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Understanding & formulating Hypothesis in Qualitative & Quantitative Research

Derivation & Meaning of Hypothesis

The term Hypothesis is derived from the words namely “Hypo means less than”, “Thesis means generally held view”, thus  Hypothesis means “less than generally held view”[i]. As a Singular form, it is hypothesis and the plural form is  hypotheses.

Hypothesis is a conjectural statement about a relationship among two or more variables. Hypothesis is tentative, testable generalization or a predicative statement regarding relationship between variables the validity of which remains to be tested, for e.g. Poverty & Criminality.

Significance of Hypothesis in research educational research is a systematic, controlled, empirical and critical investigation of hypothetical propositions about the presumed relations among natural phenomenon[ii]. Hence hypothesis in research  is the basis originating idea of research and leads the way to systematic research for knowledge generation.

Common illustration of hypothesis in Law –

One of the common hypothesis and established generalization, common assumption  accordingly it is hypothesized that “Justice delayed is justice denied”. This proposition may be put to test using both quantitative, qualitative research tools date. Research may undertake to ascertain the  causal factors including causes of delay and the effect factors including consequences arising from delay, impact in denial of  rights of stakeholders, description of their disadvantaged plight. The hypothesis may test relationship among two or more variables as Independent Variable including causal factors and as dependent variable including Effect Factor.

In this case, The Cause Factor (Independent Variable) -Delay – long drawn court proceedings , hierarchical procedures time consuming,

The Effect Factor ( dependent variable) – Denial of justice – non availability of justice or resolve or legal rights safeguards at the time when required causing privation of right of stakeholder- ( this outcome to be studied, verified )

Significance & Application of Hypothesis in Judicial Pronouncements

Ali Jishan , Jishan Chawhan vs State Of Kerala[iii]” within all human probability the crime was committed by the accused and none else, in other words the circumstances must be incapable of explanation on any “reasonable hypothesis other than that of the guilt of the accused”

C.M.Aboobacker vs The State Of Kerala[iv]The circumstances relied on must have been fully established and must be consistent only with the hypothesis of guilt. But, that is not to say that the prosecution has to meet any hypothesis put forward by the prosecution

“The proved circumstances must be consistent only with the hypothesis of the guilt of the accused and totally inconsistent with his innocence.[v]“.

Source & Nature of Hypothesis

Hypothesis emerges from an existing body of knowledge and may lead to addition of knowledge.
Hypothesis should be clear, specific, precise bearing logical consistencyamenable to explanation
Hypothesis may be based on observation, generalized narratives, existing notions, established practices , socialization process may or may  not necessarily be supported by literature
Hypothesis may be derived from theory, concepts, narratives, analogies, observation, personal or community experience or testimony surrounding the research subject
Current , past developments , news reports surrounding the research subject

Formulating Hypothesis Step by Step Quick Guide

One of the first and  foremost thing in starting research is constructing the hypothesis.
A hypothesis is based on a tentative proposition and its validity is unknown.
Identification of Choice of Subject matter or topic based on interest of researcher
Undertake Literature review to assess existing information and research gap in the subject
Explore on the research subject and its different aspects.
Attempt to observe cause- effect relationship , attempt to identify dependent ( cause or causative) and independent ( effects , changing outcomes) variables in the phenomena
Form a summary statement based on general inferences  in simple, precise, brief, clear in statement
Infer and derive a general nature of phenomena and the possible outcome of study and factors that influence the phenomena.

Formulation of Hypothesis in Qualitative & Quantitative Research

Though hypothesis proposition  is common in both quantitative and qualitative research

Hypothesis is usually preferred in Quantitative research , Where as strict doctrinal research – hypothesis may be replaced by statement of problem, though not a conventional practice

In QuantitativeResearchhypothesis may completely prove or disprovethe research study by using the empirical or field data from field studies, the data tools used for same may be survey . In Quantitative research there is data tabulationbased on counting the affirmative or negative responses towards a conclusive one outcome. The quantitative data of NCRB may be a key to prove or disprove the hypothesis.

In Qualitative research the nature of hypothesis may not be testable due to lack of established relationship, prediction   at all hence hypothesis may be null Or it may be partially testable as may be put in manner- tends to or likely to or partially to some extent agreeable. In Qualitative  research, the data tools used are indepth interview, case study interview schedule , testimony not leading to single uniform outcome.

-Dr. Sonali Kusum


CR Kothari, New Age Research Methodology , New Age International Publsihers , 2004.
Goode and Hall, Methods in Social Research (Singapore : MacGraw Hill Book Co., 1985).

[i], research Methodology available at ( last visited on 5th july 2020)
[ii]Kerlinger (1964), NATIONAL OPEN UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA SCHOOL OF EDUCATION COURSE CODE: EDU323 COURSE TITLE: BASIC RESEARCH METHODS IN EDUCATION, National Open University of Nigeria, 2012 ISBN: 978-058-982-1 available at ( last visited on 5th july 2020)
[iii]CRL.A.No. 2137 of 2005
[iv] CRL.A.No. 941 of 2005
[v]State Of Goa vs Pandurang Mohite, CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS. 598-599 of 2002
C. Chenga Reddy and Ors. v. State of A.P. (1996) 10 SCC 193