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noun as in theory

Strongest matches

  • explanation
  • interpretation
  • proposition
  • supposition

Strong matches

  • attribution
  • demonstration
  • presupposition
  • speculation

Weak matches

  • shot in the dark
  • starting point
  • tentative law

Example Sentences

Each one is a set of questions we’re fascinated by and hypotheses we’re testing.

Mousa’s research hinges on the “contact hypothesis,” the idea that positive interactions among rival group members can reduce prejudices.

Do more research on it, come up with a hypothesis as to why it underperforms, and try to improve it.

Now is the time to test your hypotheses to figure out what’s changing in your customers’ worlds, and address these topics directly.

Whether computing power alone is enough to fuel continued machine learning breakthroughs is a source of debate, but it seems clear we’ll be able to test the hypothesis.

Though researchers have struggled to understand exactly what contributes to this gender difference, Dr. Rohan has one hypothesis.

The leading hypothesis for the ultimate source of the Ebola virus, and where it retreats in between outbreaks, lies in bats.

In 1996, John Paul II called the Big Bang theory “more than a hypothesis.”

To be clear: There have been no double-blind or controlled studies that conclusively confirm this hair-loss hypothesis.

The bacteria-driven-ritual hypothesis ignores the huge diversity of reasons that could push someone to perform a religious ritual.

And remember it is by our hypothesis the best possible form and arrangement of that lesson.

Taken in connection with what we know of the nebulæ, the proof of Laplace's nebular hypothesis may fairly be regarded as complete.

What has become of the letter from M. de St. Mars, said to have been discovered some years ago, confirming this last hypothesis?

To admit that there had really been any communication between the dead man and the living one is also an hypothesis.

"I consider it highly probable," asserted Aunt Maria, forgetting her Scandinavian hypothesis.

Related Words

Words related to hypothesis are not direct synonyms, but are associated with the word hypothesis . Browse related words to learn more about word associations.

noun as in taking something for granted; something expected

  • expectation
  • postulation
  • presumption
  • sneaking suspicion
  • theorization

noun as in putting regard in as true

  • understanding

noun as in something regarded as true

  • fundamental
  • gospel truth

noun as in idea

  • abstraction
  • apprehension
  • conceptualization
  • consideration
  • fool notion
  • intellection

Viewing 5 / 29 related words

On this page you'll find 80 synonyms, antonyms, and words related to hypothesis, such as: assumption, axiom, conclusion, conjecture, explanation, and guess.

From Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

Look up a word, learn it forever.

/haɪˈpɑθəsəs/, /haɪˈpɒθɪsɪs/.

Other forms: hypotheses

In science, a hypothesis is an idea or explanation that you then test through study and experimentation. Outside science, a theory or guess can also be called a hypothesis .

A hypothesis is something more than a wild guess but less than a well-established theory. In science, a hypothesis needs to go through a lot of testing before it gets labeled a theory. In the non-scientific world, the word is used a lot more loosely. A detective might have a hypothesis about a crime, and a mother might have a hypothesis about who spilled juice on the rug. Anyone who uses the word hypothesis is making a guess.

  • noun a tentative insight into the natural world; a concept that is not yet verified but that if true would explain certain facts or phenomena “a scientific hypothesis that survives experimental testing becomes a scientific theory” synonyms: possibility , theory see more see less types: show 17 types... hide 17 types... hypothetical a hypothetical possibility, circumstance, statement, proposal, situation, etc. gemmule the physically discrete element that Darwin proposed as responsible for heredity framework , model , theoretical account a hypothetical description of a complex entity or process conjecture , speculation a hypothesis that has been formed by speculating or conjecturing (usually with little hard evidence) assumption , supposal , supposition a hypothesis that is taken for granted historicism a theory that social and cultural events are determined by history computer simulation , simulation (computer science) the technique of representing the real world by a computer program conclusion an intuitive assumption base , basis , cornerstone , foundation , fundament , groundwork the fundamental assumptions from which something is begun or developed or calculated or explained mean sun a theoretical sun that moves along the celestial equator at a constant speed and completes its annual course in the same amount of time the real sun takes at variable speeds Copernican system (astronomy) Copernicus' astronomical model in which the Earth rotates around the sun Ptolemaic system (astronomy) Ptolemy's model of the universe with the Earth at the center M-theory (particle physics) a theory that involves an eleven-dimensional universe in which the weak and strong forces and gravity are unified and to which all the string theories belong string theory (particle physics) a theory that postulates that subatomic particles are one-dimensional strings given , precondition , presumption an assumption that is taken for granted basic assumption , constatation , self-evident truth an assumption that is basic to an argument stochastic process a statistical process involving a number of random variables depending on a variable parameter (which is usually time) type of: concept , conception , construct an abstract or general idea inferred or derived from specific instances
  • noun a proposal intended to explain certain facts or observations see more see less type of: proposal something proposed (such as a plan or assumption)
  • noun a message expressing an opinion based on incomplete evidence synonyms: conjecture , guess , speculation , supposition , surmisal , surmise see more see less types: divination successful conjecture by unusual insight or good luck type of: opinion , view a message expressing a belief about something; the expression of a belief that is held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof

