research aims.

9. Can research hypotheses be used in qualitative research?

Yes, research hypotheses can be used in qualitative research, although they are more commonly associated with quantitative research. In qualitative research, hypotheses may be formulated as tentative or exploratory statements that guide the investigation. Instead of testing hypotheses through statistical analysis, qualitative researchers may use the hypotheses to guide data collection and analysis, seeking to uncover patterns, themes, or relationships within the qualitative data. The emphasis in qualitative research is often on generating insights and understanding rather than confirming or rejecting specific research hypotheses through statistical testing.

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The Craft of Writing a Strong Hypothesis

Deeptanshu D

Table of Contents

Writing a hypothesis is one of the essential elements of a scientific research paper. It needs to be to the point, clearly communicating what your research is trying to accomplish. A blurry, drawn-out, or complexly-structured hypothesis can confuse your readers. Or worse, the editor and peer reviewers.

A captivating hypothesis is not too intricate. This blog will take you through the process so that, by the end of it, you have a better idea of how to convey your research paper's intent in just one sentence.

What is a Hypothesis?

The first step in your scientific endeavor, a hypothesis, is a strong, concise statement that forms the basis of your research. It is not the same as a thesis statement , which is a brief summary of your research paper.

The sole purpose of a hypothesis is to predict your paper's findings, data, and conclusion. It comes from a place of curiosity and intuition . When you write a hypothesis, you're essentially making an educated guess based on scientific prejudices and evidence, which is further proven or disproven through the scientific method.

The reason for undertaking research is to observe a specific phenomenon. A hypothesis, therefore, lays out what the said phenomenon is. And it does so through two variables, an independent and dependent variable.

The independent variable is the cause behind the observation, while the dependent variable is the effect of the cause. A good example of this is “mixing red and blue forms purple.” In this hypothesis, mixing red and blue is the independent variable as you're combining the two colors at your own will. The formation of purple is the dependent variable as, in this case, it is conditional to the independent variable.

Different Types of Hypotheses‌


Types of hypotheses

Some would stand by the notion that there are only two types of hypotheses: a Null hypothesis and an Alternative hypothesis. While that may have some truth to it, it would be better to fully distinguish the most common forms as these terms come up so often, which might leave you out of context.

Apart from Null and Alternative, there are Complex, Simple, Directional, Non-Directional, Statistical, and Associative and casual hypotheses. They don't necessarily have to be exclusive, as one hypothesis can tick many boxes, but knowing the distinctions between them will make it easier for you to construct your own.

1. Null hypothesis

A null hypothesis proposes no relationship between two variables. Denoted by H 0 , it is a negative statement like “Attending physiotherapy sessions does not affect athletes' on-field performance.” Here, the author claims physiotherapy sessions have no effect on on-field performances. Even if there is, it's only a coincidence.

2. Alternative hypothesis

Considered to be the opposite of a null hypothesis, an alternative hypothesis is donated as H1 or Ha. It explicitly states that the dependent variable affects the independent variable. A good  alternative hypothesis example is “Attending physiotherapy sessions improves athletes' on-field performance.” or “Water evaporates at 100 °C. ” The alternative hypothesis further branches into directional and non-directional.

  • Directional hypothesis: A hypothesis that states the result would be either positive or negative is called directional hypothesis. It accompanies H1 with either the ‘<' or ‘>' sign.
  • Non-directional hypothesis: A non-directional hypothesis only claims an effect on the dependent variable. It does not clarify whether the result would be positive or negative. The sign for a non-directional hypothesis is ‘≠.'

3. Simple hypothesis

A simple hypothesis is a statement made to reflect the relation between exactly two variables. One independent and one dependent. Consider the example, “Smoking is a prominent cause of lung cancer." The dependent variable, lung cancer, is dependent on the independent variable, smoking.

4. Complex hypothesis

In contrast to a simple hypothesis, a complex hypothesis implies the relationship between multiple independent and dependent variables. For instance, “Individuals who eat more fruits tend to have higher immunity, lesser cholesterol, and high metabolism.” The independent variable is eating more fruits, while the dependent variables are higher immunity, lesser cholesterol, and high metabolism.

5. Associative and casual hypothesis

Associative and casual hypotheses don't exhibit how many variables there will be. They define the relationship between the variables. In an associative hypothesis, changing any one variable, dependent or independent, affects others. In a casual hypothesis, the independent variable directly affects the dependent.

6. Empirical hypothesis

Also referred to as the working hypothesis, an empirical hypothesis claims a theory's validation via experiments and observation. This way, the statement appears justifiable and different from a wild guess.

Say, the hypothesis is “Women who take iron tablets face a lesser risk of anemia than those who take vitamin B12.” This is an example of an empirical hypothesis where the researcher  the statement after assessing a group of women who take iron tablets and charting the findings.

7. Statistical hypothesis

The point of a statistical hypothesis is to test an already existing hypothesis by studying a population sample. Hypothesis like “44% of the Indian population belong in the age group of 22-27.” leverage evidence to prove or disprove a particular statement.

Characteristics of a Good Hypothesis

Writing a hypothesis is essential as it can make or break your research for you. That includes your chances of getting published in a journal. So when you're designing one, keep an eye out for these pointers:

  • A research hypothesis has to be simple yet clear to look justifiable enough.
  • It has to be testable — your research would be rendered pointless if too far-fetched into reality or limited by technology.
  • It has to be precise about the results —what you are trying to do and achieve through it should come out in your hypothesis.
  • A research hypothesis should be self-explanatory, leaving no doubt in the reader's mind.
  • If you are developing a relational hypothesis, you need to include the variables and establish an appropriate relationship among them.
  • A hypothesis must keep and reflect the scope for further investigations and experiments.

Separating a Hypothesis from a Prediction

Outside of academia, hypothesis and prediction are often used interchangeably. In research writing, this is not only confusing but also incorrect. And although a hypothesis and prediction are guesses at their core, there are many differences between them.

A hypothesis is an educated guess or even a testable prediction validated through research. It aims to analyze the gathered evidence and facts to define a relationship between variables and put forth a logical explanation behind the nature of events.

Predictions are assumptions or expected outcomes made without any backing evidence. They are more fictionally inclined regardless of where they originate from.

For this reason, a hypothesis holds much more weight than a prediction. It sticks to the scientific method rather than pure guesswork. "Planets revolve around the Sun." is an example of a hypothesis as it is previous knowledge and observed trends. Additionally, we can test it through the scientific method.

Whereas "COVID-19 will be eradicated by 2030." is a prediction. Even though it results from past trends, we can't prove or disprove it. So, the only way this gets validated is to wait and watch if COVID-19 cases end by 2030.

Finally, How to Write a Hypothesis


Quick tips on writing a hypothesis

1.  Be clear about your research question

A hypothesis should instantly address the research question or the problem statement. To do so, you need to ask a question. Understand the constraints of your undertaken research topic and then formulate a simple and topic-centric problem. Only after that can you develop a hypothesis and further test for evidence.

2. Carry out a recce

Once you have your research's foundation laid out, it would be best to conduct preliminary research. Go through previous theories, academic papers, data, and experiments before you start curating your research hypothesis. It will give you an idea of your hypothesis's viability or originality.

Making use of references from relevant research papers helps draft a good research hypothesis. SciSpace Discover offers a repository of over 270 million research papers to browse through and gain a deeper understanding of related studies on a particular topic. Additionally, you can use SciSpace Copilot , your AI research assistant, for reading any lengthy research paper and getting a more summarized context of it. A hypothesis can be formed after evaluating many such summarized research papers. Copilot also offers explanations for theories and equations, explains paper in simplified version, allows you to highlight any text in the paper or clip math equations and tables and provides a deeper, clear understanding of what is being said. This can improve the hypothesis by helping you identify potential research gaps.

3. Create a 3-dimensional hypothesis

Variables are an essential part of any reasonable hypothesis. So, identify your independent and dependent variable(s) and form a correlation between them. The ideal way to do this is to write the hypothetical assumption in the ‘if-then' form. If you use this form, make sure that you state the predefined relationship between the variables.

In another way, you can choose to present your hypothesis as a comparison between two variables. Here, you must specify the difference you expect to observe in the results.

4. Write the first draft

Now that everything is in place, it's time to write your hypothesis. For starters, create the first draft. In this version, write what you expect to find from your research.

Clearly separate your independent and dependent variables and the link between them. Don't fixate on syntax at this stage. The goal is to ensure your hypothesis addresses the issue.

5. Proof your hypothesis

After preparing the first draft of your hypothesis, you need to inspect it thoroughly. It should tick all the boxes, like being concise, straightforward, relevant, and accurate. Your final hypothesis has to be well-structured as well.

Research projects are an exciting and crucial part of being a scholar. And once you have your research question, you need a great hypothesis to begin conducting research. Thus, knowing how to write a hypothesis is very important.

Now that you have a firmer grasp on what a good hypothesis constitutes, the different kinds there are, and what process to follow, you will find it much easier to write your hypothesis, which ultimately helps your research.

Now it's easier than ever to streamline your research workflow with SciSpace Discover . Its integrated, comprehensive end-to-end platform for research allows scholars to easily discover, write and publish their research and fosters collaboration.

It includes everything you need, including a repository of over 270 million research papers across disciplines, SEO-optimized summaries and public profiles to show your expertise and experience.

If you found these tips on writing a research hypothesis useful, head over to our blog on Statistical Hypothesis Testing to learn about the top researchers, papers, and institutions in this domain.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. what is the definition of hypothesis.

According to the Oxford dictionary, a hypothesis is defined as “An idea or explanation of something that is based on a few known facts, but that has not yet been proved to be true or correct”.

2. What is an example of hypothesis?

The hypothesis is a statement that proposes a relationship between two or more variables. An example: "If we increase the number of new users who join our platform by 25%, then we will see an increase in revenue."

