Research Questions & Hypotheses



Philosophy of Science

An empirical approach to knowledge sits within a positivistic view of the world, which assumes:

An empirical research approaches should be distinguished from:

Some quotes about the positivistic, empirical approach to knowledge-development:

Research Process

This is an iterative (cyclical) model of the research process:

Research Questions



Your lab report should probably be based around one or two central research questions (RQs).  To start off with, caste a wide net and generate at least half a dozen possible RQs.  You may want to write down all the variables in the study.

You may be able to generate useful questions simply by looking at the variables, the questionnaire and possibly the data itself (but watch out for data snooping!), but it is recommended that you start off by familiarising yourself with the topics pursued in the readings on the motivation and satisfaction of university students.  It would also be helpful to become familiar with the factor structure of the instrument.  Your brainstormed RQs could then emerge from:

Also try to develop some possible hypotheses for each of your RQs - this could be revealing - you might find that its difficult to establish hypotheses for some of your RQs.


Whittle the questions down, e.g., consider:

RQ Approval

It is recommended that you show your RQ to your tutor before finally deciding.  Your tutor might ask questions like:

Interesting RQs

Interesting questions tend to:

Example RQs

Example Hypotheses

See also