VARIABLES, HYPOTHESES AND STAGES OF
Dr. Satishprakash S. Shukla, Professor, Department of Education, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
Life span of different persons have been different. Physical abilities of different persons have been
different. Marks of the students in the same subjects taught by the same teacher to all of them have been
not equal. Temperature at different time in a day have been different. All these examples show that the
variation in a characteristics is found per unit that possesses it. We can thus say that as a person, object or
situation changes, value or proportion of the properties associated with it also changes. The characteristics
that may change per unit is called variable. Variables play an important role in most of the researches,
especially in quantitative type of researches in which numeric or quantitative data are gathered and
analysed. Researcher must have clarity about the variables while conducting such a research because type
of variable guides us to apply certain type of techniques for data analysis to test the hypotheses or to get
the answers of research questions. Generally, variables are not considered in some of the qualitative type
of research. We will discuss about the variables in detail in this chapter. Let’s start with definitions of
variable. DEFINITIONS OF VARIABLE
Variable is concerned with variation in presence of something in person, object, animal, place or
situation or in any natural phenomena. It can be defined as:
A characteristic under study of which an identity or value changes or is possible to change per unit
is called variable. OR
A variable is a characteristic that varies in the context of its value or identity.
MEANING OF VARIABLE
Referring the definitions of variable, we can say that any such characteristic, possessed by any living
or non-living unit or thing, is called variable whose value may change per unit or per groups of unit. Such
characteristic is called variable characteristic in research study.
Some examples of variable are given below.
If we want to study the number of members in families of a village, the number of members will be
variable characteristic, because value of this number will change per family and family will be considered
as unit of study.
In the same way, if we want to study Mathematical Reasoning Ability (MRA) of students, MRA
will be considered as variable characteristic and students will be considered as units of study.
Units of study is called subject in research study.
MEANING OF SUBJECT OF STUDY
The unit that possesses variable characteristic to be studied is called subject of study. Family, in our
above mentioned first example, will be considered as subject and in second example student will be
considered as subject of study.
In the same way, if we want to study Teaching Aptitude (TA) of high school teachers, the high
school teachers will be subjects of our study and TA will be considered as variable characteristic under
Generally, in research studies, if variables are taken care of, interrelationship among the variables
or impact of one or more variables on other variables is studied. Sometimes, interactive effect of some
variables on other variable/s is studied through research. If variable based study is to be done through
research activity, researcher must have the understanding of types of variable.
TYPES OF VARIABLE
There are five types of variable in terms of research methodology as follows.
The variable, value of which affects the value of another variable is known as independent variable.
Such variable is not affected by the change in the value of another variable but affects the value of another
Points to be discussed in an ICSSR sponsored Capacity Building Programme for Social Science Faculty Members
at Saurashtra University, Rajkot, Gujarat, India on 28th April 2018
Dr. Satishprakash S. Shukla, Professor, Department of Education, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. [Page 2
Generally, effect of such variable on another variable is measured or studied during research studies.
Independent variable is also known as absolute variable.
We will understand this concept with the help of examples.
In a comparative study of Computer Aptitude (CA) of undergraduate students of different faculties,
‘Faculty’ will be considered as independent variable, because in this study researcher will check the
impact of faculty on computer aptitude of the students. Faculty may have different levels like Arts,
Commerce and Science. Here, researcher assumes that CA of students may differ from faculty to faculty.
Each level of independent variable is called Stratum and all levels together are known as Strata.
In how many levels an independent variable is to be divided, depends upon how much large area is
to be covered under study. If researcher wants to compare CA of Engineering and Medical students also
in above mentioned study, there will be five levels of independent variable that is Faculty in this example.
Some independent variable, like Gender, has levels in fixed number. E.g. In the study of Emotional
Maturity of students in terms of their Gender, the Gender will have only two levels Male and Female.
Nowadays, third level of gender that is transgender is also accepted universally. In such cases gender will
have three levels like Male, Female and Transgender.
As discussed earlier, generally, impact of independent variable on dependent variable is studied
through research or dependent variable is studied in relation to independent variable. So, now we will
discuss about dependent variable.
The variable, value of which may change due to change in the value of other variable is called
In other words, such characteristic is called dependent variable for which different values can be
obtained in the context of change in independent variable.
In this way, we can say that value of dependent variable may change due to change in the value of
Let’s take an example to understand this concept.
In comparative study of Mathematical Reasoning Ability (MRA) of students in the context of their
Intelligence, MRA will be dependent variable and Intelligence will be considered as an independent
variable because in this study, the impact of Intelligence on MRA is to be checked. Researcher may divide
the students according to level of their intelligence. Levels of intelligence may be high, low and medium
or very high, high, medium, low and very low. Levels will be decided according to the need and objectives
Generally, there has been relationship of cause and effect between dependent and independent
variables, where independent variable acts as a cause and dependent variable as an effect. In our example,
researcher takes intelligence as a cause and MRA as effect. Because, here, he wants to check whether
MRA is affected by intelligence or not.
