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Hypothesis is the most important mental
tool in the research. The use of the
hypothesis is to suggest new explorations
and observations.
Hypothesis is the researchers prediction
of the outcome of the research study
based on the research variables.
Purposes of Hypothesis
It provides bridge between theory & real world
situation and in this sense unifying the two
It provides powerful tool, for the advancement of
knowledge since they enable the researcher to
objectively enter new areas of discovery.
It provides overall direction for any research
endeavor by tentatively identifying the
anticipated outcome.
It is a guide to the thinking process & the process
of discovery.
It serves as a framework for drawing conclusions.
It is an assumption statement about the
relationship between two or more variable
that suggest an answer to the research
question. It is a tentative prediction or
explanation of the relationship between two
Criteria for Hypothesis
Conceptual clarity It should consist of clearly
defined and understandable concepts.
Specificity A hypothesis should be specific and
explain the expected relation between variables
and the conditions under which these relations
will hold.
Testability A hypothesis should be testable and
should not be a moral judgement. It should be
possible to collect empirical evidences to test the
Availability of techniques Hypotheses should
be related to available techniques.
Theoretical relevance A hypothesis should be
related to a body of theory. When research is
systematically based upon a body of existing
theory, a genuine contribution to knowledge is
more likely to result.
Consistency Hypothesis should be a logically
Objectivity Scientific hypothesis should be
logically consistent
Simplicity A hypothesis should be a simple one
requiring fewer conditions or assumptions.
Characteristics of Hypothesis
Hypothesis is declarative statement that identifies the
predicted relationship between two or more variables.
This implies that there is a systematic relationship between
independent variables and dependent variables.
It must always be stated in advance of collecting evidence
aimed at its testing that is an acceptable hypothesis must
be testable/ have testability. This means that the variables
of the study must lend themselves to observation,
measurement and analysis.
A sound hypothesis is consistent with an existing body of
theory and research findings.
Statement of hypothesis should be worded clear, simple
and concise terms used in scientific and research language.
This helps the reader to understand the variables, the
population being studies and the predicted outcome of the
The Statement of hypothesis should not conflict with any law
of nature which is known true.
A good hypothesis should provide tentative answer to the
proposed problem. This can be in the form of a declaration
of statement or in the form of a directional or in a null form.
It should be operational, that is there should be a method
for recording and measuring the variables involved in the
It should be specific but not inconsequential.
Advantages of Hypothesis
Hypothesis builds researchers confidence in
his results
Sound hypothesis gives direction to the
A good hypothesis enriches theory
Role of Hypothesis in nursing research
A hypothesis gives a definite to the investigation, and it
guides the direction on the study. Without a hypothesis,
research becomes unfocussed, a random empirical
A hypothesis specifies the sources of data, which shall be
studied and in what context they shall be studied.
It determines the data needs. It defines which facts are
relevant and which are not.
A hypothesis suggests which type of research is likely to be
most appropriate.
It determines the most appropriate technique of analysis.
A hypothesis may be deduced from theory. It links theory
and investigation. A hypothesis may be deduced from
Sources of Hypothesis
General Culture
Our cultural heritage is a great source of ideas, theories, tentative
theories and provisional preposition.
Scientific Theory
The various scientific laws or theories which are transferable to the
field of nursing research eg. Maslows theory of Hierarchy.
Personal Experience
All true knowledge beings with experience. Leonardo Ad Vinci
believed that All our knowledge has its origin in our perceptions.
Wisdom is the daughter of experience. Good judgment is born clear
Clear understanding comes or reasons derived from sound rules.
Sound rules are the issues of sound experience the common mother
of all the science and arts. Hence, experience is the source of
Sources from different origin or study done in different
settings or in the framework of another science may be a
fertile source of hypotheses.
This is one of the main sources of hypotheses. It gives
direction to research by stating what is known. Logical
deduction from theory leads to new hypotheses.
Hypotheses can be derived from observation. From the
observation we can identify the relation between the
study variables.