3. What is an example of null hypothesis?

A null hypothesis is a statement that there is no relationship between two variables. The null hypothesis is written as H0. The null hypothesis states that there is no effect. For example, if you're studying whether or not a particular type of exercise increases strength, your null hypothesis will be "there is no difference in strength between people who exercise and people who don't."

4. What are the types of research?

• Fundamental research

• Applied research

• Qualitative research

• Quantitative research

• Mixed research

• Exploratory research

• Longitudinal research

• Cross-sectional research

• Field research

• Laboratory research

• Fixed research

• Flexible research

• Action research

• Policy research

• Classification research

• Comparative research

• Causal research

• Inductive research

• Deductive research

5. How to write a hypothesis?

• Your hypothesis should be able to predict the relationship and outcome.

• Avoid wordiness by keeping it simple and brief.

• Your hypothesis should contain observable and testable outcomes.

• Your hypothesis should be relevant to the research question.

6. What are the 2 types of hypothesis?

• Null hypotheses are used to test the claim that "there is no difference between two groups of data".

• Alternative hypotheses test the claim that "there is a difference between two data groups".

7. Difference between research question and research hypothesis?

A research question is a broad, open-ended question you will try to answer through your research. A hypothesis is a statement based on prior research or theory that you expect to be true due to your study. Example - Research question: What are the factors that influence the adoption of the new technology? Research hypothesis: There is a positive relationship between age, education and income level with the adoption of the new technology.

8. What is plural for hypothesis?

The plural of hypothesis is hypotheses. Here's an example of how it would be used in a statement, "Numerous well-considered hypotheses are presented in this part, and they are supported by tables and figures that are well-illustrated."

9. What is the red queen hypothesis?

The red queen hypothesis in evolutionary biology states that species must constantly evolve to avoid extinction because if they don't, they will be outcompeted by other species that are evolving. Leigh Van Valen first proposed it in 1973; since then, it has been tested and substantiated many times.

10. Who is known as the father of null hypothesis?

The father of the null hypothesis is Sir Ronald Fisher. He published a paper in 1925 that introduced the concept of null hypothesis testing, and he was also the first to use the term itself.

11. When to reject null hypothesis?

You need to find a significant difference between your two populations to reject the null hypothesis. You can determine that by running statistical tests such as an independent sample t-test or a dependent sample t-test. You should reject the null hypothesis if the p-value is less than 0.05.

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Research Hypothesis In Psychology: Types, & Examples

Saul Mcleod, PhD

Educator, Researcher

BSc (Hons) Psychology, MRes, PhD, University of Manchester

Saul Mcleod, Ph.D., is a qualified psychology teacher with over 18 years experience of working in further and higher education. He has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

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Olivia Guy-Evans, MSc

Associate Editor for Simply Psychology

BSc (Hons) Psychology, MSc Psychology of Education

Olivia Guy-Evans is a writer and associate editor for Simply Psychology. She has previously worked in healthcare and educational sectors.

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A research hypothesis, in its plural form “hypotheses,” is a specific, testable prediction about the anticipated results of a study, established at its outset.

The research hypothesis is often referred to as the alternative hypothesis, or the “experimental hypothesis” in experimental research.

It typically suggests a potential relationship between two key variables: the independent variable, which the researcher manipulates, and the dependent variable, which is measured based on those changes.

For a hypothesis to be valid, it must be testable against empirical evidence, leading to its potential confirmation or refutation.

Types of Research Hypotheses

Alternative hypothesis.

The alternative hypothesis states a relationship exists between the two variables being studied (one variable has an effect on the other).

An experimental hypothesis predicts what change(s) will occur in the dependent variable when the independent variable is manipulated.

It states that the results are not due to chance and are significant in supporting the theory being investigated.

The alternative hypothesis can be directional, indicating a specific direction of the effect, or non-directional, suggesting a difference without specifying its nature. It’s what researchers aim to support or demonstrate through their study.

Null Hypothesis

The null hypothesis states no relationship exists between the two variables being studied (one variable does not affect the other). There will be no changes in the dependent variable due to manipulating the independent variable.

It states results are due to chance and are not significant in supporting the idea being investigated.

The null hypothesis, positing no effect or relationship, is a foundational contrast to the research hypothesis in scientific inquiry. It establishes a baseline for statistical testing, promoting objectivity by initiating research from a neutral stance.

Many statistical methods are tailored to test the null hypothesis, determining the likelihood of observed results if no true effect exists.

This dual-hypothesis approach provides clarity, ensuring that research intentions are explicit, and fosters consistency across scientific studies, enhancing the standardization and interpretability of research outcomes.

Nondirectional Hypothesis

A non-directional hypothesis, also known as a two-tailed hypothesis, predicts that there is a difference or relationship between two variables but does not specify the direction of this relationship.

It merely indicates that a change or effect will occur without predicting which group will have higher or lower values.

For example, “There is a difference in performance between Group A and Group B” is a non-directional hypothesis.

Directional Hypothesis

A directional (one-tailed) hypothesis predicts the nature of the effect of the independent variable on the dependent variable. It predicts in which direction the change will take place. (i.e., greater, smaller, less, more)

It specifies whether one variable is greater, lesser, or different from another, rather than just indicating that there’s a difference without specifying its nature.

For example, “Exercise increases weight loss” is a directional hypothesis.



The Falsification Principle, proposed by Karl Popper , is a way of demarcating science from non-science. It suggests that for a theory or hypothesis to be considered scientific, it must be testable and irrefutable.

Falsifiability emphasizes that scientific claims shouldn’t just be confirmable but should also have the potential to be proven wrong.

It means that there should exist some potential evidence or experiment that could prove the proposition false.

However many confirming instances exist for a theory, it only takes one counter observation to falsify it. For example, the hypothesis that “all swans are white,” can be falsified by observing a black swan.

For Popper, science should attempt to disprove a theory rather than attempt to continually provide evidence to support a research hypothesis.

Can a Hypothesis be Proven?

We can never 100% prove the alternative hypothesis. Instead, we see if we can disprove, or reject the null hypothesis.

If we reject the null hypothesis, this doesn’t mean that our alternative hypothesis is correct but does support the alternative/experimental hypothesis.

Upon analysis of the results, an alternative hypothesis can be rejected or supported, but it can never be proven to be correct. We must avoid any reference to results proving a theory as this implies 100% certainty, and there is always a chance that evidence may exist which could refute a theory.

How to Write a Hypothesis

  • Identify variables . The researcher manipulates the independent variable and the dependent variable is the measured outcome.
  • Operationalized the variables being investigated . Operationalization of a hypothesis refers to the process of making the variables physically measurable or testable, e.g. if you are about to study aggression, you might count the number of punches given by participants.
  • Decide on a direction for your prediction . If there is evidence in the literature to support a specific effect of the independent variable on the dependent variable, write a directional (one-tailed) hypothesis. If there are limited or ambiguous findings in the literature regarding the effect of the independent variable on the dependent variable, write a non-directional (two-tailed) hypothesis.
  • Make it Testable : Ensure your hypothesis can be tested through experimentation or observation. It should be possible to prove it false (principle of falsifiability).
  • Clear & concise language . A strong hypothesis is concise (typically one to two sentences long), and formulated using clear and straightforward language, ensuring it’s easily understood and testable.

Consider a hypothesis many teachers might subscribe to: students work better on Monday morning than on Friday afternoon (IV=Day, DV= Standard of work).

Now, if we decide to study this by giving the same group of students a lesson on a Monday morning and a Friday afternoon and then measuring their immediate recall of the material covered in each session, we would end up with the following:

  • The alternative hypothesis states that students will recall significantly more information on a Monday morning than on a Friday afternoon.
  • The null hypothesis states that there will be no significant difference in the amount recalled on a Monday morning compared to a Friday afternoon. Any difference will be due to chance or confounding factors.

More Examples

  • Memory : Participants exposed to classical music during study sessions will recall more items from a list than those who studied in silence.
  • Social Psychology : Individuals who frequently engage in social media use will report higher levels of perceived social isolation compared to those who use it infrequently.
  • Developmental Psychology : Children who engage in regular imaginative play have better problem-solving skills than those who don’t.
  • Clinical Psychology : Cognitive-behavioral therapy will be more effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety over a 6-month period compared to traditional talk therapy.
  • Cognitive Psychology : Individuals who multitask between various electronic devices will have shorter attention spans on focused tasks than those who single-task.
  • Health Psychology : Patients who practice mindfulness meditation will experience lower levels of chronic pain compared to those who don’t meditate.
  • Organizational Psychology : Employees in open-plan offices will report higher levels of stress than those in private offices.
  • Behavioral Psychology : Rats rewarded with food after pressing a lever will press it more frequently than rats who receive no reward.

1 5 research hypothesis

Department of Health & Human Services

Module 1: Introduction: What is Research?

Module 1

Learning Objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Explain how the scientific method is used to develop new knowledge
  • Describe why it is important to follow a research plan

Text Box: The Scientific Method

The Scientific Method consists of observing the world around you and creating a  hypothesis  about relationships in the world. A hypothesis is an informed and educated prediction or explanation about something. Part of the research process involves testing the  hypothesis , and then examining the results of these tests as they relate to both the hypothesis and the world around you. When a researcher forms a hypothesis, this acts like a map through the research study. It tells the researcher which factors are important to study and how they might be related to each other or caused by a  manipulation  that the researcher introduces (e.g. a program, treatment or change in the environment). With this map, the researcher can interpret the information he/she collects and can make sound conclusions about the results.

Research can be done with human beings, animals, plants, other organisms and inorganic matter. When research is done with human beings and animals, it must follow specific rules about the treatment of humans and animals that have been created by the U.S. Federal Government. This ensures that humans and animals are treated with dignity and respect, and that the research causes minimal harm.

