FDN 5000 Research Methods Research Questions and Hypotheses
Research Questions and Hypotheses • Research questions derive from many sources: • Everyday experiences. • Hunches. • Questions raised after reading a popular or scientific article. • Educational or psychological theory.
Research Questions and Hypotheses • The BEST research questions concern relationship between and among variables. • For example: Does the frequency of sentence disruption in language development in young children increase with sentence complexity? Does it decrease with advancing maturity?
Some More Examples of Research Questions • Some more examples of research questions: • Does the use of spell-checkers in word-processors facilitate or hinder spelling? • Among elementary-school children? • Among middle-school or high school students? • What is the relationship between teachers’ age and teacher burnout?
Research Hypotheses Research Hypotheses: • Predict the outcome of a study. • Predictions about correlations among variables. • Predictions about differences among groups. • Subject to empirical verification. • Can be tested. • Postulate manifest relationships. • Should be consistent with existing body of knowledge. • Skepticism or fresh look at evidence is OK. • Outright contradictions are NOT OK.
Types of Research Hypotheses: Inductive vs Deductive • Inductive vs deductive hypotheses. • Inductive hypotheses are derived from generalizations from observed relationships. • E.g.: we observe that disruptive boys seem to get more attention than disruptive girls. • We observe, also, that students who get more attention tend to perform better on tests than students who receive less attention. • Therefore we hypothesize that disruptive boys will perform better than girls on tests.
Types of Research Hypotheses: Inductive vs Deductive • Deductive hypotheses are typically derived from theory. • May be an informal theory. • E.g.: We theorize that because disruptive behavior is more noticeable than non-disruptive behavior, disruptive children well receive more attention than non-disruptive children. • Our reading tells us that boys tend to be more rambunctious than girls. • Therefore, we hypothesize that because of the greater attention they receive, disruptive boys will perform better on tests than will girls.
Types of Hypotheses: Directional vs Non-directional Hypotheses • Directional hypotheses. • Predict the direction of the outcome or expected relationship. • Examples: • Among high school students there is a positive relationship between students’ self-concept and their grade point average. • When given a chance, elementary-school students prefer to have their written compositions evaluated by a computer rather than by a teacher.
Types of Hypotheses: Directional vs Non-directional Hypotheses • Non-directional hypotheses. • No rational basis for predicting the direction of the outcome. • Examples: • Elementary-school children’s spelling performance is affected by their use of spell-checkers in word processing. • There is a relationship between the number of hours high school students spend watching TV and their grade point average.
Research Hypothesis substantive postulates re-lationships of differences directional or non- directional cannot be tested by statistical methods Null Hypothesis hypothesize NO re-lationship, or NO difference observed relationships or differences arise from chance researchers want to REJECT Types of Hypotheses: Research vs Null Hypotheses
Three Examples of Research Hypotheses • Group study leads to higher grade achievement. • Practice in a mental function has no effect on the future learning of that mental function. • Middle-class children more often than lower-class children will avoid finger painting tasks.
Evaluating Research Questions and Hypotheses • Is the question or hypothesis research-able? • Is it philosophical? • Does it involve questions of value or morality? • Are solutions possible? • Is the question or hypothesis legal or ethical? • Is the question or hypothesis meaningful? Will the answer further our understanding or add to our knowledge base?
Evaluating Research Questions and Hypotheses • Has the question or hypothesis already been answered or tested? • What does the literature say? • Does the question or hypothesis acknowledge previous research? • What kind of data is required to answer or test the question or hypothesis? • Is it possible to collect the kind of data necessary to answer the question or test the hypothesis? • Are the procedures required ethical or moral?