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Research Questions Hypothesis and Variables

hello everyone this is dr. Wallace have

you ever wondered why so much time and

emphasis is placed on understanding

research questions hypothesis statements

and variables in a research methodology

course let's face it when you look at

these three items in a research proposal

they do not take up a lot of space we

spend more time discussing our research

methodology data collection and analysis

and prior research on our topic than we

do on these three components in a

research proposal however these three

components are the foundation upon which

any good research study is conducted I

want to take a few minutes and explain

at a high level the role of each in a

research proposal and study and then

show you how they are connected to each

other I think the best way to examine

this subject is to begin with an example

research topic I can then demonstrate

how these three components are connected

by using this research topic as an

example let's keep things easy and

formulate a very simple topic for the

purpose of our lesson I'm going to say

that I want to examine the effects of a

thermostat on room temperatures now with

this research topic established let's

begin by looking at our three components

okay let's kick things off by looking at

research questions what is a research

question the research question is the

way we succinctly define what we hope

the research study will show us we have

identified a problem or issue that we

think is important to study now the

research question specifically

identifies what part of that issue or

problem we hope to answer or address as

implied by its name our research

question is presented in the form of a


the type of question we are asking is

often driven by the type of study we are

conducting and our research methodology

using our example topic a potential

research question that we might ask is

how does changing the thermostat setting

impact a rooms temperature now that we

have a research question

let's go take a look at the roll the

hypothesis so what is a hypothesis a

hypothesis is a prediction of what we

believe the study will find or put

another way the answer to the research

question a hypothesis is an empirical

statement that can be verified based

upon observation or experience it is

testable to be true or false through the

research study findings you will also

sometimes your reference to a null

hypothesis but let's say that for

another lesson now let's return to our

research topic example and create a

hypothesis the hypothesis for our

example study might be changing the

temperature setting on a thermostat up

or down will cause the room temperature

where the thermostat is located to

change in the same way we have made a

prediction of how we think the research

study will answer our question okay

let's move to the final piece of the

puzzle variables variables my Achilles

heel during my doctoral study days

that's right I'll be the first to admit

that this simple concept gave me a hard

time when I was a student let me take a

shot at breaking down variables as

simply as possible in one slide there

are two types of variables dependent and

independent also referred to as DV or IV


so what's the difference let's see if I

can make this as simple as possible the

dependent variable is what we watch to

see if a change is occurring while the

independent variable is the thing we

manipulate to influence a change in the

dependent variable I understand this can

get confusing

perhaps if we go back to our example

research topic things will become a bit

clearer in this research study the

thermostat setting is my independent

variable because it is the thing I have

the power to change or alter I am going

to manipulate the independent variable

to see if it creates a change in my

dependent variable the thermostat

setting influences the room temperature

which is my dependent variable

the room temperature is my dependent

variable because it is the thing I am

watching to see if a change occurs when

I alter the independent variable now I

manipulate my thermostat setting by

moving it to a different temperature I

have just made a change that I predicted

will influence my dependent variable

I will now watch my dependent variable

the room temperature to see if a change

occurs that matches the change I made to

the thermostat setting my independent

variable this is what I predicted with

my hypothesis so I want to watch how the

room temperature my dependent variable

is impacted when I make changes to the

thermostat setting my independent

variable okay now that we have a

high-level understanding of these three

components of a research proposal and

study let's see how they all work

together let's connect those dots the

research question or questions that we

create for the study specified what we

want to answer or find out in the study

in other words they put meaning to why

our study is important the hypothesis is

our prediction of what we believe the

study will find or put another way our

predicted answer to the research

questions with the hypothesis you are

looking into your magic ball and telling

everyone what you think the research

study will find when all is said and

done in many cases the research

questions and hypotheses will be closely

related with the primary difference

being that the hypothesis is presented

as a statement while the research

questions are will to put this plainly

formatted as a question now let's see

how the variables complete our puzzle

the independent and dependent variables

are the components of our study that we

manipulate and watch for outcomes since

our hypothesis made a prediction is it's

only logical that our variables have to

be included in the hypothesis our

hypothesis is where we show the

relationship between the independent and

dependent variables while this is the

logical flow for building many research

studies I cannot over stress the fact

research proposal is a constantly

evolving process

until we have locked down all components

of the research proposal and are ready

to conduct the study is entirely

possible that you may go back and tweak

or change any one of these components

based upon you information you uncover

or updates that you make to one of the

three components don't let this worry

you though because this is a natural

occurrence when working the kinks out of

your research strategy let's conclude by

summarizing what we have covered the

research question is our way of stating

what we hope the study will find or help

us learn our hypothesis is our

prediction statement of what we think

the research study findings will show

finally our variables are the aspects of

the study that we manipulate and observe

to determine whether our hypothesis was

correct thank you for taking the time to

view this lesson I hope the information

that I have presented helps clarify why

understanding research questions

hypothesis and variables is so important

in research methodology and how these

three work together to establish a

strong foundation for a research study