HYPOTHESIS & FOCUSED QUESTION

In deductive research, a HYPOTHESIS is necessary. It is focused statement which predicts an answer to your research question. It is based on the findings of previous research (gained from your review of the literature) and perhaps your previous experience with the subject.The ultimate objective of deductive research is to decide whether to accept or reject the hypothesis as stated. When formulating research methods (subjects, data collection instruments, etc.), wise researchers are guided by their hypothesis. In this way, the hypothesis gives direction and focus to the research.

Here is a sample HYPOTHESIS:

The "Bowen technique" will significantly improve intermediate-level, college-age ESL students' accuracy when pronouncing voiced and voiceless consonants and tense and lax vowels.

Sometimes researchers choose to state their hypothesis in "null" form. This may seem to run counter to what the researchers really expect, but it is a cautious way to operate. When (and only when) this null hypothesis is disproved or falsified, the researcher may then accept a logically "alternate" hypothesis. This is similar to the procedure used in courts of law. If a person accused of a crime is not shown to be guilty, then it is concluded that he/she is innocent.

Here is a sample NULL HYPOTHESIS:

The Bowen technique will have no significant effect on learners' pronunciation.

In heuristic research, a hypothesis is not necessary. This type of research employs a "discovery approach." In spite of the fact that this type of research does not use a formal hypothesis, focus and structure is still critical. If the research question is too general, the search to find an answer to it may be futile or fruitless. Therefore, after reviewing the relevant literature, the researcher may arrive at a FOCUSED RESEARCH QUESTION.

Here is a sample FOCUSED RESEARCH QUESTION:

Is a contrastive presentation (showing both native and target cultures) more effective than a non-contrastive presentation (showing only the target culture) in helping students understand the target culture?