No matter what topic is being studied, the value of the research depends on how well it is designed and done. Therefore, one of the most important considerations in doing good research is to follow the design or plan that is developed by an experienced researcher who is called the  Principal Investigator  (PI). The PI is in charge of all aspects of the research and creates what is called a  protocol  (the research plan) that all people doing the research must follow. By doing so, the PI and the public can be sure that the results of the research are real and useful to other scientists.

Module 1: Discussion Questions

  • How is a hypothesis like a road map?
  • Who is ultimately responsible for the design and conduct of a research study?
  • How does following the research protocol contribute to informing public health practices?


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Frequently asked questions

What’s the difference between a research hypothesis and a statistical hypothesis.

A research hypothesis is your proposed answer to your research question. The research hypothesis usually includes an explanation (“ x affects y because …”).

A statistical hypothesis, on the other hand, is a mathematical statement about a population parameter. Statistical hypotheses always come in pairs: the null and alternative hypotheses . In a well-designed study , the statistical hypotheses correspond logically to the research hypothesis.

Frequently asked questions: Statistics

As the degrees of freedom increase, Student’s t distribution becomes less leptokurtic , meaning that the probability of extreme values decreases. The distribution becomes more and more similar to a standard normal distribution .

The three categories of kurtosis are:

  • Mesokurtosis : An excess kurtosis of 0. Normal distributions are mesokurtic.
  • Platykurtosis : A negative excess kurtosis. Platykurtic distributions are thin-tailed, meaning that they have few outliers .
  • Leptokurtosis : A positive excess kurtosis. Leptokurtic distributions are fat-tailed, meaning that they have many outliers.

Probability distributions belong to two broad categories: discrete probability distributions and continuous probability distributions . Within each category, there are many types of probability distributions.

Probability is the relative frequency over an infinite number of trials.

For example, the probability of a coin landing on heads is .5, meaning that if you flip the coin an infinite number of times, it will land on heads half the time.

Since doing something an infinite number of times is impossible, relative frequency is often used as an estimate of probability. If you flip a coin 1000 times and get 507 heads, the relative frequency, .507, is a good estimate of the probability.

Categorical variables can be described by a frequency distribution. Quantitative variables can also be described by a frequency distribution, but first they need to be grouped into interval classes .

A histogram is an effective way to tell if a frequency distribution appears to have a normal distribution .

Plot a histogram and look at the shape of the bars. If the bars roughly follow a symmetrical bell or hill shape, like the example below, then the distribution is approximately normally distributed.


You can use the CHISQ.INV.RT() function to find a chi-square critical value in Excel.

For example, to calculate the chi-square critical value for a test with df = 22 and α = .05, click any blank cell and type:


You can use the qchisq() function to find a chi-square critical value in R.

For example, to calculate the chi-square critical value for a test with df = 22 and α = .05:

qchisq(p = .05, df = 22, lower.tail = FALSE)

You can use the chisq.test() function to perform a chi-square test of independence in R. Give the contingency table as a matrix for the “x” argument. For example:

m = matrix(data = c(89, 84, 86, 9, 8, 24), nrow = 3, ncol = 2)

chisq.test(x = m)

You can use the CHISQ.TEST() function to perform a chi-square test of independence in Excel. It takes two arguments, CHISQ.TEST(observed_range, expected_range), and returns the p value.

Chi-square goodness of fit tests are often used in genetics. One common application is to check if two genes are linked (i.e., if the assortment is independent). When genes are linked, the allele inherited for one gene affects the allele inherited for another gene.

Suppose that you want to know if the genes for pea texture (R = round, r = wrinkled) and color (Y = yellow, y = green) are linked. You perform a dihybrid cross between two heterozygous ( RY / ry ) pea plants. The hypotheses you’re testing with your experiment are:

  • This would suggest that the genes are unlinked.
  • This would suggest that the genes are linked.

You observe 100 peas:

  • 78 round and yellow peas
  • 6 round and green peas
  • 4 wrinkled and yellow peas
  • 12 wrinkled and green peas

Step 1: Calculate the expected frequencies

To calculate the expected values, you can make a Punnett square. If the two genes are unlinked, the probability of each genotypic combination is equal.

The expected phenotypic ratios are therefore 9 round and yellow: 3 round and green: 3 wrinkled and yellow: 1 wrinkled and green.

From this, you can calculate the expected phenotypic frequencies for 100 peas:

Step 2: Calculate chi-square

Χ 2 = 8.41 + 8.67 + 11.6 + 5.4 = 34.08

Step 3: Find the critical chi-square value

Since there are four groups (round and yellow, round and green, wrinkled and yellow, wrinkled and green), there are three degrees of freedom .

For a test of significance at α = .05 and df = 3, the Χ 2 critical value is 7.82.

Step 4: Compare the chi-square value to the critical value

Χ 2 = 34.08

Critical value = 7.82

The Χ 2 value is greater than the critical value .

Step 5: Decide whether the reject the null hypothesis

The Χ 2 value is greater than the critical value, so we reject the null hypothesis that the population of offspring have an equal probability of inheriting all possible genotypic combinations. There is a significant difference between the observed and expected genotypic frequencies ( p < .05).

The data supports the alternative hypothesis that the offspring do not have an equal probability of inheriting all possible genotypic combinations, which suggests that the genes are linked

You can use the chisq.test() function to perform a chi-square goodness of fit test in R. Give the observed values in the “x” argument, give the expected values in the “p” argument, and set “rescale.p” to true. For example:

chisq.test(x = c(22,30,23), p = c(25,25,25), rescale.p = TRUE)

You can use the CHISQ.TEST() function to perform a chi-square goodness of fit test in Excel. It takes two arguments, CHISQ.TEST(observed_range, expected_range), and returns the p value .

Both correlations and chi-square tests can test for relationships between two variables. However, a correlation is used when you have two quantitative variables and a chi-square test of independence is used when you have two categorical variables.

Both chi-square tests and t tests can test for differences between two groups. However, a t test is used when you have a dependent quantitative variable and an independent categorical variable (with two groups). A chi-square test of independence is used when you have two categorical variables.

The two main chi-square tests are the chi-square goodness of fit test and the chi-square test of independence .

A chi-square distribution is a continuous probability distribution . The shape of a chi-square distribution depends on its degrees of freedom , k . The mean of a chi-square distribution is equal to its degrees of freedom ( k ) and the variance is 2 k . The range is 0 to ∞.

As the degrees of freedom ( k ) increases, the chi-square distribution goes from a downward curve to a hump shape. As the degrees of freedom increases further, the hump goes from being strongly right-skewed to being approximately normal.

To find the quartiles of a probability distribution, you can use the distribution’s quantile function.

You can use the quantile() function to find quartiles in R. If your data is called “data”, then “quantile(data, prob=c(.25,.5,.75), type=1)” will return the three quartiles.

You can use the QUARTILE() function to find quartiles in Excel. If your data is in column A, then click any blank cell and type “=QUARTILE(A:A,1)” for the first quartile, “=QUARTILE(A:A,2)” for the second quartile, and “=QUARTILE(A:A,3)” for the third quartile.

You can use the PEARSON() function to calculate the Pearson correlation coefficient in Excel. If your variables are in columns A and B, then click any blank cell and type “PEARSON(A:A,B:B)”.

There is no function to directly test the significance of the correlation.

You can use the cor() function to calculate the Pearson correlation coefficient in R. To test the significance of the correlation, you can use the cor.test() function.

You should use the Pearson correlation coefficient when (1) the relationship is linear and (2) both variables are quantitative and (3) normally distributed and (4) have no outliers.

The Pearson correlation coefficient ( r ) is the most common way of measuring a linear correlation. It is a number between –1 and 1 that measures the strength and direction of the relationship between two variables.

This table summarizes the most important differences between normal distributions and Poisson distributions :

When the mean of a Poisson distribution is large (>10), it can be approximated by a normal distribution.

In the Poisson distribution formula, lambda (λ) is the mean number of events within a given interval of time or space. For example, λ = 0.748 floods per year.

The e in the Poisson distribution formula stands for the number 2.718. This number is called Euler’s constant. You can simply substitute e with 2.718 when you’re calculating a Poisson probability. Euler’s constant is a very useful number and is especially important in calculus.

The three types of skewness are:

  • Right skew (also called positive skew ) . A right-skewed distribution is longer on the right side of its peak than on its left.
  • Left skew (also called negative skew). A left-skewed distribution is longer on the left side of its peak than on its right.
  • Zero skew. It is symmetrical and its left and right sides are mirror images.

Skewness of a distribution

Skewness and kurtosis are both important measures of a distribution’s shape.

  • Skewness measures the asymmetry of a distribution.
  • Kurtosis measures the heaviness of a distribution’s tails relative to a normal distribution .

Difference between skewness and kurtosis

The alternative hypothesis is often abbreviated as H a or H 1 . When the alternative hypothesis is written using mathematical symbols, it always includes an inequality symbol (usually ≠, but sometimes < or >).

The null hypothesis is often abbreviated as H 0 . When the null hypothesis is written using mathematical symbols, it always includes an equality symbol (usually =, but sometimes ≥ or ≤).

The t distribution was first described by statistician William Sealy Gosset under the pseudonym “Student.”

To calculate a confidence interval of a mean using the critical value of t , follow these four steps:

  • Choose the significance level based on your desired confidence level. The most common confidence level is 95%, which corresponds to α = .05 in the two-tailed t table .
  • Find the critical value of t in the two-tailed t table.
  • Multiply the critical value of t by s / √ n .
  • Add this value to the mean to calculate the upper limit of the confidence interval, and subtract this value from the mean to calculate the lower limit.

To test a hypothesis using the critical value of t , follow these four steps:

  • Calculate the t value for your sample.
  • Find the critical value of t in the t table .
  • Determine if the (absolute) t value is greater than the critical value of t .
  • Reject the null hypothesis if the sample’s t value is greater than the critical value of t . Otherwise, don’t reject the null hypothesis .

You can use the T.INV() function to find the critical value of t for one-tailed tests in Excel, and you can use the T.INV.2T() function for two-tailed tests.