Let’s take one more example to understand the relationship between dependent and independent
Suppose we want to check the impact of teaching strategies like Concept Attainment Model (CAM)
and Project Method (PM) on the achievement of students in Geography, then we will teach certain units
of Geography to the students by these two strategies keeping in mind the procedure of experimental
method. In this case, teaching strategy will act as a cause that can affect the achievement of students.
In real life, we find that a single characteristic is affected by more than one factors. In such cases,
two or more variables may be there that may change the value of dependent variable. For example,
achievement of students in any subject, may be affected by various factors like teaching strategy,
intelligence, attention or understanding level and study habits of students. More factors may also be there.
In such cases, researcher has to think over moderator variables also.
We know that independent variable affects the value of dependent variable and there has been cause
and effect relationship between these two. The variable that affects the cause and effect relationship
Dr. Satishprakash S. Shukla, Professor, Department of Education, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. [Page 3
between these two variables is called moderator variable. It means the effect of independent variable on
dependent variable may be different in the presence of moderator variable.
E.g. In the study of Value Awareness (VA) of urban, rural and semi urban students, the area will
be independent variable and VA will be
dependent variable. But here, if researcher
thinks that the gender of students may also
affect the relationship between area and VA of
students, the gender will be considered as
moderator variable. Various moderator
variables may be there for one pair of
independent and dependent variable.
Researcher has to decide, in such cases, which
variable he wants to take as moderator
If, in this case, researcher feels that
Socio-Economic Status (SES) of students may
also affect the relationship between Area and
VA, he can take SES as second moderator
variable. Final classification of variables, in case of two moderator variables in our example, will be as
shown in Table – 1.
Researcher has to take extra care while selecting
moderator variables. If sincere and proper care is not
taken, important moderator variables will be ignored and
useless variables will be selected.
If researcher does not want to check the effect of
moderator variable, he controls it. Such control makes
the variable controlled variable.
If the effect of such variables that can affect the cause and effect relationship of dependent and
independent variable, is eliminated, it is called controlled variable.
In other words, if the effect of moderator variable is controlled, it is known as controlled variable.
E.g. In earlier mentioned example of study of value awareness, at last we have taken variables as
shown in Table – 2.
If researcher defines a problem as ‘A
study of Value Awareness of male students of
urban, rural and semi urban secondary schools
of Ahmedabad district’, the variable ‘Gender’
will become controlled variable, because in
this case, he does not want to check the impact
of gender on value awareness, as he will take
only boys as sample. For this study,
classification of variables will be as shown in
Table – 3.
In this example, two controlled variables
can also be taken. See the following research
‘A study of Value Awareness of male students, having High Socio-Economic Status, of urban,
rural and semi urban secondary schools of Ahmedabad district’
In this study, value awareness of Boys, who have High Socio-Economic Status only will be studied.
So, both Gender and SES will become controlled variables, and classification of variables will be as shown
in Table – 4.
Table – 1
Variable of Study
3. Semi Urban
Table – 2
Variable of Study
Socio –Economic Status
Table – 3
Variables of Study
3. Semi Urban
Dr. Satishprakash S. Shukla, Professor, Department of Education, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. [Page 4
We have discussed types of such
variables till now, which can be clearly
measured or taken care of during research. But
some variables have been such that they either
cannot be measured clearly or are to be
ignored during the study, though they can
affect the cause and effect relationship of
dependent and independent variables. They
are known as Intervening variables.
Any such variable is called intervening
variable, that may affect the cause and effect relationship of dependent and independent variables but
either cannot be measured clearly or is to be ignored during research. It means, intervening variables are
neither controlled nor taken care of during research. In other words, any moderator variable, that cannot
be measured or observed clearly or ignored is called intervening variable.
In our earlier mentioned example of study of value awareness of students, researcher has classified
variables like Area, SES, Gender and Value awareness as shown in Table 1 to 4. But besides the moderator
and controlled variable, mentioned in tables, the following variable can also affect the cause and effect
relationship of dependent and independent variables of our example.
Culture of family
Value Awareness of Parents
Friend Circle / Peer group of Student
Emotional Maturity of Students
Parenting style of parents
Age of student
These variables are ignored in our example. So, they are called intervening variable for the example
that we have discussed till now. There may be more intervening variables for this particular example.
Researcher has to take decision about such variable by consulting experts and by referring and
reviewing theoretical literature and reports of earlier related researches.
Actually, variable of study are decided, while deciding the objectives and formulating hypotheses
of the study.
We have discussed, in earlier chapters, that the objectives of the research are nothing but the subtitles
of the titles. By realising the objectives, based on sub titles one by one, ultimately the main objective of
the research is realised. The researcher has to think over the research questions or hypotheses after the
objectives of the research. Hypotheses are formulated in most of the quantitative type of researches, but
research questions are decided in qualitative type and some quantitative type of researches. Hypotheses
or research questions direct the research process. In this chapter, we will discuss about the hypothesis and
research question. We start our discussion with the definitions of hypothesis.
