The need for a Hypothesis in Research

Hypothesis is a proposition or a set of propositions which the researcher wants to test, if upon applying the hypothesis test the proposition is proved false, its alternative statement is accepted.  Alternative statement is not necessarily the reverse statement but a set of all other possibilities. Hypothesis formulation is not required in all types of research problems, in social sciences where it is difficult to get direct knowledge of population variables; hypothesis testing method can be employed. The premises for hypothesis method are:


  • The research problem should be able to be stated in clear and precise hypothesis form, the scope should be limited and clear.
  • The null as well as the alternate hypothesis should be stated.
  • The hypothesis so formed should be capable of being tested.
  • The relationship between variables in the hypothesis should be clear.
  • The hypothesis should be in agreement with established facts and seem likely by the assessors.
  • The hypothesis should be supported by empirical evidence.

Examples of certain hypothesis statements and their alternatives are:

I) Medicine A is equal in effectiveness to medicine B/ Medicine A is not equal in effectiveness to medicine B.

ii) Sample mean is equal to population mean/sample mean is not equal to population mean.

Null hypothesis is generally the hypothesis which the researcher is trying to reject; the null hypothesis is rejected if the hypnotized mean of the collected data is not equal to the population mean. If the hypothesized mean is greater than the population mean then taking the case of statement i) above alternative hypothesis would be that medicine A is more effective than medicine B, and if hypothesized mean is less than population mean, then alternative statement would be that medicine A is less effective than medicine B. Hence care should be taking while formulating hypothesis statement as inability to do so will lead to ambiguous and confused outcomes.

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