How to write a social science hypothesis

Hypothesis Examples Hypothesis A hypothesis has classical been referred to as an educated guess. In the context of the scientific method, this description is somewhat correct. After a problem is identified, the scientist would typically conduct some research about the problem and then make a hypothesis about what will happen during his or her experiment.

How to write a social science hypothesis

Science is distinguished from nonscience not by the content or subject of study. Rather, the distinguishing characteristic of a science is the method of investigation. The scientific method relies on systematic, repeatable testing of expectations against the observed world.

In their adoption of the scientific method, social sciences more closely resemble chemistry than its alchemical predecessors, which relied instead on the application of metaphysical rules to guide their work. The physicist may use complex instruments to observe minute characteristics of subatomic particles.

Similarly, the social scientist may use surveys to observe the characteristics of human behavior. The focus on observation as a method for testing expectations unites the physicist and the social scientist in their use of a common tool of the scientific method.

how to write a social science hypothesis

Because the core method of scientific investigation is the comparison of expectations against observations of the world, scientists need to make clear statements about their expectations.

A hypothesis is a concise, falsifiable statement that is subjected to observational testing as part of a scientific investigation. Scientific research generally starts with a question about the observable world.

In the social sciences research questions focus on human behavior—especially behavior related to groups e. The scientific method says nothing about the origins of these research questions just as it says nothing about the content of the areas of research. The scientific method simply requires that a scientist state an answer to this question the hypothesis that can be tested with observations hypothesis testing.

There is a bewildering array of potential research questions—and thus hypotheses—in the domain of social science. Hypotheses can focus on expectations about voting behavior, the tendency of nations to go to war, or the factors that contribute to juvenile delinquency or to decisions about where to live among many, many other hypotheses.

The purpose of the hypothesis is to ease the task of testing an expectation with observations of the world.

A good hypothesis, then, is one that is easily tested. The ease of testing contributes to a second key aspect of the scientific method: A clearly worded hypothesis can be tested repeatedly by a scientist and, maybe more important, by other scientists King, Keohane, and Verbapp.

Consider the following example. A social scientist may hypothesize that smaller class sizes in secondary schools will lead to higher performance on standardized tests. Because it is easy to observe the number of students in a class and the standardized tests scores are also easily observable though there may be questions of the validity of the test as a measure of "intelligence" or even "academic achievement"this hypothesis is easy to test.

The test itself is also easy to replicate by the original social scientist or by other investigators. The hypothesis is sufficiently clear that any observer would be able to tell whether people in the smaller classes actually performed better on standardized tests.

The judgment, then, is not a product of the specific observer but is instead independent of the identity of the scientist a subject of some controversy that is discussed in a later section.

The Three-Step Process

The focus of this approach is on the quantification of social science concepts for purposes of comparison and hypothesis testing. For example, a social scientist might ask whether the U. A good hypothesis will be one that is well grounded in the available theory on elections and that is testable against observable data in this case a survey.

The hypothesis would predict whether the approval ratings of the president have gone down over the past year. It would provide a preliminary answer to the stated research question.

More ambitious hypotheses that predict specific levels of support that the president has lost 8 percent of support from the previous year are possible, but these require highly developed theories. Armed with a hypothesis, the scientist will conduct a survey of a sample of potential voters to test the hypothesis.This is a testable hypothesis - he has established variables, and by measuring the amount of oxygen in the water, eliminating other controlled variables, such as temperature, he can see if there is a correlation against the number of lice on the fish.

This is an example of how a gradual focusing of research helps to define how to write a hypothesis. Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant.


She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. Updated April 16, A hypothesis is an explanation for a set of observations.

Here are examples of a scientific. A hypothesis has classical been referred to as an educated guess. In the context of the scientific method, this description is somewhat correct. After a problem is identified, the scientist would typically conduct some research about the problem and then make a hypothesis about what will happen.

Usually, we call the hypothesis that you support (your prediction) the alternative hypothesis, and we call the hypothesis that describes the remaining possible outcomes the null hypothesis. Sometimes we use a notation like H A or H 1 to represent the alternative hypothesis or your prediction, and H O or H 0 to represent the null case.

Exercise 9 – Constructing a Research Hypothesis – this is where you first picked a specific variable to work with.

If your ideas or topic changed while you were writing your (e.g., sex is a proxy for gender socialization; income is a proxy for social class; etc). Formulate your hypothesis as a predicted relationship between concepts.

For a hypothesis to be considered a scientific hypothesis, it must be proven through the scientific method. Like anything else in life, there are many paths to take to get to the same ending. Let's take a look at the different types of hypotheses that can be employed when seeking to prove a new theory.

Hypothesis Examples