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January 15, 2012

What is the difference between a research question and a research hypothesis? By Fahd Khalid Syed and Sajjad Ahmed Sherjeel

by pashtoonkasi
“It is a good morning exercise for a research scientist to discard a pet hypothesis everyday before breakfast. It keeps him young.”
Konrad Lorenz


Depending on how you see the world as later described in detail in research methodology, you would either be working and trying to answer a research question or you would be testing a hypothesis.

A Research Question is a statement which identifies the problem that the research is going to address. A strong research question should be concise and accurate. It should tell exactly what the study is trying to accomplish.

A well stated research question should include all the variables about the study in question.


For example:

Instead of: What are the risk factors of stroke? , a better research question would be: What is the relationship between high blood pressure and stroke among people aged greater than 50 years?


A Research Hypothesis is the researcher’s prediction of the answer to the Research Question. ‘The hypothesis is formulated following the review of related literature and prior to the execution of the study. The related literature leads the researcher to expect a certain relationship.’1

A good hypothesis states as clearly and concisely as possible the ‘researcher’s expectations concerning the relationship between the variables in the research problem.’ 2


For example:

High blood pressure will increase the risk of stroke among people aged greater than 50 years.


To prove or disprove his hypothesis, the investigator then gathers the required information.


Tasks for the Researcher:

ü  Know the difference between a research question and research hypothesis.

ü  Try evaluating your previous research projects’ research topics as to whether they were research questions or research hypothesis.


References and Further Reading:

[1] Formulation and Statement of a Research Hypothesis. Available: Accessed 13/May/2009

[2] Research Methodology. Troy University Course Syllabus. Available: Accessed 13/May/2009



From the Book; Research: What, Why and How? A treatise from Researchers to Researchers. 

Read more from Research

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