In english lessons, in scientific work or in mathematics – there are many areas in which you will encounter hypotheses. We explain what it’s all about and give tips on how to build an interpretation hypothesis. You will also learn what to look for when formulating scientific hypotheses.
Definition of hypothesis
The term hypothesis comes from the Latin word “hypothesis”, which translates as “assumption”. With the help of this translation you may already understand what this linguistic phenomenon is about. In a hypothesis you formulate an assumption that you assume to be correct , but which you cannot prove. Only assumptions that can be checked are considered hypotheses. Once you have made a hypothesis, you need to use different analysis methods to find out whether the statement is true or not.
Following the analysis, you have either proven or disproved your hypothesis . Depending on which hypothesis you put forward, you can make its conditions clear with certain statements. Frequent formulations in this context are the following: “Whenever …, then …” or “The more …, the …”.
Types of hypotheses
Hypotheses come in many different areas. These are always assumptions that express assumptions about a certain topic . As a student, you have to deal with hypotheses in the subjects of english and mathematics.
If you are aiming for a university career , you will also be confronted with hypotheses depending on the subject. You may even deal with it in your bachelor or master thesis .Below we explain what types of hypotheses you should know.
Interpretation hypotheses are part of poetry analysis and the interpretation of this genre of text. In an interpretation hypothesis, you write down in a few short sentences what the basic message of a poem could be. So you suspect something that can also turn out to be wrong in retrospect. But that’s not bad at all. The meaning and purpose of an interpretation hypothesis is to make an assumption that can be confirmed in retrospect or that is refuted. If you have carried out a poem analysis and interpretation, there is the possibility of adapting your interpretation hypothesis accordingly.
You can think of the interpretation hypothesis as a kind of collection of your first impressions . You record what comes to your mind right after reading a poem and then check your thoughts in an analysis and an interpretation. The person who reads your work will get an impression of the direction in which your poem analysis is going on the basis of the interpretation hypothesis.
In science in general, hypotheses describe a relationship between two or more variables . This refers to comparable objects or events. You have to formulate one or more hypotheses before starting a lot of scientific work, as they provide information about your research project and you can use it as a guide in the further course.
Hypotheses in Mathematics
You will come across hypotheses not only in German classes and when doing scientific work, but also in math classes. As a rule, however, you only have to deal with it in high school. This subject is also about unproven assumptions. In the statistics sub-area, hypotheses are used to describe the probabilities of events . You use so-called hypothesis tests to find out whether a hypothesis should be accepted or rejected.
In the hypothesis tests you differentiate between the null hypothesis ” H 0 ” and the alternative hypothesis ” H 1 “. The null hypothesis indicates the expected result, the alternative hypothesis stands for a deviation from the expected.
Hypotheses in logic
Logic is the term used to describe the teaching of logical conclusions, conclusive thinking or argumentation. There are also hypotheses in this area. You use it to defend a thesis .
Interpretation hypothesis: Instructions in three steps (+ example)
In english lessons at the upper level, you will definitely come across an interpretation hypothesis at some point. This happens in connection with a poem analysis. In an interpretation hypothesis, you write down your assumptions about the core message of a certain poem. You don’t have to provide any proof, after all, it’s just a guess . After reading a poem, write down your thoughts on the intention of the text.
An interpretation hypothesis consists of only a few sentences . Make sure that you formulate this as clearly and precisely as possible . In this way, the reader of your text immediately has an impression of how you proceed in the poem analysis and on which aspects you are focusing. You place your interpretation hypothesis between the introduction and the main part of your poem analysis.
After you have completed the analysis and interpretation of the poem, at the end of your work you will go back to the interpretation hypothesis. Finally, you indicate whether your guess has been confirmed or not . This is very important, as otherwise the hypothesis would remain uncommented.
In the following, using the example of the modernized version of the poem “All is Vanity” (written by Andres Gryphius in 1637), you will learn how to do it best. The interpretation hypotheses formulated here are not generally valid and only serve to illustrate the linguistic phenomenon. The poem by Andreas Gryphius offers many different possibilities for interpretation and leaves room for a wide variety of theses and interpretations.
Before you formulate an interpretation hypothesis, you must of course first deal intensively with the poem . Read the poem over once or twice. You should feel like you can put the key message into words.
If it is a longer poem, it can be very helpful if you take notes in between and record your thoughts . Orientate yourself on the individual stanzas of the poem. Write down keywords during the first reading and check them in a second reading. The poem goes like this:
All is Vanity
Look where you will, you see only vanity on earth.
What some build today others tear down tomorrow:
Where now stand towns there will be a meadow
On which a shepherd’s child will play with the herds:
What now splendid flowers shall soon be trodden down
What now struts and preens will be ash and bone tomorrow,
There is nothing can be eternal, no metal, no marble stone.