You can use the qt() function to find the critical value of t in R. The function gives the critical value of t for the one-tailed test. If you want the critical value of t for a two-tailed test, divide the significance level by two.

You can use the RSQ() function to calculate R² in Excel. If your dependent variable is in column A and your independent variable is in column B, then click any blank cell and type “RSQ(A:A,B:B)”.

You can use the summary() function to view the R²  of a linear model in R. You will see the “R-squared” near the bottom of the output.

There are two formulas you can use to calculate the coefficient of determination (R²) of a simple linear regression .


The coefficient of determination (R²) is a number between 0 and 1 that measures how well a statistical model predicts an outcome. You can interpret the R² as the proportion of variation in the dependent variable that is predicted by the statistical model.

There are three main types of missing data .

Missing completely at random (MCAR) data are randomly distributed across the variable and unrelated to other variables .

Missing at random (MAR) data are not randomly distributed but they are accounted for by other observed variables.

Missing not at random (MNAR) data systematically differ from the observed values.

To tidy up your missing data , your options usually include accepting, removing, or recreating the missing data.

  • Acceptance: You leave your data as is
  • Listwise or pairwise deletion: You delete all cases (participants) with missing data from analyses
  • Imputation: You use other data to fill in the missing data

Missing data are important because, depending on the type, they can sometimes bias your results. This means your results may not be generalizable outside of your study because your data come from an unrepresentative sample .

Missing data , or missing values, occur when you don’t have data stored for certain variables or participants.

In any dataset, there’s usually some missing data. In quantitative research , missing values appear as blank cells in your spreadsheet.

There are two steps to calculating the geometric mean :

  • Multiply all values together to get their product.
  • Find the n th root of the product ( n is the number of values).

Before calculating the geometric mean, note that:

  • The geometric mean can only be found for positive values.
  • If any value in the data set is zero, the geometric mean is zero.

The arithmetic mean is the most commonly used type of mean and is often referred to simply as “the mean.” While the arithmetic mean is based on adding and dividing values, the geometric mean multiplies and finds the root of values.

Even though the geometric mean is a less common measure of central tendency , it’s more accurate than the arithmetic mean for percentage change and positively skewed data. The geometric mean is often reported for financial indices and population growth rates.

The geometric mean is an average that multiplies all values and finds a root of the number. For a dataset with n numbers, you find the n th root of their product.

Outliers are extreme values that differ from most values in the dataset. You find outliers at the extreme ends of your dataset.

It’s best to remove outliers only when you have a sound reason for doing so.

Some outliers represent natural variations in the population , and they should be left as is in your dataset. These are called true outliers.

Other outliers are problematic and should be removed because they represent measurement errors , data entry or processing errors, or poor sampling.

You can choose from four main ways to detect outliers :

  • Sorting your values from low to high and checking minimum and maximum values
  • Visualizing your data with a box plot and looking for outliers
  • Using the interquartile range to create fences for your data
  • Using statistical procedures to identify extreme values

Outliers can have a big impact on your statistical analyses and skew the results of any hypothesis test if they are inaccurate.

These extreme values can impact your statistical power as well, making it hard to detect a true effect if there is one.

No, the steepness or slope of the line isn’t related to the correlation coefficient value. The correlation coefficient only tells you how closely your data fit on a line, so two datasets with the same correlation coefficient can have very different slopes.

To find the slope of the line, you’ll need to perform a regression analysis .

Correlation coefficients always range between -1 and 1.

The sign of the coefficient tells you the direction of the relationship: a positive value means the variables change together in the same direction, while a negative value means they change together in opposite directions.

The absolute value of a number is equal to the number without its sign. The absolute value of a correlation coefficient tells you the magnitude of the correlation: the greater the absolute value, the stronger the correlation.

These are the assumptions your data must meet if you want to use Pearson’s r :

  • Both variables are on an interval or ratio level of measurement
  • Data from both variables follow normal distributions
  • Your data have no outliers
  • Your data is from a random or representative sample
  • You expect a linear relationship between the two variables

A correlation coefficient is a single number that describes the strength and direction of the relationship between your variables.

Different types of correlation coefficients might be appropriate for your data based on their levels of measurement and distributions . The Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient (Pearson’s r ) is commonly used to assess a linear relationship between two quantitative variables.

There are various ways to improve power:

  • Increase the potential effect size by manipulating your independent variable more strongly,
  • Increase sample size,
  • Increase the significance level (alpha),
  • Reduce measurement error by increasing the precision and accuracy of your measurement devices and procedures,
  • Use a one-tailed test instead of a two-tailed test for t tests and z tests.

A power analysis is a calculation that helps you determine a minimum sample size for your study. It’s made up of four main components. If you know or have estimates for any three of these, you can calculate the fourth component.

  • Statistical power : the likelihood that a test will detect an effect of a certain size if there is one, usually set at 80% or higher.
  • Sample size : the minimum number of observations needed to observe an effect of a certain size with a given power level.
  • Significance level (alpha) : the maximum risk of rejecting a true null hypothesis that you are willing to take, usually set at 5%.
  • Expected effect size : a standardized way of expressing the magnitude of the expected result of your study, usually based on similar studies or a pilot study.

Null and alternative hypotheses are used in statistical hypothesis testing . The null hypothesis of a test always predicts no effect or no relationship between variables, while the alternative hypothesis states your research prediction of an effect or relationship.

Statistical analysis is the main method for analyzing quantitative research data . It uses probabilities and models to test predictions about a population from sample data.

The risk of making a Type II error is inversely related to the statistical power of a test. Power is the extent to which a test can correctly detect a real effect when there is one.

To (indirectly) reduce the risk of a Type II error, you can increase the sample size or the significance level to increase statistical power.

The risk of making a Type I error is the significance level (or alpha) that you choose. That’s a value that you set at the beginning of your study to assess the statistical probability of obtaining your results ( p value ).

The significance level is usually set at 0.05 or 5%. This means that your results only have a 5% chance of occurring, or less, if the null hypothesis is actually true.

To reduce the Type I error probability, you can set a lower significance level.

In statistics, a Type I error means rejecting the null hypothesis when it’s actually true, while a Type II error means failing to reject the null hypothesis when it’s actually false.

In statistics, power refers to the likelihood of a hypothesis test detecting a true effect if there is one. A statistically powerful test is more likely to reject a false negative (a Type II error).

If you don’t ensure enough power in your study, you may not be able to detect a statistically significant result even when it has practical significance. Your study might not have the ability to answer your research question.

While statistical significance shows that an effect exists in a study, practical significance shows that the effect is large enough to be meaningful in the real world.

Statistical significance is denoted by p -values whereas practical significance is represented by effect sizes .

There are dozens of measures of effect sizes . The most common effect sizes are Cohen’s d and Pearson’s r . Cohen’s d measures the size of the difference between two groups while Pearson’s r measures the strength of the relationship between two variables .

Effect size tells you how meaningful the relationship between variables or the difference between groups is.

A large effect size means that a research finding has practical significance, while a small effect size indicates limited practical applications.

Using descriptive and inferential statistics , you can make two types of estimates about the population : point estimates and interval estimates.

  • A point estimate is a single value estimate of a parameter . For instance, a sample mean is a point estimate of a population mean.
  • An interval estimate gives you a range of values where the parameter is expected to lie. A confidence interval is the most common type of interval estimate.

Both types of estimates are important for gathering a clear idea of where a parameter is likely to lie.

Standard error and standard deviation are both measures of variability . The standard deviation reflects variability within a sample, while the standard error estimates the variability across samples of a population.

The standard error of the mean , or simply standard error , indicates how different the population mean is likely to be from a sample mean. It tells you how much the sample mean would vary if you were to repeat a study using new samples from within a single population.

To figure out whether a given number is a parameter or a statistic , ask yourself the following:

  • Does the number describe a whole, complete population where every member can be reached for data collection ?
  • Is it possible to collect data for this number from every member of the population in a reasonable time frame?

If the answer is yes to both questions, the number is likely to be a parameter. For small populations, data can be collected from the whole population and summarized in parameters.

If the answer is no to either of the questions, then the number is more likely to be a statistic.

The arithmetic mean is the most commonly used mean. It’s often simply called the mean or the average. But there are some other types of means you can calculate depending on your research purposes:

  • Weighted mean: some values contribute more to the mean than others.
  • Geometric mean : values are multiplied rather than summed up.
  • Harmonic mean: reciprocals of values are used instead of the values themselves.

You can find the mean , or average, of a data set in two simple steps:

  • Find the sum of the values by adding them all up.
  • Divide the sum by the number of values in the data set.

This method is the same whether you are dealing with sample or population data or positive or negative numbers.

The median is the most informative measure of central tendency for skewed distributions or distributions with outliers. For example, the median is often used as a measure of central tendency for income distributions, which are generally highly skewed.

Because the median only uses one or two values, it’s unaffected by extreme outliers or non-symmetric distributions of scores. In contrast, the mean and mode can vary in skewed distributions.

To find the median , first order your data. Then calculate the middle position based on n , the number of values in your data set.


A data set can often have no mode, one mode or more than one mode – it all depends on how many different values repeat most frequently.

Your data can be:

  • without any mode
  • unimodal, with one mode,
  • bimodal, with two modes,
  • trimodal, with three modes, or
  • multimodal, with four or more modes.

To find the mode :

  • If your data is numerical or quantitative, order the values from low to high.
  • If it is categorical, sort the values by group, in any order.

Then you simply need to identify the most frequently occurring value.

The interquartile range is the best measure of variability for skewed distributions or data sets with outliers. Because it’s based on values that come from the middle half of the distribution, it’s unlikely to be influenced by outliers .

The two most common methods for calculating interquartile range are the exclusive and inclusive methods.

The exclusive method excludes the median when identifying Q1 and Q3, while the inclusive method includes the median as a value in the data set in identifying the quartiles.

