Stating research questions or purposes is appropriate when one cannot predict the outcome of the study due to the lack of theory and/or the lack of previous relevant research. This is unlike a hypothesis, whose prediction of the outcome is made on the basis of previous research, theory or both.
Hypotheses are stated at the end of the literature review, because that is where relevant theories and research are discussed.
A research hypothesis should refer to specific variables. It should contain at least two variables that will make it provide effective guidance for the research.
Hypotheses may refer to treatments administered. For instance, a type of therapy is the independent variable, while the outcome, “depression,” is the dependent variable.
Predicting the direction of an outcome is preferable to predicting a specific percent. For example, “Talk therapy plus exercise will reduce depression more than talk therapy by itself” is preferable to “Talk therapy plus exercise will reduce depression 35% more than talk therapy by itself.”
A hypothesis should not state a value judgment such as “Voting in every election is the right thing to do.”
If multiple hypotheses exist, numbering them is helpful so each can be referred to by its number in the results section.
Research purposes should refer to observable behaviors and should be sufficiently specific.
Do not ask research questions in a way that can be answered with a straightforward “yes” or “no” to accommodate the usual occurrence of mixed results.
Research questions should address the degree or the extent to which, or even how, something occurs.
It is hypothesized that secretaries will report 50% more work stress than line managers.
The hypothesis is referring to a specific statistical outcome of 50%. This is not recommended as it restricts the confirmation of the hypothesis to the given value.
The purpose of this research is to determine whether teaching transformational grammar improves grammatical usage. The research purpose is not specific as it fails to mention the observable behaviors that will result from teaching transformational grammar.
The research question is: “Is it wise to stay married for the sake of the children?” The research question can be answered as either yes or no, which is not recommended.
It is hypothesized that depression, as measured by the Symptom Checklist-90, is directly correlated with the loss of social roles (where the SCL-90 is not the subject of the investigation).
The hypothesis is judgmental as it implies that depression will always lead to the loss of social roles.
It is hypothesized that secretaries will report more work stress than line managers.
The purpose of this research is to determine whether teaching transformational grammar improves students’ writing skills through the proper usage of grammar.
The research question is, “How long should peoplestay married for the sake of the children?”
It is hypothesized that individuals who undergo depression are more prone to lose their social roles as compared to individuals who experience less depression.