DEFINITIONS OF HYPOTHESIS
It (hypothesis) is a suggested answer to the problem under investigation. – John T. Townsend
A hypothesis is a tentative generalization, the validity of which remains to be tested. – J. W. Best
A hypothesis is a proposition which can be put to test to determine its validity. It may be proved
correct or incorrect. – Good & Hatt
A hypothesis is a conjectural statement of the relation between two or more variables.
– F. N. Kerlinger
MEANING OF HYPOTHESIS
On the basis of the definitions, we can say that hypothesis is an assumption that is still not proved
but shows the probable solution of the problem or predicts the relationship between two or more variables.
The assumption is proved true or false by testing it. We will not have the solution to the problem until the
assumption is tested. Three points, regarding such assumptions, are very important.
Table – 4
Variables of Study
3. Semi Urban
Dr. Satishprakash S. Shukla, Professor, Department of Education, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. [Page 5
The assumptions are made on the basis of previous experiences or primary evidences or by thinking
Whether the assumptions are true or false is decided by testing them.
Testing of assumptions lead to the solution of the problem.
The assumption, which is made by keeping in mind the above mentioned points in terms of the
probable solution to the problem is called hypothesis.
By testing the hypothesis, some fact is established or some theory, rule or principle is formed or
generalisation is done in the context of solution of the problem.
Hence, hypothetical statement is not an established fact or principle but by testing it the fact is
derived or the solution is generalised. On the other side, the hypothesis is a result of matured and logical
To understand the meaning of hypothesis more clearly we will take the example form our practical
life. Suppose we are watching some television programme and suddenly the TV gets off. What will be
our reactions to this problem? We start thinking of the reasons of the problem like
perhaps there is an interruption in the flow of electricity or
there may be a problem in particular channel or
there may be a loose connection of the cable with TV or
there may be a problem in the system of cable operator.
We will make such assumptions on the basis of our previous experiences. Now we will check all
the possible reasons of the problem. For that, first, we will check if there is any problem in the flow of
If electric supply is found okay, we will check if other channels are working or not.
If other channels are found okay, we will check whether the cable connection is proper or not.
If everything is found okay, then we will call cable operator to solve the problem.
In this way, we will collect the evidence and analyse it logically. By testing all the evidences, we
come to the conclusion about the solution of the problem. We make many assumptions in our routine life
to find the solution to our daily problems.
In the same way, hypotheses are formulated in research, which are tested to come to the certain
conclusion in terms of the objectives of the research. But there are some specific structures to be followed
to formulate the hypothesis. Some assumption is made in each research hypothesis in terms of the
relationship between two or more variables.
Let’s take an example of research to understand the formulation of research hypothesis.
Suppose we want to study the social adjustment of the government and non-government employees,
then general hypothesis may be as follows:
Social adjustment of non-government employees is better than that of government employees. or
Social adjustment of government employees is better than that of non-government employees. or
Non-government and government employees are the same as far as their social adjustment is
In this example, assumption is made in terms of two variables (i) Type of the Employer -
Organisation and (ii) Social Adjustment of the employees. The researcher has to collect data and test the
hypothesis to come to the conclusion in relation to these two variables.
As discussed earlier, hypothesis is not formulated by imagining baselessly, but it is a result of
matured, rational and logical thinking. Such thinking, findings of previous researches and experience of
the researcher provide the base for formulating a good hypothesis.
CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD HYPOTHESIS
The characteristics of a good hypothesis are as follows:
A good hypothesis never opposes the universal truth and natural law and rules.
It is written in simple and easy language.
Only one assumption is made in one hypothesis.
Dr. Satishprakash S. Shukla, Professor, Department of Education, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. [Page 6
The hypothesis is written in such a language that, after testing, it can be clearly rejected or not
Hypothesis is written in present tense because it is not a prediction or opinion but it is an assumption
that is based on present factual information.
A good hypothesis assures that the tool required for testing it (hypo) is available or can be prepared
Before formulating the hypothesis, it is assured that the data will be available for testing it.
A good hypothesis assures that the entire process related to data collection and analysis and testing
the hypothesis is under the control of the researcher.
It can be tested with the help of evidences and data.
If a testing of hypothesis gives a solution of main problem of research, it will be considered as a
A good hypothesis gives the clear idea about the area of research, variable and statistical technique
to be used for data analysis.
Generally, a hypothesis shows the relationship between two or more variables.
Hypothesis is formulated before collecting and analysing the data.
Hypothesis is formulated by thinking logically.
Hypothesis is formulated on the basis of available primary evidences.
If experimental research is there, a hypothesis is formulated before conducting experiment.
A good hypothesis promotes deductive reasoning.
A researcher should formulate the hypotheses by keeping in mind the characteristics of good
hypothesis. For that he should refer the sources of hypothesis.