For each of these methods, you’ll need different procedures for finding the median, Q1 and Q3 depending on whether your sample size is even- or odd-numbered. The exclusive method works best for even-numbered sample sizes, while the inclusive method is often used with odd-numbered sample sizes.

While the range gives you the spread of the whole data set, the interquartile range gives you the spread of the middle half of a data set.

Homoscedasticity, or homogeneity of variances, is an assumption of equal or similar variances in different groups being compared.

This is an important assumption of parametric statistical tests because they are sensitive to any dissimilarities. Uneven variances in samples result in biased and skewed test results.

Statistical tests such as variance tests or the analysis of variance (ANOVA) use sample variance to assess group differences of populations. They use the variances of the samples to assess whether the populations they come from significantly differ from each other.

Variance is the average squared deviations from the mean, while standard deviation is the square root of this number. Both measures reflect variability in a distribution, but their units differ:

  • Standard deviation is expressed in the same units as the original values (e.g., minutes or meters).
  • Variance is expressed in much larger units (e.g., meters squared).

Although the units of variance are harder to intuitively understand, variance is important in statistical tests .

The empirical rule, or the 68-95-99.7 rule, tells you where most of the values lie in a normal distribution :

  • Around 68% of values are within 1 standard deviation of the mean.
  • Around 95% of values are within 2 standard deviations of the mean.
  • Around 99.7% of values are within 3 standard deviations of the mean.

The empirical rule is a quick way to get an overview of your data and check for any outliers or extreme values that don’t follow this pattern.

In a normal distribution , data are symmetrically distributed with no skew. Most values cluster around a central region, with values tapering off as they go further away from the center.

The measures of central tendency (mean, mode, and median) are exactly the same in a normal distribution.

Normal distribution

The standard deviation is the average amount of variability in your data set. It tells you, on average, how far each score lies from the mean .

In normal distributions, a high standard deviation means that values are generally far from the mean, while a low standard deviation indicates that values are clustered close to the mean.

No. Because the range formula subtracts the lowest number from the highest number, the range is always zero or a positive number.

In statistics, the range is the spread of your data from the lowest to the highest value in the distribution. It is the simplest measure of variability .

While central tendency tells you where most of your data points lie, variability summarizes how far apart your points from each other.

Data sets can have the same central tendency but different levels of variability or vice versa . Together, they give you a complete picture of your data.

Variability is most commonly measured with the following descriptive statistics :

  • Range : the difference between the highest and lowest values
  • Interquartile range : the range of the middle half of a distribution
  • Standard deviation : average distance from the mean
  • Variance : average of squared distances from the mean

Variability tells you how far apart points lie from each other and from the center of a distribution or a data set.

Variability is also referred to as spread, scatter or dispersion.

While interval and ratio data can both be categorized, ranked, and have equal spacing between adjacent values, only ratio scales have a true zero.

For example, temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit is at an interval scale because zero is not the lowest possible temperature. In the Kelvin scale, a ratio scale, zero represents a total lack of thermal energy.

A critical value is the value of the test statistic which defines the upper and lower bounds of a confidence interval , or which defines the threshold of statistical significance in a statistical test. It describes how far from the mean of the distribution you have to go to cover a certain amount of the total variation in the data (i.e. 90%, 95%, 99%).

If you are constructing a 95% confidence interval and are using a threshold of statistical significance of p = 0.05, then your critical value will be identical in both cases.

The t -distribution gives more probability to observations in the tails of the distribution than the standard normal distribution (a.k.a. the z -distribution).

In this way, the t -distribution is more conservative than the standard normal distribution: to reach the same level of confidence or statistical significance , you will need to include a wider range of the data.

A t -score (a.k.a. a t -value) is equivalent to the number of standard deviations away from the mean of the t -distribution .

The t -score is the test statistic used in t -tests and regression tests. It can also be used to describe how far from the mean an observation is when the data follow a t -distribution.

The t -distribution is a way of describing a set of observations where most observations fall close to the mean , and the rest of the observations make up the tails on either side. It is a type of normal distribution used for smaller sample sizes, where the variance in the data is unknown.

The t -distribution forms a bell curve when plotted on a graph. It can be described mathematically using the mean and the standard deviation .

In statistics, ordinal and nominal variables are both considered categorical variables .

Even though ordinal data can sometimes be numerical, not all mathematical operations can be performed on them.

Ordinal data has two characteristics:

  • The data can be classified into different categories within a variable.
  • The categories have a natural ranked order.

However, unlike with interval data, the distances between the categories are uneven or unknown.

Nominal and ordinal are two of the four levels of measurement . Nominal level data can only be classified, while ordinal level data can be classified and ordered.

Nominal data is data that can be labelled or classified into mutually exclusive categories within a variable. These categories cannot be ordered in a meaningful way.

For example, for the nominal variable of preferred mode of transportation, you may have the categories of car, bus, train, tram or bicycle.

If your confidence interval for a difference between groups includes zero, that means that if you run your experiment again you have a good chance of finding no difference between groups.

If your confidence interval for a correlation or regression includes zero, that means that if you run your experiment again there is a good chance of finding no correlation in your data.

In both of these cases, you will also find a high p -value when you run your statistical test, meaning that your results could have occurred under the null hypothesis of no relationship between variables or no difference between groups.

If you want to calculate a confidence interval around the mean of data that is not normally distributed , you have two choices:

  • Find a distribution that matches the shape of your data and use that distribution to calculate the confidence interval.
  • Perform a transformation on your data to make it fit a normal distribution, and then find the confidence interval for the transformed data.

The standard normal distribution , also called the z -distribution, is a special normal distribution where the mean is 0 and the standard deviation is 1.

Any normal distribution can be converted into the standard normal distribution by turning the individual values into z -scores. In a z -distribution, z -scores tell you how many standard deviations away from the mean each value lies.

The z -score and t -score (aka z -value and t -value) show how many standard deviations away from the mean of the distribution you are, assuming your data follow a z -distribution or a t -distribution .

These scores are used in statistical tests to show how far from the mean of the predicted distribution your statistical estimate is. If your test produces a z -score of 2.5, this means that your estimate is 2.5 standard deviations from the predicted mean.

The predicted mean and distribution of your estimate are generated by the null hypothesis of the statistical test you are using. The more standard deviations away from the predicted mean your estimate is, the less likely it is that the estimate could have occurred under the null hypothesis .

To calculate the confidence interval , you need to know:

  • The point estimate you are constructing the confidence interval for
  • The critical values for the test statistic
  • The standard deviation of the sample
  • The sample size

Then you can plug these components into the confidence interval formula that corresponds to your data. The formula depends on the type of estimate (e.g. a mean or a proportion) and on the distribution of your data.

The confidence level is the percentage of times you expect to get close to the same estimate if you run your experiment again or resample the population in the same way.

The confidence interval consists of the upper and lower bounds of the estimate you expect to find at a given level of confidence.

For example, if you are estimating a 95% confidence interval around the mean proportion of female babies born every year based on a random sample of babies, you might find an upper bound of 0.56 and a lower bound of 0.48. These are the upper and lower bounds of the confidence interval. The confidence level is 95%.

The mean is the most frequently used measure of central tendency because it uses all values in the data set to give you an average.

For data from skewed distributions, the median is better than the mean because it isn’t influenced by extremely large values.

The mode is the only measure you can use for nominal or categorical data that can’t be ordered.

The measures of central tendency you can use depends on the level of measurement of your data.

  • For a nominal level, you can only use the mode to find the most frequent value.
  • For an ordinal level or ranked data, you can also use the median to find the value in the middle of your data set.
  • For interval or ratio levels, in addition to the mode and median, you can use the mean to find the average value.

Measures of central tendency help you find the middle, or the average, of a data set.

The 3 most common measures of central tendency are the mean, median and mode.

  • The mode is the most frequent value.
  • The median is the middle number in an ordered data set.
  • The mean is the sum of all values divided by the total number of values.

Some variables have fixed levels. For example, gender and ethnicity are always nominal level data because they cannot be ranked.

However, for other variables, you can choose the level of measurement . For example, income is a variable that can be recorded on an ordinal or a ratio scale:

  • At an ordinal level , you could create 5 income groupings and code the incomes that fall within them from 1–5.
  • At a ratio level , you would record exact numbers for income.

If you have a choice, the ratio level is always preferable because you can analyze data in more ways. The higher the level of measurement, the more precise your data is.

The level at which you measure a variable determines how you can analyze your data.

Depending on the level of measurement , you can perform different descriptive statistics to get an overall summary of your data and inferential statistics to see if your results support or refute your hypothesis .

Levels of measurement tell you how precisely variables are recorded. There are 4 levels of measurement, which can be ranked from low to high:

  • Nominal : the data can only be categorized.
  • Ordinal : the data can be categorized and ranked.
  • Interval : the data can be categorized and ranked, and evenly spaced.
  • Ratio : the data can be categorized, ranked, evenly spaced and has a natural zero.

No. The p -value only tells you how likely the data you have observed is to have occurred under the null hypothesis .

If the p -value is below your threshold of significance (typically p < 0.05), then you can reject the null hypothesis, but this does not necessarily mean that your alternative hypothesis is true.

The alpha value, or the threshold for statistical significance , is arbitrary – which value you use depends on your field of study.

In most cases, researchers use an alpha of 0.05, which means that there is a less than 5% chance that the data being tested could have occurred under the null hypothesis.

P -values are usually automatically calculated by the program you use to perform your statistical test. They can also be estimated using p -value tables for the relevant test statistic .

P -values are calculated from the null distribution of the test statistic. They tell you how often a test statistic is expected to occur under the null hypothesis of the statistical test, based on where it falls in the null distribution.

If the test statistic is far from the mean of the null distribution, then the p -value will be small, showing that the test statistic is not likely to have occurred under the null hypothesis.

A p -value , or probability value, is a number describing how likely it is that your data would have occurred under the null hypothesis of your statistical test .

