Topic Statement And Hypothesis Statement
Step 5: Hypothesis Statement
(will be worked on in class prior to due date)
Your hypothesis statement will be turned in during science class, reviewed by the teacher and returned. Below is a short explanation of a hypothesis statement and some examples of hypothesis statements.
Hypothesis statement--a prediction that can be tested or an educated guess.
In a hypothesis statement, students make a prediction about what they think will happen or is happening in their experiment. They try to answer their question or problem.
Question: Why do leaves change colors in the fall?
Hypothesis: I think that leaves change colors in the fall because they are not being exposed to as much sunlight.
Hypothesis: Bacterial growth may be affected by temperature.
Hypothesis: Chocolate may cause pimples
All of these are examples of hypotheses because they use the tentative word "may." However, their form in not particularly useful. Using the word does not suggest how you would go about proving it. If these statements had not been written carefully, they may not have been a hypotheses at all.
A better way to write a hypotheses is to use a formalized hypotheses
Example: If skin cancer is related to ultraviolet light, then people with a high exposure to uv light will have a higher frequency of skin cancer.
Example: If leaf color change is related to temperature, then exposing plants to low temperatures will result in changes in leaf color.
Example: If the rate of photosynthesis is related to wave lengths of light, then exposing a plant to different colors of light will produce different amounts of oxygen.
Example: If the volume of a gas is related to temperature, then increasing the temperature will increase the volume.
These examples contain the words, if and then. Formalized hypotheses contain two variables. One is "independent" and the other is "dependent." The independent variable is the one you, the scientist control and the dependent variable is the one that you observe and/or measure the results.
The ultimate value of a formalized hypotheses is it forces us to think about what results we should look for in an experiment.
Example: If the diffusion rate (dependent variable) through a membrane is related to molecular size (independent variable), then the smaller the molecule the faster it will pass through the membrane.
Let’s say you are interested in the conflict in Darfur, and you conclude that the issues you wish to address include the nature, causes, and effects of the conflict, and the international response. While you could address the issue of international response first, it makes the most sense to start with a description of the conflict, followed by an exploration of the causes, effects, and then to discuss the international response and what more could/should be done.
This hypothetical example may lead to the following title, introduction, and statement of questions:
Conflict in Darfur: Causes, Consequences, and International Response
This paper examines the conflict in Darfur, Sudan. It is organized around the following questions: (1) What is the nature of the conflict in Darfur? (2) What are the causes and effects of the conflict? (3) What has the international community done to address it, and what more could/should it do?
Following the section that presents your questions and background, you will offer a set of responses/answers/(hypo)theses. They should follow the order of the questions. This might look something like this, “The paper argues/contends/ maintains/seeks to develop the position that...etc.” The most important thing you can do in this section is to present as clearly as possible your best thinking on the subject matter guided by course material and research. As you proceed through the research process, your thinking about the issues/questions will become more nuanced, complex, and refined. The statement of your theses will reflect this as you move forward in the research process.
So, looking to our hypothetical example on Darfur:
The current conflict in Darfur goes back more than a decade and consists of fighting between government-supported troops and residents of Darfur. The causes of the conflict include x, y, and z. The effects of the conflict have been a, b, and c. The international community has done 0, and it should do 1, 2, and 3.
Once you have setup your thesis you will be ready to begin amassing supporting evidence for you claims. This is a very important part of the research paper, as you will provide the substance to defend your thesis.