SOURCES / BASIS OF HYPOTHESIS
The main sources of hypothesis are as follows:
Research Related Theoretical Literature
One can understand the conditions of good hypothesis by referring the theoretical literature of
research and books. It helps in planning the entire research process scientifically. Therefore, the researcher
should study such literature before formulating hypotheses. But while selecting such literature the
researcher should check its reliability and he should refer more than one book to understand any aspect of
Report of Earlier Researches
The researcher should refer some reports of earlier researches, which are related with his research
problem. Such reports give some idea for formulating good hypotheses. But researcher should not follow
the hypotheses given in such reports blindly, instead he should think logically over the hypotheses in the
context of objectives, research tool, variables and data analysis techniques adopted by earlier researchers.
On the basis of this thinking, he should give base to his own hypotheses.
Sometimes pre-experiences make the researcher select a research problem. His pre-experiences in
the field of research area lead him to think over the problem and research process in the right direction.
This thinking gives him idea about the probable solutions of the problem. Such ideas help him in
formulating good hypotheses and to make his research work unbiased.
Beliefs Prevailing in Selected Field
Sometimes it is found that some strong beliefs prevail in the area, selected for research. People
working in that area blindly follow such beliefs. These beliefs provide base for formulating hypotheses,
when researcher attempts to do research to challenge such beliefs.
Culture of any country influences its social, economic, technical, industrial, political and educational
development. It motivates the person to develop its working system in a certain way. Culture establishes
some morals and traditions in the society and directs the thinking process of the people. When the
researcher attempts to study about the factors, which are influenced by the culture, the culture provides
base for formulating hypotheses.
Dr. Satishprakash S. Shukla, Professor, Department of Education, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. [Page 7
Intellectual Discussion with Subject Experts
If the researcher does not have enough information regarding the field that he has selected for
research or he does not have experience in that field, he should contact the persons and experts associated
with the field and discuss various aspects of that field. Such discussion guides the researcher to formulate
Creative thinking inspires the person to be involved in creative work or to do something new.
Creative thinking makes the person think over the same matter in different ways. Therefore, if a researcher
does not have enough idea about the field, he should apply his creative thinking ability to formulate the
Insight of the Researcher
The continuous thinking, over the research problem and the area of research, can develop the insight
of the researcher. This insight helps him in formulating good hypotheses.
Inventions done in the Field of Science and Technology
Inventions done in the field of science and technology introduce new techniques and technology.
Use of new technology in brings remarkable changes in the working system of any field. Such system
provides new ideas for the formulation of hypotheses. On the other side, computer and information
technology has made the analysis of a large data easier than before. So, the researcher can include large
population and sample in the research. Moreover, digital camera, web camera, social networking system,
e-mail, audio conferencing and video conferencing help in collecting large data. It provides the
opportunity of including more variables in the hypotheses. In this way, the inventions of science and
technology widens the scope of including more hypotheses in one research.
Many rules, principles and theories, related with behaviour science, psychology and education, are
established or developed by conducting experiments on the animals. Such experiments provide base for
formulating hypotheses in educational, psychological and sociological researches. Formulating
hypotheses for the research in one field on the basis of the theories and principles established in other field
is called analogy.
Some sources for formulating hypotheses are given here. It is not a final list of the same. In future,
technological development may introduce more sources.
One can formulate good hypotheses only if he has a knowledge of the types of hypotheses.
TYPES OF HYPOTHESIS
It is very difficult to give such a classification of hypotheses as can be accepted universally because
different scholars have classified the hypotheses in different ways. On the basis of different classifications,
the types of hypotheses can be described as follows.
If a researcher formulates the hypothesis by keeping in mind some expected result, it is called
declarative hypothesis. This is known as alternate or research hypothesis also. Researcher expects some
result on the basis of his experience in the field or on the basis of the review or study of the literature. He
converts such expectation in the hypothesis. It means, he makes some declaration about the result of the
research. That is why such hypothesis is called declarative hypothesis.
Declarative hypotheses are denoted by H1, H2, H3………..Hn
Some Special features of declarative hypotheses are as follows:
Researcher formulates the declarative hypotheses on the basis of pre-experience, study of research
material or on the basis of the findings of previous researches.
Such hypotheses are formulated on the basis of expected findings of the research.
Such hypothesis is accepted when null hypothesis is rejected.
Such hypothesis is influenced by the beliefs of the researcher. Therefore it cannot remain unbiased
There are two types of declarative hypothesis. 1. Directional and 2. Non-directional.
Directional Hypothesis. This hypothesis shows the expected direction of results. It means such
Dr. Satishprakash S. Shukla, Professor, Department of Education, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. [Page 8
hypothesis assumes a particular result in favour of some factor / variable. In other words it can be said
that directional hypothesis expects particular result in favour of a certain variable out of the probable
Directional hypothesis indicates clearly the difference or relationship between variable
characteristics under study in the context of independent variable.
E.g. the following directional hypotheses can be formulated in the context of the title ‘Study of the
teaching aptitude of student-teachers in the context of their gender.’
The teaching aptitude of the male student-teachers is better than that of female student- teachers.
The teaching aptitude of the female student-teachers is better than that of male student-teachers.
