Formulate hypotheses and research questions

What is a research question

This article is about how to formulate the question in a bachelor thesis, for example. In any scientific work, a hypothesis must be put forward, which is then to be investigated in the following. This hypothesis is formulated as a question and called research question. Research questions have to be in the beginning of every scientific work and finally answered in the final part. The main part of the work is to use solid working methods to pursue his investigations, which aims at answering the research questions.

How can I formulate the question for a bachelor thesis?
In order to be able to formulate research questions, a topic must have been chosen and the current state of research to be worked out. This, too, can be found in the introduction. It has to be shown that either the current state of research has gaps or reaches its limits at a certain point because no further research has been done so far. At one of these two sites you start and hypothesize.

It can look like this:

  • For example, they believe that in the coming years, the growth of people in African countries will stagnate due to social and economic changes.
  • The research question would then read as follows:

Will the growth in African countries stagnate in the coming years due to social and economic changes?
There can be several research questions in a scientific paper, but one is the main question and all the others are more subordinate questions, but they have to do with the main question.

The topic, or the related research question may not be too general, but it must go to a very specific problem. However, research questions not only play a role in scientific work but, of course, sometimes have to be formulated in advance in term papers.

What is important is that you know that in a scientific work not just a sheet of paper is to be filled, but rather the research circle is needed to expand a certain object, ie to contribute to a particular research. That’s why you should pick a topic that really interests you. Your research question should still be relevant. Once you have formulated your research question, the further path is basically already prepared, because now it is necessary to answer it.

What is a hypothesis


A hypothesis is an assumption that has not yet been confirmed. Their advance goes to a specific cognitive interest and is initially formulated as a thesis. A thesis is a simple assertion, a hypothesis, on the other hand, establishes a connection between at least two facts. It’s about cause and effect and the connection between them. Formulated this then represents the hypothesis.

How do I formulate a hypothesis


While the statement, “In the future, population growth in African countries is stagnating,” is simply an assertion, it can be transformed into a hypothesis by adding a link between two issues. It would have to read, “In the future, due to social and economic changes, population growth in African countries will stagnate”. The facts in this example are the social and economic conditions, as well as the population growth. Of course, such a hypothesis is very general and should be much more concrete in a scientific paper.

  • Hypotheses must be formulated comprehensively
  • They must be universal
  • Be logical and coherent
  • Be verifiable
  • Be falsifiable
  • As short and concise as possible
  • As already described, hypotheses are formulated as research questions in the context of your work. Hypotheses are a subset of theses and theses in turn, are a subset of assumptions. Assumptions make it possible to make statements that are taken for granted, since not everything can be the subject of your research. But it should be well justified why something can be accepted. It is natural, of course, if assumptions could be deduced from the already developed state of research. For example, consider the question for a bachelor thesis on the pages of Wikipedia. There are very good examples, patterns and many tips on the subject. You can always ask students from higher semesters on such topics, because they have more experience and know how to do it right.