How to Write a Good Hypothesis for a Research Paper

How to Write a Good Hypothesis for a Research Paper

Being a college student comes with a lot of work and responsibility. Academia is a demanding field, and it requires a lot of skills and practice to pass all its tests. It’s fair to say that writing a research paper is among the hardest assignments a student can get in college. It's not easy to do this paper right the first time around. Often, the hardest part of writing is finding the methods you are going to test your main idea of the work. Students struggle to define the hypothesis and follow through with it to the end. 

Of course, learning how to write a hypothesis for a research paper will take a while. Yet, it is a crucial part of academic writing that is necessary to master. So let's learn more about how to write a good hypothesis for a research paper with our guide. So if you are wondering, “how do you write a hypothesis?”, this guide will explain it in detail. It will also cover what this element of writing actually is and how to approach this task.

What Is the Hypothesis in the Research Paper?

Learning how to state a hypothesis in a research paper is crucial for the success of your future work. Hence, you have to form a clear idea of what that part of your assignment should represent. Overall, a hypothesis is your plan for your work that should reveal your intentions on answering the main research question. It should show what you expect from your work. In other words, it is the assumption that you pursue. You predict a certain string of events and plan to achieve that within your text. Hence, you claim what you are going to discover or prove by the end of your work. 

Hence, this element is basically a prediction that you want to test within the body of your work. It’s fair to say that sometimes your predictions don’t really work. However, your goal is to show the entire process of stating your assumptions, testing them, and discovering the answer. Whether it is a positive or negative one would affect the quality of your proposition or the success of your paper. A writer always has a right to be wrong in their assumptions. So you should not be afraid of finding out a negative or vague answer to your question. On the other hand, you should strive to offer a proposition that you are most likely to prove. After all, you should not pick any random prediction but rather base it on the existing assumptions, theories, or common knowledge that does not have many arguments underneath it. 

Also, make sure that your question is unique, relevant, and original. There should not be a well-known answer to your question. You have to ask something that was not addressed and answered before you. Hence, the whole purpose of your research is to discover the truth about that original question you have asked. At the same time, there is no way of how to write a hypothesis without a real possibility to test it. Hence, if you choose a certain question to ask, you must be certain you have your ways to test, check, or prove it. There are multiple ways to test your questions, such as questionnaires, experiments, data analysis, observations, or else. The nature of your research should help you pick the right testing method. 

Also, a writer can insert more than one assumption in a single paper. It’s very possible to have more than two hypotheses in one body of writing. Often, it is even necessary as complex work will require additional steps in revealing the main question of the research. After all, an academic paper should have only one thesis statement though it can have numerous such statements in order to ensure a full unbiased take on the issue. 

How Should a Hypothesis Be Written: Essential Components

Knowing the purpose of a proposition is not yet enough. You should also ask yourself, “how is a hypothesis written?” Learning about it may take a while. It's all about practice and experience. Still, it’s possible to start by learning more about the main components that should always be present here. Overall, there must be three steps to writing an assumption statement. These are the crucial components without which you won’t be able to proceed with your research paper. So, here is a how to write a hypothesis example:

  1. The definition of a problem. 
    1. State what you are writing about and why. It should define the topic of your work and the focus of the study.
  2. Define your intentions
    1. State your plan on proving your hypothesis. List the steps you are going to take and the results you expect from them.
  3. Enlist the variables. 
    1. There can be independent and dependent variables that you should have in your research. 

These are the components that you should include in every assumption that you write. They should lie at the core of your research question and fully represent your work’s nature and purpose. As soon as you learn more about the components and how to comprise them together, you will master the technique of writing them. However, even before you start writing, there are a few prior steps you must take. Let’s see how to start your work.

How to Write a Strong Hypothesis?

Writing takes a lot of experience, focus, and skills. Overall, it's not a task that we all can master naturally. Still, it is not as complicated as it may look on the outside. All you must learn is the right order of steps and elements that should be present in each task of your work. Hence, breaking down your assignment into a few consequential elements will always help you succeed in your work and perform your tasks faster and more efficiently. 

Find the Right Question 

You should always start with the right questions. These questions should be about the nature of your work. What do you want to write about? How do you want to approach it? What do you find interesting in your theme? Overall, you have to have a theme and topic of the discussion in order to start offering assumptions on the matter. Once you have the answers to these questions, you may move on to exploring potential research questions. For example, see what areas in the given theme need more exploration. Look for the questions that will help you progress in your research. At this stage, you have to define the future direction of your further work and development. 