Now Fortune smiles on us, but soon hardships will threaten
The fame of great deeds must be like a fleeting dream.
Why should the plaything of time, the frivolous human, endure?
Oh! What is all this that we regard as precious
But worthless nothingness, than shadows, dust and wind,
But a wild flower that cannot be found again.
That which is eternal yet no human wills to see!
– Andreas Gryphius (1616 – 1664)
Once you have gotten a first impression of the poem and noted key words, you have to try to express your thoughts in full sentences . Always keep in mind that it is a hypothesis. So it’s just a matter of recording your personal thoughts and assumptions. You formulate the text in your words and do not allow yourself to be inspired by other sources.
Poems are designed to play with your imagination . Everyone perceives them differently and connects different things with a text. This fact is what makes poetry analysis so interesting. You may notice something that your classmates missed.
You could formulate the following hypothesis about the poem “All is Vanity”. It relates to the subject of ” impermanence “:
The basic structure of the poem “All is Vanity” deals with transience on earth. It blames people for it. The poem can be read as a complaint, but it is not directly accusatory. A sign of this is the reserved language, which is expressed in soft-sounding verses.
But maybe you got a completely different impression while reading. For example, you might have a more abstract interpretation idea that works figuratively. An alternative interpretation hypothesis with reference to the topic ” Search for eternity ” is also possible:
The poem “All is Vanity” deals with the search for eternity and rules out this phenomenon on earth. The author uses a theme that was used very often in the baroque era, namely transience. Since, in his opinion, nothing lasts on earth, he hopes to find eternity after death.
Both hypotheses of interpretation are justified if you refer to them in the following poem analysis . You must not hypothesize unless you plan to analyze the poem in light of it. You have to check what you suspect in the hypothesis at a later point in time. This is the only way you can formulate a statement in relation to your hypothesis.
Once you have formulated your interpretation hypothesis, the foundation for the subsequent poem analysis has been laid. In the analysis it is now important that you either confirm or refute your assumptions from the interpretation hypothesis. To do this, you have to give sufficient reasons for your hypotheses in the analysis . So whether an interpretation is right or wrong is not that easy to say. Basically, that doesn’t matter. As long as you underpin your assumptions with excerpts from the poem, they are valid and justified.
The actual analysis follows in a flowing transition according to the interpretation hypothesis. You can only finally determine whether the hypothesis turns out to be true or false after analyzing and interpreting the poem. After you have formulated the hypothesis, you examine the poem very carefully in the following analysis. You should pay attention to even the smallest details . It is important that you on the meter , the different stylistic devices and the rhyme scheme comes and looking these characteristics with respect to your hypothesis.
Once the analysis has been completed, the text is interpreted. In doing so, you interpret individual components of the poem and bring your findings into an overall context . At this point it becomes clear to what extent your guesses from the interpretation hypothesis hold up or not.
How to make Scientific Hypotheses
In an academic paper, you usually set up a hypothesis at the beginning of which your work is based. How exactly the hypothesis is structured naturally depends on your subject and the respective topic. However, it is always a purposeful scientific assertion whose truthfulness you check with your work .
So you first formulate one or more general assumptions about your research topic that you want to investigate in the course of the work. If you plan to write a doctoral thesis , you usually present your working hypotheses in the synopsis. These also serve to highlight your general interest in the topic and to give the supervising professor an insight into your research project.
To do this, you formulate one or more specific, but general assumptions that clearly show how you want to implement your research project. The goal of your work then is to confirm or override these assumptions using analysis or other research methods.
Advantages of scientific hypotheses
The advantage of working hypotheses in science is that you reduce your interest in a topic to the essentials. This means that your project is given a structure that you can use as a guide even before the writing process begins . Hypotheses also help you decide on a specific research tool .
In contrast to a thesis , hypotheses connect two different aspects and establish a relationship . A thesis is just an assertion that needs proof. How exactly a thesis should look is not clearly defined.
So that you don’t lose track of things while researching and writing, your working hypotheses must be clearly formulated . If you are not convinced of your hypotheses yourself, you should definitely revise them before you start writing. If you are unsure how to best optimize it, ask your supervising professor for help.
In addition, of course, you also need a research question that represents something like the central theme of your work and forms the context. Within the context there are then certain phenomena that you relate to each other with your hypotheses.
You have to pay attention to this
There are a few things to look out for when formulating your scientific hypotheses. First of all, the reader needs to understand exactly how you derived the assumptions. Make sure that there are no contradictions , not even in the formulation.
In addition, your hypotheses must be general . Although many formulations in scientific work come across as extravagant and complicated, you should put your hypotheses in words as briefly and concisely as possible. So your reader immediately understands what you are getting at and recognizes what you want to deal with in your work.