In both the hypothesis teaching aptitude of one is expected better than others. In this way, both
hypotheses show certain result of the research in favour of certain variable. Here, teaching aptitude is a
variable characteristic under study and gender is an independent variable.
The following directional hypothesis may be there in the context of the title ‘Study of the
relationship between emotional maturity and adjustment level of female teachers of secondary schools.’
There is a positive correlation between emotional maturity level and adjustment level of the female
teachers of secondary schools. OR
The adjustment level of female teachers of secondary schools having high emotional level is high.
Here, both hypotheses show positive relationship between emotional maturity and adjustment level
of female teachers. It means, both indicate a certain direction of the finding. For the same title, hypotheses
may be written in the following way also.
There is a negative correlation between emotional maturity level and adjustment level of the female
teachers of secondary schools. OR
The adjustment level of female teachers of secondary schools having low emotional maturity level
Above mentioned hypotheses clarify that directional hypotheses expect certain type of relationship
between two or more variables.
If the researcher cannot remain unbiased with the process of research, such hypotheses may lead
him to formulate the hypotheses on the basis of his own beliefs instead of taking the pre experiences and
available primary evidences into consideration. His such act may bring subjectivity in formulation of
hypotheses, which will make the researcher collect only such data that can support his beliefs.
Non-directional Hypothesis. The hypothesis, which does not indicate the direction of the result or
in which the result is not expected in favour of certain variable is called non-directional hypothesis. More
clearly, it can be said that it assumes the difference but does not favour any variable in terms of dependent
variable. In inter-relational studies, it assumes the relationship between variables but does not clarify the
type of relationship like positive or negative.
Suppose a research is to be carried out to study the teaching competency of higher secondary
teachers in the context of their gender, non-directional hypothesis will be as follows:
There is difference between teaching competency of male and female teachers of higher secondary
This hypothesis assumes difference between the teaching competency of male and female teachers
but it does not favour any of them (male or female). It means, it does not expect the result in any one
direction. According to this hypothesis the finding of the research may be in favour of male or female.
We take another example of this type of hypothesis in terms of relationship between two variables.
Suppose a research is to be carried out to study the relationship between emotional maturity and
mental health of secondary school teachers, then non-directional hypothesis will be as follows:
There is a correlation between emotional maturity and mental health of secondary school teachers.
This hypothesis expects relationship between two variables but does not assume the type of
relationship like positive or negative.
Hypothesis in Question Form
In this type of hypothesis, instead of expecting a certain result, a questions is formed asking whether
Dr. Satishprakash S. Shukla, Professor, Department of Education, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. [Page 9
certain type of result will be there or not.
E.g. in the context of the research title ‘study of exam anxiety of higher secondary schools’ students
in the context of their stream’ the question type hypothesis will be as follows:
Is there difference between exam anxiety of arts, commerce and science students of higher
secondary schools? OR
Is the exam anxiety of arts students of higher secondary schools more than that of science students?
Is the exam anxiety of commerce students of higher secondary schools more than that of science
Is the exam anxiety of commerce students of higher secondary schools more than that of arts
Let’s take another example to understand such type of hypothesis in terms of the relationship.
If the study is to be carried out to know the relationship between intelligence and mental stress of
government employees, the question type research hypothesis will be as follows:
Do the government employees having high intelligence level have less mental stress? OR
Do the government employees having low intelligence level have more mental stress? OR
Is there positive correlation between intelligence and mental stress of government employees? OR
Is there negative correlation between intelligence and mental stress of government employees? OR
Is there correlation between intelligence and mental stress of government employees?
Referring to the above mentioned hypotheses, it is quite clear that the question type hypothesis may
be declarative or non-declarative.
If, in the context of dependent variable, the hypothesis indicates ‘no difference’ between two or
more levels of independent variable, it is called null hypothesis. Null hypothesis indicates no relationship
between two variables, if correlational study is there. Null hypothesis is indicated by the symbol HO. Such
hypothesis is also called ‘no difference’ type of hypothesis or ‘no relation’ type of hypothesis.
Let’s take examples to understand this type of hypothesis.
For the study of the impact of instructional method on the achievement of the students of grade nine
in English, the null hypotheses will be as follows:
There is no significant effect of instructional method on the achievement of the students of grade
nine in English. OR
There is no significant difference between achievement of the students in English, who have learnt
through Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) and Programmed Learning Material (PLM). OR
There is no significant effect of instructional method on the mean achievement scores of the students
of grade nine in English. OR
There is no significant difference between mean achievement scores of the students of grade nine
in English, who have learnt through CAI and PLM.
(Note : - In the example discussed above, certain instructional method is not mentioned in the title of the
study, but two methods are mentioned in hypotheses. If the methods are mentioned in the title of the
study, they can be mentioned in this way in the hypothesis. Researcher may indicate the instructional
methods in title of the study also, but while doing so, the title will be lengthened.)