To create a hypothesis, you need to start with the research. You have to be like a fish in the water with the topic you have chosen. Hence, you need to dedicate a lot of time to researching the issues at hand. Of course, it's not an easy task to pursue. Still, learning how to write a hypothesis is a necessary step to complete a research paper. Hence, you have to do your best at doing it.

First and foremost, you should research whether the ideas you have for your hypotheses are unique or not. You must have an original idea that will reveal something new in the course of the discussion and add to the overall topic of your work. You can’t just repeat someone else’s experiments. Hence, you should look at whether anyone else in academia has already done what you are planning on doing. 

Next, see what you can bring to your work by pursuing the ideas that you have formed. In what ways do these ideas help you proceed with the main research question? How are you planning to reveal the main questions at hand? Overall, you must already know enough about the topic to seek the neglected areas to discuss. You must see the existing studies on the theme of your work and see where you can contribute. You must strive to bring something new to the table. See what others have already tried, where they have failed or succeeded. 

At last, see what areas of your search are the most relevant in the given theme. You can see what other scholars are trying to discover and follow suit. Moreover, you can develop several ideas and try to connect them through the researched theories.   

Variables in Hypotheses

Once you know what you are writing about, you are ready to elaborate on how to shape it. Formulating it can become a real challenge for anyone who hasn't tried it before. However, a few simple tips and a proper understanding of how it should be done will definitely help you. So, first, decide on what you want to find and how you want to present it. Make sure you have a clear and well-organized sentence. Your readers shouldn't have any issues realizing what you're planning on doing in your essay. 

Next, you should start by defining your variables. Now, you should always have two of them, an independent and dependent one. Here is an example of a hypothesis in a research paper with the emphasis on the used variables: "Eating more sugar will lead to diabetes" Here, "eating more sugar" is an independent variable. It does not change no matter what you will reveal further in your text. The final part of the sentence, "diabetes", is a dependent variable. This variable will depend on how you test your idea. It carries the main answer that you are trying to reveal. As you can see, it’s easy to manipulate the dependent variable whether an independent variable must remain a solid component in all hypotheses. 

Overall, you need to think about both variables and pick the two of them right. Often, you will need to phrase them in three ways. You can provide a correlation between the variables, differentiate them, or show the correlation between the two variables. 

Testing Methods

You must pick a testable assumption. Hence, first of all, plan how you want to prove it. To do so, you have to be very specific about the purpose and nature of your sentence. Of course, picking something easy to test should not be the hardest part of your work. The hardest task here is to pick something interesting and relevant to your research. Then, you have to have enough resources ready for you to test your variables. As always, there are various ways you can test your assumptions. You can analyze the theories in regards to the topic. You can check and compare the data or start with the observations. Overall, your testing process will always depend on the nature of your essay, class, and topic of the discussion. 

Hypothesis vs. Thesis Statement

Last but not least, many students tend to confuse the two essential elements of research papers, which are a hypothesis and a thesis statement. Indeed, these elements are similar but are not the same. Often, students tend to use one of these elements and implement them in work, replacing the purpose of the other. This is the wrong approach when it comes to essay writing. Both elements should have their own place in the research paper outline

As we have already stated, a hypothesis is an assumption that must be proved or disproved. The core nature of this element depends on the used variables, which possess the purpose of the future direction of the paper. 

On the other hand, a thesis statement is a simple summary of future research. Such a statement should outline what the research will be about and what a writer will discover/prove/analyze. A thesis statement is a necessary element for all types of research papers, whereas a proposition is often used only in experimental quantitative studies. 

Thus, the latter is a guess that a writer is thinking to prove or discover. A thesis statement is a premise on the nature of the work that should be addressed and answered by the concluding paragraph. So, where is the hypothesis in a scientific paper vs. the thesis statement? First of all, it should always be in the introduction. However, the order of these two elements can vary depending on the context. Sometimes a writer may start an introduction with the thesis statement and end it with the propositions they are going to test. However, most often, a thesis statement should be one of the last sentences in your introduction, followed by your assumptions. 

The Bottom Line

As you can see, writing a good hypothesis takes a lot of skills and knowledge. However, it all will come to you with the experience. Often, students who write a lot of research papers do not face any hypothesis requirements far into their studies. It is so due to the nature of a paper that requires one. Only experimental quantitative studies must have hypotheses in their text. However, they are the rare assignment type, which can leave many students feeling confused and lost. Well, it’s easy to see why. 

Still, it’s possible to learn about hypothesis writing by following simple guides like this one. Of course, it will take some practice and trials. Overall, we encourage you to pick a few simple topics and give them a try. Test a few hypotheses and see how you can manage to find good variables and testing methods. You’ll see how much easier it gets with each try. We wish you good luck and have a good time writing your research papers in the future.