Vocabulary lists containing hypothesis

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How to Write a Great Hypothesis

Hypothesis Definition, Format, Examples, and Tips

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

simple hypothesis synonym

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.

simple hypothesis synonym

Verywell / Alex Dos Diaz

  • The Scientific Method

Hypothesis Format

Falsifiability of a hypothesis.

  • Operationalization

Hypothesis Types

Hypotheses examples.

  • Collecting Data

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. It is a preliminary answer to your question that helps guide the research process.

Consider a study designed to examine the relationship between sleep deprivation and test performance. The hypothesis might be: "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."

At a Glance

A hypothesis is crucial to scientific research because it offers a clear direction for what the researchers are looking to find. This allows them to design experiments to test their predictions and add to our scientific knowledge about the world. 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. At this point, researchers then 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 numerous 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 adage 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.

How to Formulate a Good Hypothesis

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.

The Importance of Operational Definitions

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.

Operational definitions are specific definitions for all relevant factors in a study. This process helps make vague or ambiguous concepts detailed and measurable.

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 various ways. Clearly defining these variables and how they are measured helps ensure that other researchers can replicate your results.

Replicability

One of the basic principles of any type of scientific research is that the results must be replicable.

Replication means repeating an experiment in the same way to produce the same results. 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. For example, 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.

To measure this variable, the researcher must devise a measurement that assesses aggressive behavior without harming others. The researcher might utilize a simulated task to measure aggressiveness in this situation.

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 there is a relationship between one independent variable and one dependent variable.
  • Complex hypothesis : This type suggests a relationship between three or more variables, such as two independent and dependent variables.
  • 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 population sample 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."
  • "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."
  • "Children who receive a new reading intervention will have higher reading scores than students who do not receive the intervention."

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:

  • "There is no difference in anxiety levels between people who take St. John's wort supplements and those who do not."
  • "There is no difference in scores on a memory recall task between children and adults."
  • "There is no difference in aggression levels between children who play first-person shooter games and those who do not."

Examples of an alternative hypothesis:

  • "People who take St. John's wort supplements will have less anxiety than those who do not."
  • "Adults will perform better on a memory task than children."
  • "Children who play first-person shooter games will show higher levels of aggression than children who do not." 

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  conducting an experiment is difficult or impossible. 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 examine how the variables are related. This 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.

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.

Thompson WH, Skau S. On the scope of scientific hypotheses .  R Soc Open Sci . 2023;10(8):230607. doi:10.1098/rsos.230607

Taran S, Adhikari NKJ, Fan E. Falsifiability in medicine: what clinicians can learn from Karl Popper [published correction appears in Intensive Care Med. 2021 Jun 17;:].  Intensive Care Med . 2021;47(9):1054-1056. doi:10.1007/s00134-021-06432-z

Eyler AA. Research Methods for Public Health . 1st ed. Springer Publishing Company; 2020. doi:10.1891/9780826182067.0004

Nosek BA, Errington TM. What is replication ?  PLoS Biol . 2020;18(3):e3000691. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.3000691

Aggarwal R, Ranganathan P. Study designs: Part 2 - Descriptive studies .  Perspect Clin Res . 2019;10(1):34-36. doi:10.4103/picr.PICR_154_18

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

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

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USA pronunciation: IPA/haɪˈpɑθəsɪs, hɪ-/

US:USA pronunciation: respellingUSA pronunciation: respelling(hī poth ə sis, hi-)

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of ' ' (n): npl: hypotheses

WordReference English Thesaurus © 2024
Noun: theory , thesis , supposition, assumption , presumption, basis , surmise, idea , speculation, premise , conjecture, interpretation , presupposition, deduction, starting point, working hypothesis, preliminary layout, basis for discussion, explanation , postulation

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Methodology

  • How to Write a Strong Hypothesis | Steps & Examples

How to Write a Strong Hypothesis | Steps & Examples

Published on May 6, 2022 by Shona McCombes . Revised on November 20, 2023.

A hypothesis is a statement that can be tested by scientific research. If you want to test a relationship between two or more variables, you need to write hypotheses before you start your experiment or data collection .

