what is the difference between a Research question and a research Hypothesis?


In the social sciences, the answer is no. Descriptive questions that seek such information such as the mean, median, etc. do not have hypotheses because there is normally no a priori guess as to the value of such a parameter. For example, if you want to determine what the average salary of a professor is, there is no need to develop a hypotheses but simply to calculate the answer.

For comparison question and relationship question you can develop hypotheses. For example, if we compare the average salary of men and women professors we can develop a hypothesis that there is no difference (null hypothesis) or that there is a difference in the salaries (alternative). In this example, we have a categorical independent variable (gender) and a continuous dependent variable (salary)

For relationships questions, we may look at salary by years of experience. Again, we can say no relationship, which is a null hypothesis and or there is a relationship which is the alternative hypothesis. In this example, both variables are continuous.

The simplest difference between research questions and hypotheses is that research questions end with a question mark or they are interrogative. Hypotheses, on the other hand, end with a period and are indicative statements.


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MK Owota
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MK Owota

Updated on December 15, 2022


  • MK Owota
    MK Owota 11 months

    Is it a must in a research paper when you have four research questions, their must be four research hypotheses?

    • Massimo Ortolano
      Massimo Ortolano over 6 years
      I should stop writing papers then, because I have no clue on what are research questions and hypotheses.