1 WHAT IS AN HYPOTHESIS?
An hypothesis is a preliminary or tentative explanation or postulate by the researcher of what the researcher considers the outcome of an investigation will be. It is an informed/educated guess.
It indicates the expectations of the researcher regarding certain variables. It is the most specific way in which an answer to a problem can be stated.
Mouton's (1990: Chapter 6) and Guy's (1987: 116) presentation of the hypothesis:
Statement postulating a possible relationship between two or more phenomena or variables.
A statement describing a phenomenon or which specifies a relationship between two or more phenomena.
2 THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN HYPOTHESIS AND A PROBLEM
Both an hypothesis and a problem contribute to the body of knowledge which supports or refutes an existing theory. An hypothesis differs from a problem. A problem is formulated in the form of a question; it serves as the basis or origin from which an hypothesis is derived. An hypothesis is a suggested solution to a problem. A problem (question) cannot be directly tested, whereas an hypothesis can be tested and verified.
3 WHEN IS AN HYPOTHESIS FORMULATED?
An hypothesis is formulated after the problem has been stated and the literature study has been concluded. It is formulated when the researcher is totally aware of the theoretical and empirical background to the problem.
4 THE PURPOSE AND FUNCTION OF AN HYPOTHESIS
5 CHARACTERISTICS OF AN HYPOTHESIS
6 TYPES OF HYPOTHESES
Hypotheses can be classified in terms of their derivation (inductive and deductive hypotheses) and in terms of their formulation (research - directional and non-directional and statistical or null hypotheses).
It is a relationship between variables and indicates the nature of the relationship.
If A is valid, B follows ...
If you hit a child with a cain, he/she will cry.
Schools in which pupil-teacher relations are open/friendly will have less unrest than comparable schools where pupil-teacher relations are closed/tense.
"You are wrong, there is no relation; disprove me if you can" (Kerlinger, 1973)
There is no difference between pupil-teacher relations in unrest schools and pupil-teacher relations in comparable schools which experience no unrest.