The test statistic you use will be determined by the statistical test.

You can choose the right statistical test by looking at what type of data you have collected and what type of relationship you want to test.

The test statistic will change based on the number of observations in your data, how variable your observations are, and how strong the underlying patterns in the data are.

For example, if one data set has higher variability while another has lower variability, the first data set will produce a test statistic closer to the null hypothesis , even if the true correlation between two variables is the same in either data set.

The formula for the test statistic depends on the statistical test being used.

Generally, the test statistic is calculated as the pattern in your data (i.e. the correlation between variables or difference between groups) divided by the variance in the data (i.e. the standard deviation ).

  • Univariate statistics summarize only one variable  at a time.
  • Bivariate statistics compare two variables .
  • Multivariate statistics compare more than two variables .

The 3 main types of descriptive statistics concern the frequency distribution, central tendency, and variability of a dataset.

  • Distribution refers to the frequencies of different responses.
  • Measures of central tendency give you the average for each response.
  • Measures of variability show you the spread or dispersion of your dataset.

Descriptive statistics summarize the characteristics of a data set. Inferential statistics allow you to test a hypothesis or assess whether your data is generalizable to the broader population.

In statistics, model selection is a process researchers use to compare the relative value of different statistical models and determine which one is the best fit for the observed data.

The Akaike information criterion is one of the most common methods of model selection. AIC weights the ability of the model to predict the observed data against the number of parameters the model requires to reach that level of precision.

AIC model selection can help researchers find a model that explains the observed variation in their data while avoiding overfitting.

In statistics, a model is the collection of one or more independent variables and their predicted interactions that researchers use to try to explain variation in their dependent variable.

You can test a model using a statistical test . To compare how well different models fit your data, you can use Akaike’s information criterion for model selection.

The Akaike information criterion is calculated from the maximum log-likelihood of the model and the number of parameters (K) used to reach that likelihood. The AIC function is 2K – 2(log-likelihood) .

Lower AIC values indicate a better-fit model, and a model with a delta-AIC (the difference between the two AIC values being compared) of more than -2 is considered significantly better than the model it is being compared to.

The Akaike information criterion is a mathematical test used to evaluate how well a model fits the data it is meant to describe. It penalizes models which use more independent variables (parameters) as a way to avoid over-fitting.

AIC is most often used to compare the relative goodness-of-fit among different models under consideration and to then choose the model that best fits the data.

A factorial ANOVA is any ANOVA that uses more than one categorical independent variable . A two-way ANOVA is a type of factorial ANOVA.

Some examples of factorial ANOVAs include:

  • Testing the combined effects of vaccination (vaccinated or not vaccinated) and health status (healthy or pre-existing condition) on the rate of flu infection in a population.
  • Testing the effects of marital status (married, single, divorced, widowed), job status (employed, self-employed, unemployed, retired), and family history (no family history, some family history) on the incidence of depression in a population.
  • Testing the effects of feed type (type A, B, or C) and barn crowding (not crowded, somewhat crowded, very crowded) on the final weight of chickens in a commercial farming operation.

In ANOVA, the null hypothesis is that there is no difference among group means. If any group differs significantly from the overall group mean, then the ANOVA will report a statistically significant result.

Significant differences among group means are calculated using the F statistic, which is the ratio of the mean sum of squares (the variance explained by the independent variable) to the mean square error (the variance left over).

If the F statistic is higher than the critical value (the value of F that corresponds with your alpha value, usually 0.05), then the difference among groups is deemed statistically significant.

The only difference between one-way and two-way ANOVA is the number of independent variables . A one-way ANOVA has one independent variable, while a two-way ANOVA has two.

  • One-way ANOVA : Testing the relationship between shoe brand (Nike, Adidas, Saucony, Hoka) and race finish times in a marathon.
  • Two-way ANOVA : Testing the relationship between shoe brand (Nike, Adidas, Saucony, Hoka), runner age group (junior, senior, master’s), and race finishing times in a marathon.

All ANOVAs are designed to test for differences among three or more groups. If you are only testing for a difference between two groups, use a t-test instead.

Multiple linear regression is a regression model that estimates the relationship between a quantitative dependent variable and two or more independent variables using a straight line.

Linear regression most often uses mean-square error (MSE) to calculate the error of the model. MSE is calculated by:

  • measuring the distance of the observed y-values from the predicted y-values at each value of x;
  • squaring each of these distances;
  • calculating the mean of each of the squared distances.

Linear regression fits a line to the data by finding the regression coefficient that results in the smallest MSE.

Simple linear regression is a regression model that estimates the relationship between one independent variable and one dependent variable using a straight line. Both variables should be quantitative.

For example, the relationship between temperature and the expansion of mercury in a thermometer can be modeled using a straight line: as temperature increases, the mercury expands. This linear relationship is so certain that we can use mercury thermometers to measure temperature.

A regression model is a statistical model that estimates the relationship between one dependent variable and one or more independent variables using a line (or a plane in the case of two or more independent variables).

A regression model can be used when the dependent variable is quantitative, except in the case of logistic regression, where the dependent variable is binary.

A t-test should not be used to measure differences among more than two groups, because the error structure for a t-test will underestimate the actual error when many groups are being compared.

If you want to compare the means of several groups at once, it’s best to use another statistical test such as ANOVA or a post-hoc test.

A one-sample t-test is used to compare a single population to a standard value (for example, to determine whether the average lifespan of a specific town is different from the country average).

A paired t-test is used to compare a single population before and after some experimental intervention or at two different points in time (for example, measuring student performance on a test before and after being taught the material).

A t-test measures the difference in group means divided by the pooled standard error of the two group means.

In this way, it calculates a number (the t-value) illustrating the magnitude of the difference between the two group means being compared, and estimates the likelihood that this difference exists purely by chance (p-value).

Your choice of t-test depends on whether you are studying one group or two groups, and whether you care about the direction of the difference in group means.

If you are studying one group, use a paired t-test to compare the group mean over time or after an intervention, or use a one-sample t-test to compare the group mean to a standard value. If you are studying two groups, use a two-sample t-test .

If you want to know only whether a difference exists, use a two-tailed test . If you want to know if one group mean is greater or less than the other, use a left-tailed or right-tailed one-tailed test .

A t-test is a statistical test that compares the means of two samples . It is used in hypothesis testing , with a null hypothesis that the difference in group means is zero and an alternate hypothesis that the difference in group means is different from zero.

Statistical significance is a term used by researchers to state that it is unlikely their observations could have occurred under the null hypothesis of a statistical test . Significance is usually denoted by a p -value , or probability value.

Statistical significance is arbitrary – it depends on the threshold, or alpha value, chosen by the researcher. The most common threshold is p < 0.05, which means that the data is likely to occur less than 5% of the time under the null hypothesis .

When the p -value falls below the chosen alpha value, then we say the result of the test is statistically significant.

A test statistic is a number calculated by a  statistical test . It describes how far your observed data is from the  null hypothesis  of no relationship between  variables or no difference among sample groups.

The test statistic tells you how different two or more groups are from the overall population mean , or how different a linear slope is from the slope predicted by a null hypothesis . Different test statistics are used in different statistical tests.

Statistical tests commonly assume that:

  • the data are normally distributed
  • the groups that are being compared have similar variance
  • the data are independent

If your data does not meet these assumptions you might still be able to use a nonparametric statistical test , which have fewer requirements but also make weaker inferences.

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5.2 - writing hypotheses.

The first step in conducting a hypothesis test is to write the hypothesis statements that are going to be tested. For each test you will have a null hypothesis (\(H_0\)) and an alternative hypothesis (\(H_a\)).

When writing hypotheses there are three things that we need to know: (1) the parameter that we are testing (2) the direction of the test (non-directional, right-tailed or left-tailed), and (3) the value of the hypothesized parameter.

  • At this point we can write hypotheses for a single mean (\(\mu\)), paired means(\(\mu_d\)), a single proportion (\(p\)), the difference between two independent means (\(\mu_1-\mu_2\)), the difference between two proportions (\(p_1-p_2\)), a simple linear regression slope (\(\beta\)), and a correlation (\(\rho\)). 
  • The research question will give us the information necessary to determine if the test is two-tailed (e.g., "different from," "not equal to"), right-tailed (e.g., "greater than," "more than"), or left-tailed (e.g., "less than," "fewer than").
  • The research question will also give us the hypothesized parameter value. This is the number that goes in the hypothesis statements (i.e., \(\mu_0\) and \(p_0\)). For the difference between two groups, regression, and correlation, this value is typically 0.

Hypotheses are always written in terms of population parameters (e.g., \(p\) and \(\mu\)).  The tables below display all of the possible hypotheses for the parameters that we have learned thus far. Note that the null hypothesis always includes the equality (i.e., =).

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State of Climate Action 2023

The State of Climate Action 2023 provides the world’s most comprehensive roadmap of how to close the gap in climate action across sectors to limit global warming to 1.5°C. It finds that recent progress toward 1.5°C-aligned targets isn’t happening at the pace and scale necessary and highlights where action must urgently accelerate this decade to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, scale up carbon removal and increase climate finance.

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Published under Systems Change Lab , this Report features analysis from Climate , Climate , Energy , Food , Forests , WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities , Finance , and Clean Energy . Reach out to Sophie Boehm for more information.

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State of Climate Action

Methodology underpinning the state of climate action series: 2023 update.

  • Methodology Underpinning the State of Climate Action Series
  • State of Climate Action 2022
  • State of Climate Action 2021: Systems Transformations Required to Limit Global Warming to 1.5°C
  • State of Climate Action: Assessing Progress toward 2030 and 2050

Published ahead of the final phase of the Global Stocktake, the State of Climate Action 2023 offers a roadmap that the world can follow to avoid increasingly dangerous and irreversible climate impacts, while minimizing harms to biodiversity and food security. It translates the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit into 2030 and 2050 targets across sectors that account for roughly 85% of global GHG emissions — power, buildings, industry, transport, forests and land, food and agriculture — as well as those focused on the scale-up of technological carbon removal and climate finance. The report then assesses collective global progress and highlights where action must urgently accelerate this decade to limit warming to 1.5°C.

