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Anna Nagy

Chapter 2 Hypothesis and Predictions Most research studies are attempts to test a hypothesis formulated by the researcher. A hypothesis is really a type of idea or question; it makes a statement about something that may be true. A hypothesis therefore is only a tentative idea or question that is waiting for evidence to support or refute it. Sometimes, hypotheses are very general and informal questions. Hypotheses are often stated in more formal and specific terms. Usually such formal hypotheses state that two or more variables are related to one another. Thus, researchers might formulate hypotheses such as crowding results in reduced performance on cognitive tasks. Such hypotheses are formulated on the basis of past research findings and theoretical considerations. The researcher will then design a study to test the hypothesis. At this point, the researcher would make a specific prediction concerning the outcome of this experiment. If the prediction if confirmed by the results of the study, the hypothesis is supported. If the prediction is not confirmed, the researcher will either reject the hypothesis or conduct further research using different methods to study the hypothesis. It is important to note that when the results of a study confirm a prediction, the hypothesis is only supported, not proven. Researchers study the same hypothesis using a variety of methods, and each time this hypothesis is supported by a research study, we become more confident that the hypothesis is correct. Who We Study: A Note on Terminology We have been using the term participants to refer to individuals who participate in research projects are called subjects. Others terms are called respondents and informants. The individuals who take part in surveys research are usually called respondents. Informants are the people who help researchers understand the dynamics of particular cultural and organizational settings. Sources of Ideas Many people are capable of coming up with worthwhile ideas but find it difficult to verbalize the processby which they are generated. Five sources of ideas are: common sense, observation of the world around us, theories, past research, and practical problems. Common Sense One source of ideas that can be tested is the body of knowledge called common sensethe things we all believe to be true. Testing a commonsense idea can be valuable because such notions dont always turn out to be correct, or research may show that the real world is much more complicated than our commonsense ideas would have it.
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