Research Question and Hypothesis Development


Research is a process of investigation into a particular topic of study, in order to study a problem or question. The research topic for study should be established by the researcher according to the specific project that needs to be explored. After the topic has been chosen the researcher must develop a question for research and hypothesis that relates to the study being conducted (Online Library Learning Center, n.d.). This paper will discuss how a researcher should go about developing a research question and hypothesis to support their research efforts. Also to be discussed will be how a researcher can enhance and focus the extent of the research question and hypothesis to relate to the topic being researched.

How a Research Question is Developed

The formulation of a research question should be made before the researcher begins conducting research on a study. This will be a question developed from the purpose statement and will be something that the researcher intents to find out by conducting the study. The question chosen will guide the researcher through their research study, and will focus on the intention of the research study. As research is conducted by the researcher they should be looking for the answer to the research question chosen. However, in order to develop a genuine question for researching a study the researcher must first develop a broad topic in which they can narrow it down to a specific question being asked about the study (CTU Online, 2011).

How a Hypothesis is Developed

The hypothesis is a prediction regarding the outcome of the study being conducted. The researcher will develop the hypothesis statement from basically what they believe to be the outcome of the research study. The ideas behind this will be formed by the previous experiences of the researcher and/or other researchers who have studied the topic, or other information found on the topic. An independent variable, which is managed by the examiner, and a dependent variable, which is examined and calculated, will be included in the hypothesis statement. The main objective for the researcher in developing a hypothesis statement is to test and ultimately accept or reject it when the examination of the study is performed. With that being said, there are two types of theories that can be tested and concluded on regarding a research study. They are are the null and alternative hypotheses (CTU Online, 2011).

Null and Alternative Hypotheses

The null hypothesis is a suggestion related to the research study that establishes if there is absolutely an accurate relationship which connects the two variables being tested. The alternative hypothesis, on the other hand, is a statement which expresses the relationship between the two variables being tested or indicates the differences that connect the variables being tested. In a research study in which hypothesis examination is being conducted both the null hypothesis and the alternative hypothesis are presented and analysis is then carried out to either permit or decline the null hypothesis. In this sense, if the information found by the researcher from the analysis of the study is sufficiently solid in that it declines the null hypothesis, then the alternative hypothesis is permitted. In other words, the null hypothesis is declined when there is defiantly no relationship among two variables, and the alternate hypothesis is permitted when there is a relationship among variables or groups of things. However, the analysis conducted related to the hypothesis testing will be affected by which research method the researcher chooses for the study (Experiment-Resources, 2011).

Refine and Narrow Research Question

In order for the researcher to refine and narrow down the research question to be answered by conducting the study they must first pick an appropriate topic that can be researched. Once this is done the researcher should list numerous questions that they would like to be answered regarding the study. The researcher should then choose the best question in which the research effort can be further narrowed down to ask the how are why of a specific topic. However, the researcher should keep in mind that the idea behind a good research question is to improve knowledge of a topic particularly where studying by others is incomplete (Empire State College, n.d.).

Refine and Narrow Hypothesis

As previously stated when performing a hypothesis test on a study the examination is arranged with a null hypothesis and an alternative hypothesis. To refine the examination the null hypothesis is what is uncertain regarding the study, and the alternative hypothesis is what is being researched regarding the study. In order to narrow down the scope of the research process the null and alternative hypothesis statement must be written down so that they are exactly opposite from one another. Although the null hypothesis of the examination must be written so that the researcher can reject it, the alternative hypothesis should be judged as incorrect by the researcher until true facts regarding the examination prove otherwise (CTU Online, 2011). Also, when performing hypothesis testing the researcher may want to use flow charts, diagrams, etc, for easier detection of relationships between things that are being examined (University of Texas at Austin, 2010).


A researcher must simplify what they are looking for in their research efforts to develop an appropriate topic for research. Once a solid topic is developed the research question and hypothesis can be formulated and the researcher can begin searching for information to draw conclusions on the study so that true facts can be stated. Also, the more information available on a research topic the more manageable it becomes and the more accurate the results will be for the researcher (Online Library Learning Center, n.d.).


CTU Online. (2011). Graduate Research Methods. Phase 2 course material [text]. Retrieved from

Empire State College. (n.d.). Developing a research question. Retrieved from

Experiment-Resources. (2011). Hypothesis testing. Retrieved from

Online Library Learning Center. (n.d.). What is research?

University of Texas at Austin. (2010). Instructional assessment resources: Conduct research. Retrieved from

Published by Lela Keel

I am a single mother of three who has an interest in obtaining a job in the Health Care field. I reside in Texas and am currently unemployed. My mother is my inspiration, she's what keeps me going when thi...  View profile