Findings of studies
Hypotheses may be developed out of the findings
of other studies in order to replicate and test.
State of knowledge
An important source of hypotheses is the state of
knowledge in any particular science. Where
formal theories are scarce, hypotheses are
generated from conceptual frameworks.
Continuity of research
The continuity of research in a field itself
constitutes an important source of hypotheses.
Classification of Hypotheses
Hypotheses can be classified according to direction
Directional Hypotheses
A directional hypothesis is one that specifies the
expected direction of the relationship between the
independent and dependent variable. The reader of a
directional hypothesis may observe that the existence of
a relationship is proposed, as well as the nature the
existence of a relationship is proposed, as well as the
nature or directions of that relationship.
Non directional Hypotheses
It indicated the existence of relationship between
the variable. It does not specify the anticipated direction
of the relationship.
Categories of Hypotheses

1. Research Hypothesis
It is also known as scientific or workable
It consists of a statement about the expected
relationship between the variables.
A research hypothesis indicates what the
outcome of the study is expected to be.
It is also either directional or non-directional.
2. Statistical Hypothesis
It is also known as null hypothesis.
It states that there is no relationship between the
independent and dependent variables.
If in the data analysis a statistically significant relationship
emerges between the variable at a specified level of
significance, the null hypothesis is rejected.
Rejection of statistical hypothesis is equivalent to acceptance
of research hypothesis.
It is also known as null hypothesis.
It states that there is no relationship between the
independent variables and dependent variables.
If in the data analysis a statistically significant relationship
emerges between the variable at a specified level of
significance, the null hypothesis is rejected.
Rejection of statistical hypothesis is equivalent to acceptance
of research hypothesis
Types of Hypothesis
Hypotheses are classified with reference to their function.
Descriptive Hypothesis
Relational Hypothesis
Causal Hypothesis
Working Hypothesis
Null Hypothesis
Statistical Hypothesis
Common-sense Hypothesis
Complex Hypothesis
Analytical Hypothesis
1. Descriptive Hypothesis
There are propositions that describe the characteristics
of a variable.
The variable may be an object, person, organization,
situation or event.
Eg. The rate of unemployment among nursing graduates is lesser than
that of medical graduates.

2. Relational Hypothesis
There are propositions, which describe that relationship
between two variables.
The relationship suggested may be positive or negative
correlation or causal relationship.
Eg. Upper-class people have fewer children than lower class people.
3. Causal Hypothesis
State that the existence of, or a change in, one
variable causes or leads to an effect on another
The first variable is called the independent variable,
and the latter the dependent variable.
When dealing with causal relationships between
variables the researcher must consider the direction
in which such relationships flow.
Clears which is cause and which is effect, eg. Smoking
causes lung cancer.
4. Working Hypothesis
Initially hypothesis may not be very specific. In
such cases, they are referred to as Working
Hypothesis which is subject to modification as the
investigation proceeds.
5. Null Hypothesis
These are hypothetical statement denying what are explicitly
indicated in working hypothesis.
They do not, nor were ever intended to exist in reality.
They state that no difference exists between the parameter
and the statistic being compared to it.
Null hypothesis are formulated for testing statistical
significance since, this form is a convenient approach to
statistical analysis.
There is some justification for using null hypothesis.
They conform to the qualities of detachment and objectivity
to be possessed by a researcher.
The attempts to test hypothesis which he assumes to be true,
it would appear as if he is not behaving objectively. This
problem does not arise when he uses null hypothesis.
Null hypothesis are more exact. It is reject the contrary of an
hypothesis than to confirm it with complete certainty.
6. Statistical Hypothesis
Statistical hypothesis quantitative in nature in that they are
numerically measurable.
It may be hypotheses of difference or hypotheses of
7. Common sense Hypotheses
These represent the common sense ideas.
They state the existence of empirical uniformities perceived
through day to day observations.