Let’s take an example to understand null hypotheses in the context of relationship between two
If a researcher wants to carry a research on ‘Study between the mental health and reasoning ability
of the students of secondary school’, the null hypotheses will be as follows:
There is no significant relationship between mental health and reasoning ability of the students of
secondary schools. OR
There is no significant correlation between the scores of the students of secondary schools in mental
health scale and reasoning ability test.
We have discussed different ways of writing null hypotheses. Null hypotheses can be classified in
two different ways on the basis of description of measurement in it (in hypotheses).
Dr. Satishprakash S. Shukla, Professor, Department of Education, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. [Page
TYPES OF HYPOTHESIS ON THE BASIS OF DESCRIPTION OF MEASUREMENT
Two types of hypotheses on the basis of description of the measurement are as follows:
If the measurement is not mentioned in null hypothesis, it is called classical null hypothesis.
There is no significant difference between the achievement of the students of grade nine in English,
who have learnt through Programmed Instructional Material (PIM) and Computer Assisted
There is no significant relationship between mental health and reasoning ability of the students of
secondary schools of Gonda city.
Any kind of indication about the measurement is not there in both hypotheses.
When the measurement of the variable characteristics is indicated in null hypothesis, it is called
There is no significant difference between mean scores of the students of grade nine in achievement
test in English who have learnt through Programmed Instructional Material (PIM) and Computer
Assisted Instruction (CAI).
There is no significant correlation between the scores of the students of secondary schools of Gonda
city in reasoning ability test and mental health scale.
In the first hypothesis, scores of the students in achievement test is mentioned and for testing this
hypothesis, means of achievement scores of both groups have to be calculated. Mean is a measurement in
In the second hypothesis, correlation between the scores of the students in mental health scale and
reasoning ability test is mentioned. Therefore, coefficient of correlation has to be calculated to test the
hypothesis. In this way, the term ‘correlation’ indicates the measurement in this hypothesis.
Operational null hypothesis can be made more accurate by indicating the name of the specific tool
of the research in it.
There is no significant difference between mean scores of the teachers of government and self-
financed secondary schools of Rohtak city in teaching aptitude test developed by Satishprakash
There is no significant correlation between the scores of the students of secondary schools of
Gorakhpur city in reasoning ability test developed by Dushyant Shukla and mental health scale
developed by Rita Shukla.
SPECIAL FEATURES OF NULL HYPOTHESIS
Researchers prefer to formulate null hypotheses due to their some special features. These features
are as follows:
It is formulated objectively and not affected by the subjectivity of the researcher.
It believes in ‘no difference’ or ‘no relationship’. So the researcher does not tend to be biased for
certain type of the result and works freely.
It helps in making the entire research process objective (unbiased).
It challenges the research (Alternative) hypothesis but does not recognise it.
It is tested at certain level of significance.
If the findings of the research oppose null hypothesis, it is rejected and research hypothesis is not
If the findings of the research do not oppose null hypothesis, it is not rejected and research
hypothesis is rejected.
It can be tested clearly by applying appropriate statistical techniques.
Variables are mentioned clearly in null hypothesis.
It indicates clearly the statistical technique to be used for testing it in most of the cases.
Dr. Satishprakash S. Shukla, Professor, Department of Education, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. [Page
Which research tool is to be used is also clarified in most of the null hypothesis.
After understanding the meaning and types of hypothesis, let’s understand its importance.
UTILITY / IMPORTANCE OF HYPOTHESIS
It assumes the result of the research. Researcher collects data to test this assumption.
It specifies the type of data to be collected and prevents the researcher from collecting unnecessary
It helps the researcher to work in certain direction.
It helps in deriving clear findings of the research.
It gives the idea about the area and variables of the study and statistical technique to be applied for
It gives the idea about the structure of writing the findings in research report.
It inspires the researcher to do deductive reasoning. (In common term we can say that the thinking
that is done to search the evidences to prove the established theory, principle or rule is called
In many hypotheses that we have discussed till now, the phrase ‘significant difference’ is used. Here
a question arises, is there any difference between ‘difference’ and ‘significant difference’. Let’s us
understand it. STEPS OF RESEARCH PROCESS
Research is a well-planned and objective oriented process that is carried by following the logical
steps. Different scholars have suggested different numbers of steps of research process according to their
own perception, experience and the nature of the research. Another reason of the difference in number of
steps is some scholars have divided some steps in sub steps and some have merged different steps in one
step. By referring the steps given by different scholars, general steps of research process can be given as
Identifying the Area of Research
This is the first and the most important step of any kind of research process. Till now, it is quite
clear that research is a process in which researcher attempts to find the solution of certain problem. For
that, he must have good knowledge of the field in which the research is to be carried out. If we think
minutely, we can find some problems in all the areas concerned with living being and nature. Every person
may not have the same level of knowledge about all the aspets of the field, he has been engaged with. So,
before starting the thinking over conducting a research, a researcher must select such an area in which he
finds himself comfortable.