The State of Climate Action 2023 finds that global efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C are failing across the board, with recent progress made on every indicator — except electric passenger car sales — lagging significantly behind the pace and scale that is necessary to address the climate crisis.

Key Findings

This year’s State of Climate Action finds that progress made in closing the global gap in climate action remains woefully inadequate — 41 of 42 indicators assessed are not on track to achieve their 2030 targets. Progress for more than half of these indicators remains well off track, such that recent efforts must accelerate at least twofold this decade. Worse still, another six indicators are heading in the wrong direction entirely.

Within this set of laggards, efforts to end public financing for fossil fuels, dramatically reduce deforestation and expand carbon pricing systems experienced the most significant setbacks to progress in a single year, relative to recent trends. In 2021, for example, public financing for fossil fuels increased sharply, with government subsidies, specifically, nearly doubling from 2020 to reach the highest levels seen in almost a decade. And in 2022, deforestation increased slightly to 5.8 million hectares (Mha) worldwide, losing an area of forests greater than the size of Croatia in a single year.

But amid such bad news, several bright spots underscore the possibility of rapid change. Over the past five years, the share of electric vehicles in passenger car sales has grown exponentially at an average annual rate of 65% — up from 1.6% of sales in 2018 to 10% of sales in 2022. For the first time in this report series, such progress puts this indicator on track for 2030.

Global efforts are heading in the right direction at a promising, albeit still insufficient, pace for another six indicators, and with the right support, some could soon experience exponential changes.  And among all indicators heading in the right direction, those focused on increasing mandatory corporate climate risk disclosure, sales of electric trucks and the share of EVs in the passenger car fleet saw the most significant gains in a single year, relative to recent trends. 

Still, an enormous acceleration in effort will be required across all sectors to get on track for 2030. For example, the world needs to:

  • Dramatically increase growth in solar and wind power. The share of these two technologies in electricity generation has grown by an annual average of 14 percent in recent years, but this needs to reach 24 percent to get on track for 2030.
  • Phase out coal in electricity generation seven times faster than current rates. This is equivalent to retiring roughly 240 average-sized coal-fired power plants each year through 2030. Though continued build-out of coal-fired power will increase the number of plants that need to be shuttered in the coming years.
  • Expand the coverage of rapid transit infrastructure six times faster. This is equivalent to constructing public transit systems roughly three times the size of New York City’s network of subway rails, bus lanes and light-rail tracks each year throughout this decade.
  • The annual rate of deforestation — equivalent to deforesting 15 football (soccer) fields per minute in 2022 — needs to be reduced four times faster over this decade.
  • Shift to healthier, more sustainable diets eight times faster by lowering per capita consumption of meat from cows, goats and sheep to approximately two servings per week or less across high-consuming regions (the Americas, Europe and Oceania) by 2030. This shift does not require reducing consumption for populations who already consume below this target level, especially in low-income countries where modest increases in consumption can boost nutrition.

Published under Systems Change Lab, this report is a joint effort of the Bezos Earth Fund, Climate Action Tracker (a project of Climate Analytics and NewClimate Institute), ClimateWorks Foundation, the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions and World Resources Institute.

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Connected to this report

Tracking climate action: how the world can still limit warming to 1.5 degrees c, we’re not on track for 1.5 degrees c. what will it take, climate action must progress far faster to achieve 1.5 c goal.

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Xavier University of Louisiana Public Health Sciences Department Receives $1.5 Million Grant for Climate Change Research Initiative

  • 14 November 2023

XULA Public Health Sciences Department Receives $1.5 Million Grant for Climate Change Research Initiative

New Orleans, LA – Xavier University of Louisiana, blessed with a mission to promote a more just and humane society, has long been at the forefront of research and health equity to propel positive impact and engagement for the communities it serves. Invaluable in heading research efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, the great work of the Public Health Sciences Department at Xavier has been recognized with a grant to further its research and community engagement activities concerning climate change. Their initiative, “Bridging the Gap Between Climate Change and Determinants of Health in South Louisiana,” has received a $1.5 million grant from the National Academies of Science.

Since its introduction to the university in 2012, the Public Health Sciences program at Xavier has been educating the next generation of leaders poised to tackle pressing health issues. Recognized by the United States Department of Education for its stand-out program, the department prepares students for impactful careers in public health. It encourages collaboration between students and professors on innovative research projects to eliminate health disparities and advance health equity. The funding from the grant will allow the program to research the detrimental effects climate change will have on public health, especially in the marginalized and underserved communities of Louisiana.

“In Southeast Louisiana, climate change poses threats to public health and well-being from heat stress, flooding, disasters, water quality, air quality, and the spread of infectious disease,” said Dr. Faye Grimsley , the project director and associate professor in Xavier’s Department of Public Health Sciences. “These threats are especially serious for communities of color and low-income communities. Addressing these threats by incorporating environmental exposures and climate change conditions in public health data systems will help create informed healthcare practices and equitable strategies for populations who face day-to-day climate change and environmental justice issues.”

Xavier’s project will focus on developing a database containing local and statewide data on the social detriments of health. This database will help to inform the development of strategies that tackle environmental change. Xavier is partnering with the Lower 9 th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development and the Zion Travelers Cooperative Center to collect this data and engage with the community through tours, sustainability efforts, and volunteer opportunities. Learn more about Xavier’s project here .

Xavier is amongst the historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUS) selected for the $1.5 million grant over a 20-month period. Each university was chosen for its efforts to advance health equity in communities that disproportionately experience the effects of climate change.

“It is vital that HBCUs create solution-oriented work in communities historically impacted by environmental racism and climate change. This community-based project will yield great outcomes for the New Orleans, Gulf South region, and beyond,” said Dr. Billie Castle, the project co-director, and assistant professor in Xavier’s Department of Public Health Sciences.

The grant is awarded through the National Academies of Sciences (NAS), a nonprofit organization of world-leading researchers. The NAS’ Gulf Research Program (GRP), an initiative to protect and support a safer and more resilient Gulf region for those who live there, is partnering with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to sponsor the grant.

“There is no greater importance in understanding the impact of health equity for underserved and underrepresented communities than to provide opportunities for them to engage, enhance and experience the knowledge, discussion and calculations needed to address these health disparities and health determinants that are making our at-risk populations unhealthy,” said Arthur J. Johnson, the CEO of the Lower 9 th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development. “This climate change project brings together academic strategies, community awareness and research demographics working in a concerted effort for the benefit of moving towards a more impactful solution for health challenges that cripple our coastal communities and the people that live there!”

The grant aims to support projects that have academic and community partnerships using community-based participatory research. Research by and from the community can better shape that community’s health policies and plans, eventually leading to better health outcomes for all.

For more information about the grant and awardees, click here .

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UH Physicist, Wife, Make $1.4M Gift for Advancement of Scientific Research and Education

By Bryan Luhn — 713-743-0954

  • Science, Energy and Innovation

World-renowned University of Houston physicist Paul Chu and his wife, May Chern, have made a generous $1.4 million gift to advance scientific education and research at UH. The gift establishes The Paul C. W. Chu and May P. Chern Endowed Chair in Condensed Matter Physics in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and The Paul C. W. Chu and May P. Chern Endowed Distinguished Lecture series.


 “Science has always been a passion for us, and we believe in the potential for transformative discoveries at the college,” said Chu. “We are excited to be a part of this journey and we look forward to the incredible research and advancements that will arise from these endowments.”

Chu, who joined UH in 1977, is the T.L.L. Temple Chair of Science in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics as well as the founding director and chief scientist at the Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston (TcSUH), which is recognized as one of the world’s leading university-based centers of its kind. In 1987, he and his research team discovered superconductivity above the boiling point of liquid nitrogen. His body of work has resulted in the publication of more than 700 papers in peer-reviewed journals. In 1988, President Reagan presented him with the National Medal of Science.

Chern, meanwhile, serves as president of the S.S. Chern Foundation for Mathematical Research, named in honor of her father, a former distinguished visiting professor emeritus at UH who was considered one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century and a National Medal of Science recipient from President Ford in 1976.

“We are honored to welcome the addition of a new endowed chair and lecture series at the University of Houston,” said Diane Chase, UH senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “Both will honor the achievements of their namesakes and recognize faculty excellence at UH, and the lecture series will be particularly meaningful as it will provide additional learning opportunities for our campus community and further inspire tomorrow’s scientists.”

Condensed matter physics deals with matter's macroscopic and microscopic physical properties, especially the solid and liquid phases arising from electromagnetic forces between atoms. By understanding how these atoms behave and come together to form molecules, scientists can develop new materials and technologies to improve our everyday lives, such as faster computer chips, stronger and more lightweight airplanes or superconductors that can conduct electricity without any resistance which could lead to more efficient energy systems.

“This gift will empower our faculty and students in advancing scientific knowledge and research,” said Dan Wells, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. “We are profoundly grateful for their dedication to the pursuit of academic excellence, which will reverberate through our college and the scientific community at-large.”

During the gift ceremony at MD Anderson Library on Nov. 14, 2023, Zhifeng Ren, professor of physics and TcSUH director, was announced as the first chair holder. Ren, who came to UH in 2013, is a prolific researcher whose group focuses on energy-related materials, including nanomaterial approaches to high-performance thermoelectrics, solar energy conversion, transparent electrodes, surfactants for oil recovery, carbon nanomaterials and superconductors. Ren also presented the inaugural Chu Endowed Distinguished Lecture, where he discussed potentially world-changing materials and technologies.

“I am humbled and grateful to be named the first Chu Endowed Chair,” Ren said. “This honor not only recognizes my work but also highlights the importance of research and innovation in condensed matter physics. I am excited to lead the university’s world-class efforts in this field.”

