Quantitative Research Questions, Objectives And Hypotheses

In quantitative studies, as in qualitative studies, questions, objectives and hypotheses represent specific restatements of the purpose of the study. In survey projects these restatements typically take the form of research questions and objectives, in experiments, they are hypotheses. Especially in doctoral dissertations, advisors recommend hypotheses in experiments because they represent the questions, objectives and hypotheses.

Researchers present questions, hypotheses and objectives as either a comparison between two or more groups in terms of a dependent and dependent variables. Researchers also write descriptive questions to describe responses to the independent or dependent variables. Several general guidelines, grounded in the quantitative paradigm, might direct the development of quantitative questions, objectives and hypotheses.

Develop the hypotheses, questions or objectives from theory. In the deductive methodological process of quantitative research, they are testable propositions deduced from theory

Keep the independent and dependent variables separate and measure them separately. This procedure reinforces the cause-and-effect logic of quantitative research.

When writing this passage, select one form-write questions,objectives or hypotheses- but not a combination. A hypothesis represents declarative statement of the relations between two or more variables. A research question also poses a relationship, but phrases the relationship as a question ; an objective is the same relationship statement in declarative form. Mixing hypotheses with questions or objectives conveys an informal (and redundant) style of writing.

If hypotheses are used, consider the alternative forms of writing them and make a choice based on the audience for the research. In the rhetoric of research, the formal, traditional language is to write hypotheses. Moreover, the traditional approach is to use "null" hypotheses, which simply state that there is no significant relationship between or among the variables  (e.g., There is no significant differences in the accumulation of resources and the productivity of faculty). Researchers employ this form because it has philosophical advantages in statistical testing and good researchers tend to be conservative and cautious in their statements of conclusions. Alternatively one finds in current journals the use of the "directional" of "alternative" hypothesis, in which the researcher posits a direction for the relationship (e.g., The more the accumulation of resources, the more productive the researcher). One tends to use the alternative if the literature suggests a hypothesized direction for the variables.

Consider then writing hypotheses in one of four forms: literary null, literary alternative, operational null, and operational alternative. The literary form means that the variables will be stated in abstract, concept-oriented language; the operational form represents specific language. Examples of each type of hypothesis follow.

Types of Hypotheses

  • Literary null hypothesis ( concept oriented, no direction):
  • There is no relationship between support services and academic persistence of non traditional-aged college women.
  • Literary alternative hypothesis (concept oriented, directional): The more that nontraditional-aged college women use support services, the more they will persist academically.
  • Operationally null hypothesis (operational, no direction) : There is no relationship between the number of hours nontraditional-aged college women use the student union and their persistence at the college after their freshmen year.
  • Operational alternative hypothesis ( operational, directional): The more that nontraditional-aged college women use the student union, the more they will persist at the college after their freshman year.