This is the first of a series of articles where I will share what I have learnt (through coursework, the experience of doing research, researching information and listening to peers) on research methods. You are advised to look at these critically and form your own judgments before you decide to adopt or adapt any of these.
This series may be adapted by researchers at any level (especially learners who have to submit dissertations), those who wish to understand how research is done, and those who wish to understand how to make sense of the vast information that comes out of “research”, and for those who want to answer most questions in a real life setting.
The research hypothesis is the first step to start any research project. Any research starts when someone makes a hypothesis “I/we think that A is better than B, or A leads to B, or B,C,D are consequences of A, or A is associated with B etc”. The process of research then sets out to find out if the hypothesis is true or not, in other words, to prove or disprove the hypothesis.
Personally, I consider the hypothesis the most important part of any research project. Personally, i do not mind spending a lot of time thinking over, ruminating over, fighting with, refining my hypothesis before I move to the next step. Sometimes, I have spent more than 6 -8 months wrestling with my hypothesis.
Why do I feel it is important?
A well thought out hypothesis actually provides you with great clarity on study designs, study methods, measures to ascertain, methods to ascertain measures, the statistical tests you want to use, data collection methods, potential bias, potential strengths and limitations of your study even before you start the actual study.
Spend enough time on your hypothesis and you will spend less time during the research firefighting issues.
I am sharing a brief presentation on research hypothesis that I work myself through whenever I want to start a study.