Suppose a researcher, who wants to conduct a research in the field of education, will find various
problems in different areas, related with education, like teaching learning process, educational technology,
syllabi of different classes, structure of education system, primary – secondary – higher secondary – higher
education, schools, educational psychology, admission system, evaluation or examination system,
teachers, teacher training, parents, students, educational policies, agencies working in the field of
So, the researcher must select such a problem for research for which he can work efficiently.
This step of research process is very much important for the students also, who are conducting
research for obtaining a degree. Because, most of them, do not have any previous knowledge about the
research and they have to complete their research within a certain time period. So, before proceeding for
research, they must introspect themselves in terms of their interest, abilities and skills. They should select
such an area of research as they are comfortable with.
Review of Related Literature
After selecting the area of research, the most important thing is to understand the functioning of the
area or the factors associated with that area. For that, the researcher has to study the theoretical literature
related with that area. Such a study gives him in depth idea about the rules and regulations prevailing in
that area, factors affecting the functioning of the area, persons working in that area, future requisites,
strength and weaknesses, supporting system of that area and trends prevailing in the area. In short, by
referring theoretical literature, researcher tries to understand entire system of the area of research.
Dr. Satishprakash S. Shukla, Professor, Department of Education, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. [Page
Besides theoretical literature, at this stage, previous researches cunducted in selected area are also
studied. It helps researcher to know the trend of the researches in the area, problems covered for
researches, research tools available, types of research carried out, variables, factors, population covered
by previous researches and findings of various researches.
Selection of Problem
The third step of research process is to select a research problem. At this moment, the researcher
selects a problem by keeping in mind the possibility of research in the selected area, priorities in the that
area, available resources for research, time limit, expense, his own abilities and availability of other
supporting services. Then he selects and defines the problem and state the problem in proper statement.
He also defines the terms used in the statement of the problem.
Study of Reference Material
At this stage of research, the literature, which clarifies different concepts related to research and
explains different aspects of research, are studied deeply and reviewed. On the basis of which, researcher
tends to find the answers of the following questions.
Which code of conduct is to be followed during research?
What will be the type of research?
What will be the objectives of research?
Will there be hypotheses or research questions?
What care will be taken for formulation of hypotheses or constructing research questions?
Will there be variables or not? If yes? Which and why?
Which research tool will be required for research?
Whether tool will be developed or readymade tool will be taken?
If it is to be developed, which process is to be carried out?
How to get a tool, if it is decided to use readymade tool?
Which points should be kept in mind, while using a readymade tool?
Which research method will be followed?
What will be the population of research?
Whether the sample is to be selected or not?
If yes, which sampling method will be applied?
Are the subjects to be given any treatment?
If it is to be given, then for how much time and how?
What will be the procedure for collecting data?
Will the assistants be required for collecting data?
If yes, how to manage them?
How the data will be classified?
How the data will be analysed?
Which statistical method, if required, will be used for analysis of data?
How much time the entire process of research will take?
Which additional material of devices will be required? How they will be managed?
How much expense is expected for entire process?
Research based reference material and previous research reports are studied and reviewed for
answering the above mentioned questions. The way of performing various research activities adopted by
previous researchers and their efforts for justifying such activities and the actions taken by them to solve
the problems, can be understood by reviewing previous research reports. By reviewing such literature,
researcher plans and performs research activities. However, the study of research related literature
continues from selection of the problem till the research report is written, printed and submitted to the
Clarifying the Objectives of Research
Research is an objective oriented process. Therefore its objectives must be clear and precise.
Objectives clarify the path of research process. Objectives are nothing but subtitles of research title. They
divide the main research question, indicated in research problem, in sub-questions. Therefore, the more
precise the research problem is, the more precise the objectives will be. At this stage of the process,
research objectives are finalised. It needs so much care and precision, because hypotheses, if any are there,
are formulated on the basis of objectives.
Formulation of Research Questions or Hypotheses
If variables are indicated in the objectives of research, hypotheses are formulated in most of the
cases at this stage. Findings of the research are directly associated with hypotheses. It means, findings are
derived by keeping in mind the hypotheses.
If interrelationship among the variables is not to check by the research, research questions, are
formed instead of hypotheses. Moreover in most of the qualitative researches, research questions are
formed at this stage.
Some scholars are of the view that if objectives are mentioned precisely and hypotheses are not to
be formulated, remaining process of research should be carried out on the basis of objectives. In such
cases research questions should not be formed. But, still, there is a tradition, of forming research questions
in some institutions, if hypotheses are not to be formulated. Researcher should follow the guide lines, if
any, given by the funding agency or the institute to which the research report is to be submitted, or else,
follow the tradition prevailing in his field.
Remember, if hypotheses are formulated, each of them must be based on any of the objectives. Only
one assumption should be there in one hypothesis and it must be formulated in such a language that after
testing, it can be clearly rejected or not rejected.
Clarification of Variables
Hypotheses or research questions give indication about the variables of study. So at this stage,
researcher analyses the hypotheses and research questions with a view to finalising the variables of study.