Common sense statements are often a confused mixture of
clichs and moral judgments.
Scientists have a large-scale job in transforming and testing
them. This requires three tasks; first, the removal of value
judgment; second the clarification of terms and third, the
application of validity tests.
8. Complex Hypothesis
These aim at testing the existence of logically derived
relationship between empirical uniformities.
The function of such hypotheses is to create tools problems
for further research in otherwise very complex areas of
9. Analytical Hypothesis
These are concerned with the relationship of analytic
variables. These hypotheses occur at the highest level of
These specify relationship between changes in one property
and changes in another.
This level of hypothesizing is the most sophisticated mode of
formulation and contributes to the development of brilliant
abstract theories.
Eg. The study of human fertility might show empirical
regularities by wealth, education, region and religion.
Developing the Research Hypothesis
Like the problem statement, hypotheses are often not stated
explicitly in a research article.
The evaluator often will find that the hypotheses are embedded
in the data analysis, results, or discussion section of the
research report.
Hypotheses flow from the problem statement, literature review,
and theoretical frame work.
A hypothesis is an assumptive statement about the relationship
between two or more variables that suggests an answer to the
research question.
A hypothesis converts the question posed by the research
problem into a declarative statement that predicts and
expected outcome.
A sound hypothesis is consistent with an existing
body of theory and research findings. Regardless
of whether a hypothesis is arrived at inductively
or deductively, it must be based on a sound
scientific rationale.
Hypotheses statement identifies the predicted
relationship between two or more variable. This
implies that there is a systematic relationship
between an independent variable and a
dependent variable. The direction of the predicted
relationship is also specified in the statement.
Hypothesis must be testability. It means that the
variables of the study must lend themselves of
observation, measurement and analysis.
Relationship between the Hypothesis and
the Research Design
Regardless of whether the researcher uses a
statistical or a research hypothesis, there is a
suggested relationship between the
hypothesis and the research design of the
study. The type of design, experimental or
nonexperimental, will influence the wording
of the hypothesis.
Issues related to Research Hypothesis
1. Substantive Theoretical Issues
Does the research report contain formally-
stated hypotheses? If not, is their absence
Are the hypotheses directly and logically tied
to the research problem?
Do the hypotheses flow logically from the
theoretical rationale or review of the
literature? If no, what justification is offered
for the researchers predictions?
2. Methodological Issues
Does each hypothesis contain at least two
Do the hypotheses state a predicted relationship
between the variables that is between the
independent and dependent variables?
Do the hypotheses indicate the nature of the
population being studied?
Are the independent and dependent variables in
the hypotheses adequately defined, and are they
Can the hypotheses be tested in such a way that
it is clear whether the hypotheses are supported
or not?
3. Stylistic Issues
Are the hypotheses worded clearly,
unambiguously, and objectively, and written in
declarative form?
Are the hypotheses directional? If not, is there
a rationale for the nondirectional hypotheses?
Are the hypotheses stated as research
hypotheses rather than null hypotheses?
The formulation of hypothesis or propositions as
to the possible answers to the research questions
is an important step in the process of formulation
of the research problem. Keen observation,
creative thinking, hunch, wit, imagination, vision,
insight and sound judgment are of greater
importance in setting up reasonable hypothesis.
A thorough knowledge about the phenomenon
and related fields is of great value in its process.
The formulation of hypothesis plays an important
part in the growth of knowledge in every science.
Nancy Burns and Susan K Grove, The Practice of
nursing Research, 3rd Edition, W.B. Saunders
Denise. F Polit, Bernadehe P. Hungler, Essentials
of Nursing Research Methods Appraisal and
Utilization, Lippincott publication, Philodelphia,
Newyork, 4th Editions, 1996.
Basavanthappa. B.T., Nursing Research, New
Delhi, Jaypee Brothers, 2nd Edition, 2007.
Kothari. C.R, Research Methodology, New
Delhi, New Age International (P) Limited, 2nd
Edition, 2004.