Why is a hypothesis useful

Confidently propose hypotheses: what to do if they are not correct

18.09.2018

Our academic ghostwriter - expert for scientific work and writing academic texts.

The horror scenario of every scientist is to want to make hypotheses, but have to realize in the course of the research that these are not supported by the knowledge gained. But what if that happens with a thesis whose performance is included in an important grade? As ghostwriters, we know exactly how to deal with something like this, and the good news is: don't panic, it's all half as wild.

Raising hypotheses viewed differently

At the beginning of a scientific work there is usually a lot of zeal. During your studies you developed certain ideas and drawn your own conclusions from them. These ideas now want to be presented convincingly and make a contribution to science - why else should one write an empirical paper? But the truth about student work at the university is that they are used to monitor performance. And the performance that is queried is not the quality of one's own scientific insights, but the ability to work scientifically. If you think about it, that's kind of fair. Good ideas don't always lie on the road. But those who can work scientifically correctly are always useful - not only at the university, but everywhere.

The goal of every work: to grasp a problem

Why is the ability to work scientifically so important and in demand? Because it is about recognizing a problem, formulating it and facing it in an effective, understandable and objective manner. Setting up hypotheses is just the scientifically correct way of making your own assumptions transparent. The research question only serves to orient one's own thoughts to a single meaning and purpose.

And this is where the key to hypothesis formation lies: The point is not that it is correct, but that it is understandable.

This is done by giving reasons based on the relevant specialist literature. If your own empirical research cannot confirm the hypothesis, this is not a problem at all. The fact that something cannot be thought this way is just as important a result for scientific progress as it is a positive finding. That is why many guidelines and regulations for the preparation of papers also explicitly state: Whether a hypothesis proves itself or fails is not a criterion for the quality of a scientific paper for the time being!

Research question revisited: change, supplement, realign

A simple example:

Let's take the following research question: Does the advent of Netflix also affect users' television behavior?
Then the hypothesis could have been: The demand for high-quality series has increased among the television viewers who use Netflix.
The reason would be that users have got used to the high-quality series from Netflix and are now looking for them in their television behavior.
Unfortunately, however, the empirical test, whether with a statistical survey or with qualitatively evaluated interviews, has not confirmed this hypothesis. Rather, it seems that Netflix viewers are seeing fewer and fewer series on television.
This means that the hypothesis that has been put forward has failed.

But is the meaning of empirical work also lost? No! Because now you can simply go back to the research question and discuss how this negative finding influences it. The test subjects probably watched less television because they were used to the luxury of time independence offered by Netflix. Perhaps this will lead to a natural reorientation of the research question: Does the usability of Netflix change the behavior of television viewers? In conclusion, this can then be suggested as an outlook for further research.

Hypothesis and thesis: definition made easy

Formulating research questions, defining theses, setting up hypotheses: is it sometimes confusing for you, too, what is required in a scientific paper? Then the following thought helps: The research question is always a question, and mostly about a why or how, sometimes also an whether (for example, whether Sarah Wagenknecht's collection movement still fits the approach of a party from the left party family).

Hypotheses and theses are always sentences, that is, established, well-founded assumptions about a connection between factors. Hypotheses are concrete guesses, and if they have been falsified, it doesn't matter. Theses, however, are assertions and should be pronounced with caution. For example, the example work described above does not lead to the thesis "Netflix viewers tend to watch more series on television", but rather leads to the thesis "The usability of Netflix has a strong influence on television viewers".

The result of the empirical work, i.e. the failed hypothesis, has contributed to a new thesis that can advance the research drive! Anyone who proceeds in this way shows that he does not cling to preconceived ideas in the face of negative data, but can reflect critically and is in the service of objective gain in knowledge. And these are exactly the skills that are meant to be shown! Don't throw in the towel: if you need help to look at your work in a new way or to bring a new order into it, we will be happy to assist you!