Research Question vs Hypothesis
Research in social sciences covers a lot of subjects and makes use of many tools. It all begins with the formulation of a research question or a hypothesis that is sought to be tested and verified under different circumstances. There are many similarities between a research question and a hypothesis that prompt some researchers to speak of them in the same breath. However, there are also differences that need highlighting to help people involved with social research, to use either of the two tools.
Any research has to begin with a question or an idea that has to be tested through formal research as it has not been tested or generalized before. Interest of the readers in any research can be aroused by posing a question in the beginning that has not been answered yet. The entire research that follows this question tries to find an answer to this question called research question. It is easy to see how important a question is to a research, as without formulating a question that is well defined, it is impossible to conduct research.
A research question not just states the objectives of a study; it also tells the audience the type of methodology that the researcher adopts in finding an answer to it.
If a researcher suggests a relationship between two or more variables in the form of a statement in a tentative manner, it is referred to as a hypothesis. So if, a researcher presents a statement suggesting a relationship between employee productivity and flexible hours of work, he is confident and making a specific statement and, in fact, predicting that there is a relationship between two different variables. If you are using quantitative research and making a prediction between variables, you have to use a hypothesis instead of a research question.
What is the difference between Research Question and Hypothesis?
• Though research question and hypothesis serve the same purpose, their differences necessitate using either in a particular research type. In general, quantitative research favors the hypothesis while research question is preferred in qualitative research
• Hypothesis is predictive in nature and predicts relationship between variables
• Hypothesis is more specific than research question
• Research question poses a question while hypothesis predicts the outcome of the research