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## Educational Research

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### EducationalResearch

Chapter 5

Hypothesis

The hypothesis states the expected answer to the research question – knowing that the investigation results will lead to its being supported or not supported – or retention or rejection

Example:

Research Question: What is the effect of preschool training on the achievement of culturally disadvantaged children in the first grade

Hypothesis: Culturally disadvantaged children who have had preschool training achieve at a higher level in first grade than culturally disadvantaged children who have not had preschool training.

Hypothesis cont

Not all studies have hypotheses:

- for example if you have little insight into the problem as in survey or descriptive research – for example – if you want to know the opinions or attitudes of groups
- qualitative research rarely has a hypothesis in the beginning – usually is generated as data accumulates

Hypothesis cont

Purpose of hypothesis:

- Brings together information to enable you to make a tentative statement about how the variables in the study are related
- They stimulate research endeavors that result in the accumulation of knowledge
- Provides a relational statement that is directly testable
- Provides direction to the research
- Provides a framework for reporting the findings and conclusions of the study

Hypothesis cont

Deriving a hypothesis:

Hypotheses derived inductively from observations of behavior

or

deductively from theory or from findings of previous research

Deriving a Hypothesis cont

(1) Inductive hypothesis – the researcher observes behavior, notices trends or probable relationships and then hypothesizes an explanation for this observed behavior.

Example: Children score higher on final measures of first-grade reading achievement when they are taught in small groups rather than large groups

(2) Deductive hypothesis – some hypotheses are derived by deduction from theory

Deriving a hypothesis cont

(3) Theory – set of interrelated constructs and propositions that specify relations among variables to explain and predict phenomena.

From the theory you should be able to predict certain events that will or will not be observed. These deduced consequences become the hypotheses that are subjected to empirical investigation.

Can disprove a theory but cannot ever prove the theory true because theories are generalizations that apply to all possible instances of the phenomena and it is not possible to do this.

But the more support you have – the more confident the theory is valid

Choosing a Theory

- Good theories are:
- Testable
- Falsifiable – can gather evidence to contradict the theory
- Deals with significant phenomenon or behavior that need explanation (e.g., learning, motivation)
- Provides the simplest, clearest, most plausible explanation for the phenomena
- Internal consistency – propositions do not contradict one another (e.g., absence makes heart grow fonder and out of sight, out of mind

Deriving a hypothesis cont

- (4) From Theory to Hypothesis
- select a theory in your general area and be sure it is testable
- next use deductive reasoning to arrive at the logical consequences of the theory – these become the hypotheses in the study (p. 102 in text)
- example: Piaget’s classic theory on the development of logical thinking in children – suggested stages in mental development – for example, concrete operations – where kids move from dependence on perception to use more logic – using this as a starting point –
- hypothesize that the proportion of 9-year-olds that will be able to correctly respond to the liquid conservation task will be greater than the proportion of 5-year- olds

Characteristics of a Usable Hypothesis

- Must state the expected relationship between variables – example- There is a positive relationship between self-esteem and reading achievement in first grade

- Hypothesis must be testable – must relate variables that can be measured – for the above hypothesis to be testable you must define the variables operationally – example – define self-esteem as scores on the Coopersmith Self-esteem Scaleand reading achievement as scores on the California Achievement Test
- Remember to avoid value statements such as – counseling is desirable in the elementary school.

Characteristics of a usable hypothesis cont

- Hypothesis – should be consistent with the existing body of knowledge – do not hypothesize the absence of a relationship between age and conservation because research supports a relationship
- Hypothesis should be stated as simply and concisely as possible – one relationship per one hypothesis – relation between new teaching method and achievement and self-esteem should be stated as two hypotheses, that is (1) new teaching method and achievement and (2) new teaching method and self-esteem

Types of Hypotheses

- Research hypotheses – the previous hypotheses are research hypotheses – statements about relationships between variables
- Research hypotheses –

(a) directional – there is a positive relation between self-esteem and reading achievement or

(b) nondirectional – there is a relationship between self-esteem and reading achievement

Types of Hypotheses cont

- Null hypotheses – there is no relation between the variables in the population – after treatment there is no difference between the mean scores of the experimental and control group

______________________________________

- Research hypothesis example: Students taught with individual instruction will exhibit greater mastery of math skills than students taught with group instruction.
- Alternate Hypothesis example:Students taught with individual instruction will exhibit less mastery of math skills than students taught with group instruction

Testing the Hypothesis

- State in operational terms the relationship that should be observed – teachers’ positive comments onpapers (e.g., excellent) will result in higher reading achievement scores on the CAT
- State the null hypothesis – The population mean achievement scores of students receiving positive comments will be the same as the population mean achievement scores for students receiving no comments
- Conduct the experiment to test the hypotheses – one group gets positive comments and the other group does not

Testing the Hypothesis cont

- Gather and analyze the data – give a reading achievement test to both groups
- Is evidence sufficient to reject the null hypothesis – use inferential statistics to determine if the population means are sufficiently different to reject the null hypothesis or is the difference likely to be a function of chance – if not likely to be because of chance – conclude it results from different treatments

Research Plan

- Problem – quantitative – clear statement of research problem (relationship between 2 variables) and qualitative is stated in terms of the purpose of the study.
- Hypothesis – quantitative – follows the problem and need to use operational definitions of the variables and in qualitative – do not state until data collection, if at all
- Methodology – quantitative - population, method of acquisition, instruments and in qualitative – describe setting, population, data sources
- Data analysis

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