What is a Hypothesis?A hypothesis is your initial prediction about your topic or argument. Although you’re probably used to writing hypotheses in science, you can also use them effectively in other areas of research. Why Start With a Hypothesis?
When researching, creating a hypothesis gives you a place to start from. It helps you frame your research and know what to look for. Sometimes, your research question is just too big. When you start with a hypothesis, it can help you narrow your scope and figure out what information to focus on.
For example, instead of starting with the topic of the United States, which is very broad and may have too much information, you might choose the thesis “The United States almost lost the Revolutionary War,” which would help you narrow your search to information on the American Revolution.
What Should a Hypothesis Look Like?You shouldn’t worry about creating a hypothesis that is right or wrong. It’s just a prediction! As you research, you will find out if your guess was correct.
As you write your hypothesis, make sure that it:
- Relates to the topic
- Uses higher order thinking
- Looks like an argument
“What would the United States be like if we never fought the Revolutionary War?”There are a lot of possible answers to this question. A hypothesis will help you focus on specific pieces of information.
Hover your mouse over the blue and green icons to learn more about why the examples below are or are not good hypotheses.
Beginning Your Research: Identify the Information You NeedOnce you have a hypothesis, you can identify what information you need to find out. Most likely, you will need to find data and evidence related to your prediction. This evidence may support your prediction, or it may prove it wrong; both are okay! The point of research is to learn, not to be right.
If your hypothesis is, “The United States would be a much smaller and less diverse nation if we never fought the Revolutionary War,” some of the information you will need to gather includes:
- Statistics on population and diversity before the war and today
- Specific examples of how fighting the war did or did not lead to greater diversity
- Specific examples of how fighting the war did or did not lead to the nation growing
Creating a hypothesis is helpful and will be the central theme of your project. Don’t be afraid to explore different options before deciding on one that you like the most.
As you research, it’s ethical to build a bibliography to keep track of the sources you use to support your hypothesis. Easily make one in MLA format, APA format, Chicago, or more with BibMe citation tools. Our premium BibMe Plus service also offers a grammar check to help you improve your writing. Try it today!