Example: Hypothesis

Daily apple consumption leads to fewer doctor’s visits.

Table of contents

What is a hypothesis, developing a hypothesis (with example), hypothesis examples, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about writing hypotheses.

A hypothesis states your predictions about what your research will find. It is a tentative answer to your research question that has not yet been tested. For some research projects, you might have to write several hypotheses that address different aspects of your research question.

A hypothesis is not just a guess – it should be based on existing theories and knowledge. It also has to be testable, which means you can support or refute it through scientific research methods (such as experiments, observations and statistical analysis of data).

Variables in hypotheses

Hypotheses propose a relationship between two or more types of variables .

  • An independent variable is something the researcher changes or controls.
  • A dependent variable is something the researcher observes and measures.

If there are any control variables , extraneous variables , or confounding variables , be sure to jot those down as you go to minimize the chances that research bias  will affect your results.

In this example, the independent variable is exposure to the sun – the assumed cause . The dependent variable is the level of happiness – the assumed effect .

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

Step 1. ask a question.

Writing a hypothesis begins with a research question that you want to answer. The question should be focused, specific, and researchable within the constraints of your project.

Step 2. Do some preliminary research

Your initial answer to the question should be based on what is already known about the topic. Look for theories and previous studies to help you form educated assumptions about what your research will find.

At this stage, you might construct a conceptual framework to ensure that you’re embarking on a relevant topic . This can also help you identify which variables you will study and what you think the relationships are between them. Sometimes, you’ll have to operationalize more complex constructs.

Step 3. Formulate your hypothesis

Now you should have some idea of what you expect to find. Write your initial answer to the question in a clear, concise sentence.

4. Refine your hypothesis

You need to make sure your hypothesis is specific and testable. There are various ways of phrasing a hypothesis, but all the terms you use should have clear definitions, and the hypothesis should contain:

  • The relevant variables
  • The specific group being studied
  • The predicted outcome of the experiment or analysis

5. Phrase your hypothesis in three ways

To identify the variables, you can write a simple prediction in  if…then form. The first part of the sentence states the independent variable and the second part states the dependent variable.

In academic research, hypotheses are more commonly phrased in terms of correlations or effects, where you directly state the predicted relationship between variables.

If you are comparing two groups, the hypothesis can state what difference you expect to find between them.

6. Write a null hypothesis

If your research involves statistical hypothesis testing , you will also have to write a null hypothesis . The null hypothesis is the default position that there is no association between the variables. The null hypothesis is written as H 0 , while the alternative hypothesis is H 1 or H a .

  • H 0 : The number of lectures attended by first-year students has no effect on their final exam scores.
  • H 1 : The number of lectures attended by first-year students has a positive effect on their final exam scores.
Research question Hypothesis Null hypothesis
What are the health benefits of eating an apple a day? Increasing apple consumption in over-60s will result in decreasing frequency of doctor’s visits. Increasing apple consumption in over-60s will have no effect on frequency of doctor’s visits.
Which airlines have the most delays? Low-cost airlines are more likely to have delays than premium airlines. Low-cost and premium airlines are equally likely to have delays.
Can flexible work arrangements improve job satisfaction? Employees who have flexible working hours will report greater job satisfaction than employees who work fixed hours. There is no relationship between working hour flexibility and job satisfaction.
How effective is high school sex education at reducing teen pregnancies? Teenagers who received sex education lessons throughout high school will have lower rates of unplanned pregnancy teenagers who did not receive any sex education. High school sex education has no effect on teen pregnancy rates.
What effect does daily use of social media have on the attention span of under-16s? There is a negative between time spent on social media and attention span in under-16s. There is no relationship between social media use and attention span in under-16s.

If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility

 Statistics

  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
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  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

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  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

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See an example

simple hypothesis synonym

A hypothesis is not just a guess — it should be based on existing theories and knowledge. It also has to be testable, which means you can support or refute it through scientific research methods (such as experiments, observations and statistical analysis of data).

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.

Hypothesis testing is a formal procedure for investigating our ideas about the world using statistics. It is used by scientists to test specific predictions, called hypotheses , by calculating how likely it is that a pattern or relationship between variables could have arisen by chance.

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hypotheses
a proposed explanation that accounts for observed phenomena or known facts and that can be used to guide further investigation. , ,
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in logic, the first member of a conditional proposition.
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Meaning of hypothesis in English

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  • abstraction
  • accepted wisdom
  • afterthought
  • anthropocentrism
  • determinist
  • non-dogmatic
  • non-empirical
  • social Darwinism
  • supersensible
  • the domino theory

hypothesis | Intermediate English

Hypothesis | business english, examples of hypothesis, translations of hypothesis.

