Psych 320 Computer Applications in Psychology
David Van Nuys, Ph. D.

Assignment #11: APA-Style Hypothesis Section

The APA style manual is not as rigid as it was when I was a graduate student. At that time, every paper had to have sections titled Literature Review, Hypothesis, Method, Results, Discussion, and so on. Today, the same ground gets covered but the APA appears to be more flexible about section titles than days of old.

Nevertheless, for the sake of your clarity, I'd like you to write a Hypothesis section (so labeled) in which you state what the hypothesis is that you will be testing in your web survey. A paragraph or two stating the rationale behind the hypothesis and then the hypothesis, itself, will be sufficient.

Once again, please see the student example I have posted for you on the Web, as well as the example papers on file at the circulation desk in the library.

What is A Hypothesis?

Basically, a hypothesis is a prediction. It is an educated guess as to how a scientific experiment will turn out. It is an educated guess because it is based on previous research, training, observation, and a review of the relevant research literature.

For the purposes of this class, you will be doing a simple correlational study. Therefore, your hypothesis will consist of a prediction about how two variables will vary in relation to one another. You may predict that when Variable 1 is high, Variable 2 will also tend to be high, and when Variable 1 is low, Variable 2 will also tend to be low. This relationship would be called a "positive correlation." Or you may predict that when Variable 1 is high, Variable 2 will tend to be low, and vice versa. This is called a "negative correlation" or "inverse correlation."

Sample Hypotheses

Here are some examples of simple hypotheses and how they might be worded in your report:

"It is predicted that the salary level of adults will be positively correlated with a measure of overall happiness."

"It is hypothesized that a rating of how satisfied people are with their current salary will be positively correlated with a measure of their overall happiness."

"it is predicted scores on a scale rating the level of childhood trauma will be inversely correlated with scores on a scale of overall adult happiness."

"It is hypothesized that ratings on an optimism scale will be positively correlated with self-ratings of job satisfaction."

Adding Some Meat

The sample hypotheses above are pretty bare bones. Your Hypothesis section will need a bit more meat inasmuch as we don't want it to consist of a single sentence. Therefore, you should lead into your hypothesis with a paragraph or two that provide the rationale for the hypothesis. What is it in the literature and in your own observations that leads to this hypothesis?

Notice that all the examples above are based on rating scales. The reason for this is that you will be asking at least two rating-scale sorts of questions in your survey which you will later test for statistical correlation.