A hypothesis is an assumption about:
- The relationship between/among variables or
- The level of influence of independent variables on the dependent variable or
- The value of population parameter.
Thus relationship between income and brand preference, between education and habit of savings, between cost of capital and capital structure, between motivation and productivity, etc., are hypotheses of the first type. The influence of sales on profit, of profit on value of business, of reward on performance and such other things are the second type. The third type involves putting values on population parameters such as the mean monthly salary of students who graduated from a particular university in the first year of their employment is 1000$ in 2012 or on an average management graduates wait for 6 months after graduation to get job or 40% management graduates get administrative jobs and so on.
Sources of Hypothesis
There are diverse sources of hypothesis in research. First, an explorative research work might lead to the establishment of hypothesis. Second, the environment is a source of hypothesis, because environment portrays broad relationship across factors which form the basis for drawing an inference. Third, analogies are a source of hypothesis. The term analogies refer to parallelism. Though human system and animal system are different, there is some parallelism. That is why medicines are tried first on rats or monkeys then used for human consumption. So, hypothesis on animal behavior can be done based on proven behavior of human and vice versa. Similarly, between thermodynamics and group dynamics, biological system and social system, nervous system and central processing unit of a computer, parallelism can be thought of and spring hypotheses therefrom. Fourth, previous research studies are a great source of hypotheses. That is why review of literature is made. Fifth, assumptions of certain theories become a source of hypothesis in research. Similarly, exceptions to certain theory are ground for new hypotheses. Sixth, personal experiences and experiences of others are another source of hypotheses. Everyone encounters numerous experiences in day to day life in relation to one’s avocation. From these glimpses of hypothetical relations between events, variables, etc emanate. These are, therefore, bases for establishment of possible hypotheses. Seventh, social, physical and other theories and laws provide for hypotheses. Newton’s laws of motion might be a source of hypotheses, in social science, say behavior and reward and the like. Finally, for the research mind, the whole universe is a source of hypotheses. Yes. the searching mind fathoms out new hypotheses from seemingly events of insignificance.