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an expression of surprise or feeling sorry about a mistake or slight accident

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Synonyms of hypothesize

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Thesaurus Definition of hypothesize

Synonyms & Similar Words

  • take for granted
  • hypothecate
  • preconceive

Antonyms & Near Antonyms

  • wonder (about)
  • disagree (with)

Thesaurus Entries Near hypothesize

hypothesize

hypothesized

Cite this Entry

“Hypothesize.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/hypothesize. Accessed 9 Jul. 2024.

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Britannica English: Translation of hypothesize for Arabic Speakers

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Definition of hypothesis noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

  • to formulate/confirm a hypothesis
  • a hypothesis about the function of dreams
  • There is little evidence to support these hypotheses.
  • formulate/​advance a theory/​hypothesis
  • build/​construct/​create/​develop a simple/​theoretical/​mathematical model
  • develop/​establish/​provide/​use a theoretical/​conceptual framework
  • advance/​argue/​develop the thesis that…
  • explore an idea/​a concept/​a hypothesis
  • make a prediction/​an inference
  • base a prediction/​your calculations on something
  • investigate/​evaluate/​accept/​challenge/​reject a theory/​hypothesis/​model
  • design an experiment/​a questionnaire/​a study/​a test
  • do research/​an experiment/​an analysis
  • make observations/​measurements/​calculations
  • carry out/​conduct/​perform an experiment/​a test/​a longitudinal study/​observations/​clinical trials
  • run an experiment/​a simulation/​clinical trials
  • repeat an experiment/​a test/​an analysis
  • replicate a study/​the results/​the findings
  • observe/​study/​examine/​investigate/​assess a pattern/​a process/​a behaviour
  • fund/​support the research/​project/​study
  • seek/​provide/​get/​secure funding for research
  • collect/​gather/​extract data/​information
  • yield data/​evidence/​similar findings/​the same results
  • analyse/​examine the data/​soil samples/​a specimen
  • consider/​compare/​interpret the results/​findings
  • fit the data/​model
  • confirm/​support/​verify a prediction/​a hypothesis/​the results/​the findings
  • prove a conjecture/​hypothesis/​theorem
  • draw/​make/​reach the same conclusions
  • read/​review the records/​literature
  • describe/​report an experiment/​a study
  • present/​publish/​summarize the results/​findings
  • present/​publish/​read/​review/​cite a paper in a scientific journal
  • Her hypothesis concerns the role of electromagnetic radiation.
  • Her study is based on the hypothesis that language simplification is possible.
  • It is possible to make a hypothesis on the basis of this graph.
  • None of the hypotheses can be rejected at this stage.
  • Scientists have proposed a bold hypothesis.
  • She used this data to test her hypothesis
  • The hypothesis predicts that children will perform better on task A than on task B.
  • The results confirmed his hypothesis on the use of modal verbs.
  • These observations appear to support our working hypothesis.
  • a speculative hypothesis concerning the nature of matter
  • an interesting hypothesis about the development of language
  • Advances in genetics seem to confirm these hypotheses.
  • His hypothesis about what dreams mean provoked a lot of debate.
  • Research supports the hypothesis that language skills are centred in the left side of the brain.
  • The survey will be used to test the hypothesis that people who work outside the home are fitter and happier.
  • This economic model is really a working hypothesis.
  • speculative
  • concern something
  • be based on something
  • predict something
  • on a/​the hypothesis
  • hypothesis about
  • hypothesis concerning

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  • It would be pointless to engage in hypothesis before we have the facts.

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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.

Need a helping hand?

simple hypothesis synonym

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.

simple hypothesis synonym

Psst... there’s more!

This post was based on one of our popular Research Bootcamps . If you're working on a research project, you'll definitely want to check this out ...

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16 Comments

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

Afshin

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?

Pereria

It’s a counter-proposal to be proven as a rejection

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.

Samia

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

TAUNO

Excellent. Thanks for being clear and sound about the research methodology and hypothesis (quantitative research)

I have only a simple question regarding the null hypothesis. – Is the null hypothesis (Ho) known as the reversible hypothesis of the alternative hypothesis (H1? – How to test it in academic research?

Tesfaye Negesa Urge

this is very important note help me much more

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  1. Hypothesis synonyms

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  2. 13 Different Types of Hypothesis (2024)

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VIDEO

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COMMENTS

  1. 52 Synonyms & Antonyms for HYPOTHESIS

    Find 52 different ways to say HYPOTHESIS, along with antonyms, related words, and example sentences at Thesaurus.com.

