How to Determine the Hypothesis in a Qualitative Study

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Qualitative studies use data collected from participant observations, the observations of researchers, interviews, texts and similar sources of information. Unlike a quantitative study, which uses specific measurements to determine hypothesis and conclusions, a qualitative study does not measure data according to a specified measurement, which can make forming a hypothesis slightly more complicated.

1 Determine the subject for study

Determine the subject for study. The subject will determine the appropriate study setup. For example, a study on how different cultures view parental responsibilities would form questions around the roles of parent’s in a child’s life.

2 Write down interview questions

Write down interview questions. According to New York University Press, the main method of forming a hypothesis in qualitative research involves interviews with the subjects of the study. This means forming questions appropriate to the study. For example, a study on parent responsibilities might ask participants what a mother is responsible for when raising a child.

3 Interview several participants

Interview several participants. Gaining the most accurate data requires interviewing more than one individual from the same group. For example, interview five people from China, five people from India, five people from Japan and five people from America. This gives a broader perspective on the subject.

Form a hypothesis from the interview data. Use the answers in the interviews and determine the proposed hypothesis. For example, a hypothesis about parental responsibility might suggest areas in which cultures' viewpoints match, such as cultures that view the role of a mother as a caregiver to children.

Helen Jain has been writing online articles since December 2009 for various websites. She has studied English and psychology and hopes to get a Ph.D. in English in the future.