Provost Chase said the endowed chair and distinguished lecture series are powerful investments in education and innovation, allowing the university to attract exceptional faculty members and bring the world’s leading scientists to campus to discuss groundbreaking research that pushes the boundaries of scientific knowledge.

“The University of Houston is grateful to Paul Chu and May Chern for their ongoing support of our institution,” Chase said. “We remain indebted to both for their contributions to their respective disciplines. They continue to inspire future generations of STEM students and both the endowed chair and lecture series will ensure their names remain a part of UH’s history for years to come.”

The Chus’ gift will be enhanced by an additional $750,000 from the Texas Research Incentive Program (TRIP) which provides funds to assist in leveraging private gifts, including endowed chairs, for increased research productivity and faculty recruitment, and more than $265,000 from the UH Foundation, bringing the total value of the gift to nearly $2.5 million.

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Approval of Prop 5 Creates ‘Transformational’ New Funding for University of Houston

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A University of Houston research team is integrating the power of machine learning (ML) with innovative analysis techniques to pinpoint the city’s air pollution sources more accurately. The study provides important insights and advances that will help design effective pollution-fighting strategies unique to different areas.

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UH Study Finds Constraints Causing Significant Post-Pandemic Stress for Hospitality Job Seekers

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Pokémon Go Fashion Week 2023 event guide

Wooper, Quagsire, and Dragonite can now have fancy outfits

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Wooper, Quagsire, and Dragonite in outfits on a walkway in Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go is hosting its yearly Fashion Week event, shoving more Pokémon in silly costumes to clog up your storage space. The event runs from Nov. 15-19 , and it includes Timed Research, a Collection Challenge, and many other different ways to nab these fashionista Pokémon.

During the event, candy earned from catching Pokémon will be doubled, and there’ll be a higher chance to get XL candy from catching Pokémon. Shiny Gothita is also making its debut, alongside shiny Wooper, Quagsire, and Dragonite in outfits.

Shiny Gothita, Gothorita, and Gothitelle in Pokémon Go. Shiny Gothita and Gothorita get red eyes and shiny Gothitelle turns a deep purple.

Below, we list out all the perks for Pokémon Go ’s Fashion Week 2023.

Pokémon Go ‘Fashion Week: Runaway Stars’ Timed Research

There is a one-step Timed Research that rewards nearly all of the Fashion Week Pokémon if you complete it.

Step 1 of 1

  • Catch 10 Pokémon (Diglett [Fashionable] encounter)
  • Catch 20 Pokémon (Croagunk [Backwards Cap] encounter)
  • Catch 30 Pokémon (Blitzle [Fashionable] encounter)
  • Catch 40 Pokémon (Pikachu [Summer Style] encounter)
  • Use 10 berries to help catch Pokémon (Wooper [Fashionable] encounter)
  • Use 20 berries to help catch Pokémon (Shinx [Top Hat] encounter)
  • Take 4 snapshots of different wild Pokémon (Kirlia [Top Hat] encounter)
  • Take 6 snapshots of different wild Pokémon (Sneasel [Fashionable] encounter)
  • Take 8 snapshots of different wild Pokémon (Absol [Fashionable] encounter)
  • Take 10 snapshots of different wild Pokémon (Butterfree [Fashionable] encounter)

Rewards : Dragonite (Fashionable) encounter, 2 Premium Battle Passes, 5,000 XP

Pokémon Go Fashion Week 2023 event Collection Challenge

Catch the following to get rewards:

  • Diglett (Fashionable)
  • Pikachu (Summer Style)
  • Croagunk (Backwards Cap)
  • Wooper (Fashionable)
  • Absol (Fashionable)

Rewards : Dragonite (Fashionable) encounter, 5,000 Stardust, 10,000 XP

Pokémon Go Fashion Week 2023 event Field Research

Spinning PokéStops or gyms may give you one of these special event Field Research Tasks:

  • Catch 5 Pokémon (Blitzle [Fashionable] encounter)
  • Catch 10 Pokémon (Wooper [Fashionable] or Kirlia [Top Hat] encounter)
  • Catch 15 Pokémon (Butterfree [Fashionable] encounter)
  • Take a snapshot of your buddy (Diglett [Fashionable] encounter)
  • Take snapshots of 7 different wild Pokémon (Shinx [Top Hat] encounter)
  • Take snapshots of Absol or Frillish in the wild (1,000 Stardust)

Pokémon Go Fashion Week 2023 event boosted spawns

These Pokémon will spawn more frequently during the event period:

An infographic of all the perks and bonuses for Pokémon Go’s Fashion Week 2023 event

Pokémon Go Fashion Week 2023 event 5 km egg hatches

This Pokémon will hatch out of 5 km eggs obtained during the event period:

  • Pichu (Summer Style)
  • Smoochum (Bow)
  • Shinx (Top Hat)

Pokémon Go Fashion Week 2023 event raid targets

During the event period, you can find these Pokémon in raids:

  • Sneasel (Fashionable)
  • Butterfree (Fashionable)
  • Dragonite (Fashionable)
  • Kirlia (Top Hat)

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Samsung AI Forum 2023 Day 2: Discussing Technological Trends and the Future of Generative AI

Second day of event focuses on the expansion of generative ai, with presentations from leading researchers and showcase of samsung gauss.

1 5 research hypothesis

Samsung Electronics today hosted the second day of the Samsung AI Forum 2023, which was led by Samsung Research and focused on generative AI. The rapid progress of generative AI technology is a paradigm shift that is expected to reshape both daily life and work. As such, the forum engaged AI experts from the industry and academia to discuss and share the development and the latest technological trends of AI, and introduced Samsung Gauss, the generative AI model developed by Samsung Research.

“We will continue to support and collaborate with the industry and academia on generative AI research.” said Daehyun Kim, Executive Vice President of the Samsung Research Global AI Center, in his welcoming speech.

During the first morning session, Dr. Hyung Won Chung from OpenAI — an AI research and deployment company — explained the operation of large language models (LLMs) during his speech, titled, “Large Language Models (in 2023)” and addressed the challenges they face at each stage, as well as their future trajectory.

Then Jason Wei, a researcher at OpenAI and author of the “Chain-of-Thoughts” paper, discussed how LLMs will drive a paradigm shift in AI through his presentation, “New Paradigms in the Large Language Model Renaissance.”

In addition, Korea University Professor Hongsuck Seo presented some of the trends in multimodal AI technology capable of processing various data types simultaneously — including text and images — during his session, “Towards multimodal conversational AI.”

In the afternoon, graduate students from prominent domestic universities that are active in AI research presented their papers, which have been published in leading international AI journals. They also outlined their future research directions.

The team led by Seoul National University Professor Seung-won Hwang showcased an efficient code generation and search technology using generative AI, while Professor Gunhee Kim’s team demonstrated spatial reasoning technology using multimodal approaches.

Professor Minjoon Seo’s team from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) introduced fine-grained evaluation capability in language models. Additionally, the team led by Yonsei University Professor Jonghyun Choi presented on text-to-image generation technology capable of creating images by comprehending lengthy contexts across multiple sentences.

In the final session, the participants delved into Samsung Gauss and the On-Device AI technologies using this model. The model consists of Samsung Gauss Language, Samsung Gauss Code and Samsung Gauss Image, and is named after Carl Friedrich Gauss, the legendary mathematician who established normal distribution theory, the backbone of machine learning and AI. Furthermore, the name reflects Samsung’s ultimate vision for the models, which is to draw from all the phenomena and knowledge in the world in order to harness the power of AI to improve the lives of consumers everywhere.

Samsung Gauss Language, a generative language model, enhances work efficiency by facilitating tasks such as composing emails, summarizing documents and translating content. It can also enhance the consumer experience by enabling smarter device control when integrated into products.

Samsung Gauss Code and a coding assistant (code.i) — which operates based on it — are optimized for in-house software development, allowing developers to code easily and quickly. It also supports functions such as code description and test case generation through an interactive interface.

In addition, Samsung Gauss Image is a generative image model that can easily generate and edit creative images, including style changes and additions, while also converting low-resolution images to high-resolution.

Samsung Gauss is currently used on employee productivity but will be expanded to a variety of Samsung product applications to provide new user experience in the near future.

Samsung is not only developing AI technologies, but also moving forward with various activities that ensure safe AI usage. Through the AI Red Team, Samsung continues to strengthen the ability to proactively eliminate and monitor security and privacy issues that may arise in the entire process — ranging from data collection to AI model development, service deployment and AI-generated results — all with the principles of AI ethics in mind.

TAGS AI AI Expert Voices Samsung AI Forum 2023

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  • Samsung Electronics Opens Samsung AI Forum 2023, Showcasing Key Advancements in AI and Computer Engineering
  • Samsung Electronics To Host AI Forum 2023 Highlighting AI and Computer Engineering Innovation

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  1. 😍 How to formulate a hypothesis in research. How to Formulate

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  1. How to Write a Strong Hypothesis

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  2. Hypothesis Examples: How to Write a Great Research Hypothesis

    The hypothesis is a prediction, but it involves more than a guess. Most of the time, the hypothesis begins with a question which is then explored through background research. It is only at this point that researchers begin to develop a testable hypothesis.

  3. A Practical Guide to Writing Quantitative and Qualitative Research

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  6. What is and How to Write a Good Hypothesis in Research?

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    Because your research hypothesis will be a specific, testable prediction about what you expect to happen in a study, you will want to consider drawing from previously published research on your topic. When you write your hypothesis statement, you want to do more than simply wager a guess.

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    The six steps of the scientific method include: 1) asking a question about something you observe, 2) doing background research to learn what is already known about the topic, 3) constructing a hypothesis, 4) experimenting to test the hypothesis, 5) analyzing the data from the experiment and drawing conclusions, and 6) communicating the results ...

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  19. What is a hypothesis?

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  20. What's the difference between a research hypothesis and a ...

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  22. 5.2

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