  2. HYPOTHESIS Synonyms: 35 Similar and Opposite Words

    Synonyms for HYPOTHESIS: theory, thesis, proposition, premise, assumption, suggestion, guess, supposition; Antonyms of HYPOTHESIS: fact, knowledge, assurance, certainty

  3. Hypothesis

    hypothesis: 1 n a tentative insight into the natural world; a concept that is not yet verified but that if true would explain certain facts or phenomena "a scientific hypothesis that survives experimental testing becomes a scientific theory" Synonyms: possibility , theory Types: show 17 types... hide 17 types... hypothetical a hypothetical ...

  4. What is another word for hypothesis

    Synonyms for hypothesis include premise, proposition, theory, supposition, thesis, assumption, postulate, postulation, presupposition and surmise. Find more similar ...

  5. Hypothesis: Definition, Examples, and Types

    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. It is a preliminary answer to your question that helps guide the research process. Consider a study designed to examine the relationship between sleep deprivation and test ...

  6. HYPOTHESIS

    HYPOTHESIS - Synonyms, related words and examples | Cambridge English Thesaurus

  7. Hypothesis Definition & Meaning

    hypothesis: [noun] an assumption or concession made for the sake of argument. an interpretation of a practical situation or condition taken as the ground for action.

  8. HYPOTHESES Synonyms: 35 Similar and Opposite Words

    Synonyms for HYPOTHESES: theories, premises, assumptions, propositions, guesses, theses, suggestions, notions; Antonyms of HYPOTHESES: facts, assurances, certainties ...

  9. Hypothesis Synonyms and Antonyms

    Synonyms for HYPOTHESIS: theory, belief, guess, supposition, assumption, conjecture, proposal, system, surmise, deduction, premise, thesis, speculation; Antonyms for ...

  10. Synonyms of HYPOTHESIS

    Synonyms of 'hypothesis' in British English. hypothesis (noun) in the sense of theory. Definition. a suggested explanation for a group of facts, accepted either as a basis for further verification or as likely to be true . Different hypotheses have been put forward. Synonyms. theory.

  11. hypothesis

    If+past simple+would (hypothesis) - English Only forum Interesting hypothesis to investigate - English Only forum Meteor hypothesis obviously fell apart literally - English Only forum not to admit of any hypothesis - English Only forum opposite to "confirm a hypothesis" - English Only forum origin-of-life hypothesis <are in> - English Only forum

  12. How to Write a Strong Hypothesis

    Developing a hypothesis (with example) Step 1. Ask a question. Writing a hypothesis begins with a research question that you want to answer. The question should be focused, specific, and researchable within the constraints of your project. Example: Research question.

  13. What is another word for hypothesize

    Find 817 synonyms for hypothesize and other similar words that you can use instead based on 4 separate contexts from our thesaurus. What's another word for ... take as a hypothesis. predicate. daresay. take it. glean. divine. ascertain. opine. propound. trust. predict. submit. propose. venture. derive. ween. discern. work out. come to the ...

  14. hypothesis

    definition 2: a proposition assumed to be true for the purposes of a particular argument; premise. Let's start out with the hypothesis that these kinds of tests are fair. synonyms: premise, proposition, supposition. similar words: assumption, axiom, postulate, presumption. definition 3: in logic, the first member of a conditional proposition.

  15. hypothesis noun

    1 [countable] 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 synonym theory to formulate/confirm a hypothesis a hypothesis about the function of dreams There is little evidence to support these hypotheses. Topic Collocations Scientific Research theory. formulate/advance a theory/hypothesis

  16. HYPOTHESIS

    HYPOTHESIS definition: 1. an idea or explanation for something that is based on known facts but has not yet been proved…. Learn more.

  17. HYPOTHESIS

    HYPOTHESIS meaning: 1. an idea or explanation for something that is based on known facts but has not yet been proved…. Learn more.

  18. HYPOTHESIZE Synonyms: 70 Similar and Opposite Words

    Synonyms for HYPOTHESIZE: say, assume, presume, believe, think, suppose, postulate, conclude; Antonyms of HYPOTHESIZE: doubt, question, challenge, wonder (about ...

  19. hypothesis noun

    The hypothesis predicts that children will perform better on task A than on task B. The results confirmed his hypothesis on the use of modal verbs. These observations appear to support our working hypothesis. a speculative hypothesis concerning the nature of matter; an interesting hypothesis about the development of language

  20. What is another word for hypothesise

    disbelieve. resolve. syllogize. think it probable. take something for granted. take something at face value. be confident. consider it right. harbor suspicion.

  21. What Is A Research Hypothesis? A Simple Definition

    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.