Moreover, at this stage, different types of variables, involved in the study are defined and clarified with
the reasons of categorising them in different types.
If variables are not involved in research, this stage of process is ignored. Variables are not given
importance in most of such researches, which are conducted by applying research methods like Case Study
and Content Analysis. Moreover, variables are not considered in most of the qualitative researches. But
we can’t say that variables should not be there in such researches. It all depends upon the objectives of
study. So at this stage also the researcher must be very careful, especially when he tends to avoided the
inclusion of variables in research.
Researcher should think over all the five types of the variables at this stage and should clarifies all
of them in terms of his research. Five types of variables are (a) Independent, (b) Dependent, (c) Moderator,
(d) Intervening and (e) Controlled variables.
Clarification of Research Method
Actually the type of research is decided at the time of finalising the research problem, but at this
stage, the type of research is clarified with logical argument. As discussed earlier, there are three types of
research and they are Basic Research, Applied Research and Action Research.
Besides the clarification of type of research, researcher selects an appropriate research method in
order to realise all the objectives in proper way. The main research methods are Descriptive, Experimental
Selection or Development of Research Tool
This is also an important stage of research process, because remaining stages depend on research
tool. Actually, research tool is decided with the formation of research questions and / or formulation of
hypotheses. Any technique, device or any written or printed material, through which the data are collected
is known as research tool. Some of the research tools are Observation Sheet, Achievement Test,
Diagnostic Test, Questionnaire, Schedule, Inventory, Interview, Rating Scale, Check List, Sociometry,
Sociogram, Opinionnaire, Attitude Scale, Aptitude Test and Self – Evaluation Sheet. Researcher selects
a tool according to his requirement. In most of the cases, researcher himself develops a tool for his
research. But, if any such tool is available in the area of research that can fulfil all requirements of expected
tool, researcher should use it. In this way he can save his time, energy and money.
Determining Population and Sample Selection
Such a set of the units on whom the findings of research are to be generalised is called population.
All the units of population possess the variable characteristics under study. At this stage, researcher
defines his population clearly and decides whether the sample is to be selected or not. If yes, he decides
the size of sample and sampling method to be applied for selecting a sample. Then he selects a sample. If
he decides to collect data from all the units of population, he does not need to think about the sample.
After selecting a sample, researcher collects data by using the research tool. He makes a plan for
data collection, in which he clarifies how, when, at which time, from whom and by whom the data will be
collected. If he is doing experimental research, he gives the necessary treatment to the subjects of research
before collecting data. Sometimes data are collected both before and after the treatment. If required, he
collects data at both time. Sometimes experiment is conducted two or more times in experimental
researches and data are collected after each experiment.
If large sample is selected, then researcher takes help of research assistants for collecting data.
Data Analysis and Interpretation
After collection of data, they are classified and tubulised in order to analyse them. Pre-determined
technique of data analysis is applied and its results are interpreted at this stage. Here, hypotheses are tested
or efforts are made to find the answers of research questions. If necessary, data and results are presented
in pictorial, graphical form or in figure.
Writing and Dissemination of Report
At the end of research process, findings of research are derived on the basis of the interpretation of
the results obtained by analysis of data and interpretation. Findings of research also are discussed in the
context of findings of previous researches.
Then research report is prepared, in which the entire research process is discussed clearly but briefly
in the way that it can be understood easily by the readers. Special care is taken to write the findings in the
simplest language as possible so that any lay man, who has nothing to do with research the research
process can also understands it in right contexts.
At last the report is made public through the institute to which it is submitted. If the information
regarding the research is to be kept secret, report is not made public.
Generally, the steps of research, discussed above are followed in researches related to education,
psychology, sociology and humanities. However, researcher is free to make any change in the sequence
of the steps, if required, or he can add more steps in the process.
Cohen, L., Maniaon, L. & Morrison, K. (2007). Research Methods in Education. New York: Routledge.
Fox, Long & Long, J. (1990). Modern Methods of Data Analysis. New Delhi : Sage Publications.
Garraghan, G. J. (1946). A Guide to Historical Method. New York: Fordham University Press.
Gay, L., Mills, G., & Ariasian, P. (2006). Educational Research : Competencies for Analysis and
Applications. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.
Lodico, M.Spaulding, D. &Voegtle K. (2006). Methods in Educational Research : From Theory to
Practice. San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass.
Salkind, Neil J. (2010). Encyclopedia of Research Design. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Shukla, Satishprakash, (2012) Information & Communication Technology in Teacher Education
Agra : Agrawal Publications.
Shukla, Satishprakash, (2012) Excel & Data Analysis (Guj). Ahmedabad : Kshiti Prakashan.
Shukla, Satishprakash, (2014) s&=o0n - Aek pircy. Ahmedabad : Kshiti Prakashan.
Shukla, Satishprakash, (2015) s&=o0n – p³iä pa9ey. Ahmedabad : Kshiti Prakashan.
Shukla, Satishprakash, (2018) Research Methodology. Ahmedabad : S. G. Shastri Publications.