|Introduction > How Do I...? > Developing Hypotheses
Most research begins by developing a hypotheses – an educated ‘guess’ at what you think the results of your research will yield. Hypotheses will give your research a focus and are often stated near the beginning of a research report, dissertation or scientific paper.
Developing your hypothesis
Choose your research topic. This is the general subject area you’re planning to research eg conservation.
Develop your research topic. This is the specific aspect of your research topic you’re going to investigate eg do field margins affect invertebrate biodiversity?
Know the literature. A thorough literature review will indicate what research has been conducted in the area of your research topic and will give you an idea of areas for further study.
Null and Alternate Hypotheses
Null hypothesis. This states that there is expected to be no difference between your treatments, eg field margins do not affect invertebrate biodiversity.
Alternate hypothesis. This states that there is expected to be a difference between your treatments, eg field margins do affect invertebrate biodiversity.
Which one should I use? You should always state the null hypothesis, and your research should aim to prove the null hypothesis is true.
Accept or decline the null hypothesis. Statistical analyses should indicate whether you should accept (P>0.05) or decline (P<0.05) the null hypothesis.
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