Difference Between Research Question and Hypothesis (With Table)

Whenever we are asked to prepare or present a detailed analysis on a particular topic, we term it as research. This kind of research is often called as a research paper and includes various headings that are related to the given topic. Research questions and hypothesis are two such important fields that are a part of the research paper.

 Research Question vs Hypothesis

The difference between Research Question and Hypothesis is that the research question is the question whose answer needs to be found through the research paper whereas hypothesis is an assertion that either approves or negates the matter in question. The two also differ in their structure, aim, nature, and so on.

Research Question poses a question that is then to be solved or answered through the research paper. Since it puts forth a question, it is inquisitive. It is a part of research methodologies, analytical papers, etc. It can be used in a host of fields including literature, psychology, sociology, so on and so forth.

Hypothesis, on the other hand, is an assumption on the possibility or impossibility of the task in question. It is a prediction of what the results of the research might yield. It is a part of research that is scientific in nature. The subjects wherein hypothesis is used include science, sociology, etc.

Comparison Table Between Research Question and Hypothesis

Parameters of ComparisonResearch QuestionHypothesis
DefinitionResearch Questions is the question that the research tends to answer.Hypothesis is the statement that tends to predict the outcome of the research.
NatureIt has an inquisitive nature.It is an assumption.
StructureIt is written as a question. For example, “What will be the effect on the water when cooled up to its freezing point?”It is written in the form of a statement. For example, “Water turns into ice when cooled up to its freezing point.”
FieldsA research question is generally posed in the theory papers of subjects like sociology, literature, etc.Hypothesis is usually written in the research papers related to the fields of science, mathematics, etc.
OutcomesSince it is a question, it provides for the possibility of a great number of outcomes.Being a predictive statement, the number of outcomes is reduced to a minimum.

What is Research Question?

Research Question is the question that forms the basis of the research. It is to find the answer to this question that one embarks on the journey of analyzing and researching a particular topic. The nature of a research question is inquisitive as it poses a question. It is an important aspect of a research study.

It can be incorporated in studies that are quantitative as well as qualitative. The research question should be concise and to the point. Answering a research question requires a detailed study and thorough analysis of the topic. This also helps in enhancing one’s knowledge and intelligence.

It research question should be put forth or presented at the very beginning of the research study to give an idea about the topic and the answers it aims to find. The question must again be iterated in the concluding part along with the findings.

The format used to write it is that of posing a proper question. Depending upon the subject, there are various methods using which one needs to frame the research question. The kind of topic must also be kept in mind while preparing the research question. Since it is a question, it allows for the possibility of a host of outcomes.

What is Hypothesis?

Hypothesis is the statement that suggests or predicts the outcome of the research. It predicts how a certain thing or project would pan out or behave.  It is an assumption or prediction. It can be termed as an educated assumption that may have been derived through previous studies, etc. The word, ‘hypothesis’ has been derived from the Greek language which extended to mean “supposition”.

Hypothesis is mostly used in experimental and quantitative researches and studies.  It is usually used in scientific experiments and projects and it can also be used in other fields such as mathematics, sociology, etc. Usually, a hypothesis is based on studies that might have been conducted earlier.

A hypothesis can be written or derived when there has an ample amount of research conducted on a specific topic or the topic in question. Its written as a simple and compact statement. It must not be vague and should have a clear focus on the topic. At the same time, it should be easily understood by the readers.

Since a hypothesis is a predictive statement it does not allow for the possibility of multiple outcomes. It leaves very little space for diversified results. Based on the subject and topic, there are various kinds of hypothesis. These could be a scientific hypothesis, working hypothesis, etc.

Main Differences Between Research Question and Hypothesis

  1. Research question is in the form of a properly framed question whereas hypothesis is a carefully framed statement.
  2. Research question poses a question for which the research then aims to provide answers for while hypothesis is a statement that is an assumed result of the research paper or experiment.
  3. While a research question can be used in both quantitative and qualitative analysis, a hypothesis is mostly used in quantitative experiments.
  4. The subjects wherein research question is posed include literature, sociology, etc whereas the subjects that incorporate hypothesis in their research theories are usually related to science, mathematics, etc.
  5. Research question allows for the possibility of multiple and varied results. On the other hand, hypothesis does not provide a multitude of possibilities.
  6. Research question is inquisitive since it puts forth a question whereas hypothesis is predictive as it assumes the outcome or the result of the experiment based on prior studies.


Research Questions and Hypothesis are both an integral part of research theories and scientific experiments but the two differ in their application, usage, format, etc. Research question, as the name suggests, is a question that is posed at the very start of the research whose answer the research paper tends to look for. It is a carefully framed question that should be concise and comprehensive. It is useful in enhancing the research as well as the knowledge of the researcher.

Hypothesis, on the other hand, is an assumption that is usually based on previous findings or studies that might have not yielded satisfactory results. It is generally used in fields of science and math where quantitative analysis is essential. It is a carefully drafted statement that needs prior research and understanding of the topic at hand.


  1. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Inga-Jenset/publication/313876542_Linking_practice_to_theory_in_teacher_education_Teacher_candidates’_opportunities_to_talk_about_field_experiences/links/58ad822d45851503be91af6f/Linking-practice-to-theory-in-teacher-education-Teacher-candidates-opportunities-to-talk-about-field-experiences.pdf
  2. https://academicjournals.org/journal/IJEAPS/article-abstract/334464E40792
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