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An Official Publication of the Indian Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathologists

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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 168-169

Hypothesis-driven Research

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Ragas Dental College and Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication20-Aug-2019

Correspondence Address:
Umadevi Krishnamohan Rao
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Ragas Dental College and Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jomfp.JOMFP_161_19

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How to cite this article:
Rao UK. Hypothesis-driven Research. J Oral Maxillofac Pathol 2019;23:168-9

How to cite this URL:
Rao UK. Hypothesis-driven Research. J Oral Maxillofac Pathol [serial online] 2019 [cited 2020 Aug 9];23:168-9. Available from: http://www.jomfp.in/text.asp?2019/23/2/168/264803

As Oral Pathologists, we have the responsibility to upgrade our quality of service with an open mind attitude and gratitude for the contributions made by our professional colleagues. Teaching the students is the priority of the faculty, and with equal priority, oral pathologists have the responsibility to contribute to the literature too as a researcher.

Research is a scientific method of answering a question. This can be achieved when the work done in a representative sample of the population, i.e., the outcome of the result, can be applied to the rest of the population, from which the sample is drawn. In this context, frequently done research is a hypothesis-driven research which is based on scientific theories. Specific aims are listed in this type of research, and the objectives are stated. The scope of a well-designed methodology in a hypothesis-driven research equips the researcher to establish an opportunity to state the outcome of the study.

A provisional statement in which the relationship between two variables is described is known as hypothesis. It is very specific and offers the freedom of evaluating a prediction between the variables stated. It facilitates the researcher to envision and gauge as to what changes can occur in the listed specific outcome variables (dependent) when changes are made in a specific predictor (independent) variable. Thus, any given hypothesis should include both these variables, and the primary aim of the study should be focused on demonstrating the association between the variables, by maintaining the highest ethical standards.

The other requisites for a hypothesis-based study are we should state the level of statistical significance and should specify the power, which is defined as the probability that a statistical test will indicate a significant difference when it truly exists.[1] In a hypothesis-driven research, specifications of methodology help the grant reviewers to differentiate good science from bad science, and thus, hypothesis-driven research is the most funded research.[2]

“Hypotheses aren't simply useful tools in some potentially outmoded vision of science; they are the whole point.” This was stated by Sean Carroll, from the California Institute of Technology, in response to Editor-In-Chief of “Wired” Chris Anderson, who argued that “biology is too complex for hypotheses and models, and he favored working on enormous data by correlative analysis.”[3]

Research does not stop by stating the hypotheses but must ensure that it is clear, testable and falsifiable and should serve as the fundamental basis for constructing a methodology that will allow either its acceptance (study favoring a null hypothesis) or rejection (study rejecting the null hypothesis in favor of the alternative hypothesis).

It is very worrying to observe that many research projects, which require a hypothesis, are being done without stating one. This is the fundamental backbone of the question to be asked and tested, and later, the findings need to be extrapolated in an analytical study, addressing a research question.

A good dissertation or thesis which is submitted for fulfillment of a curriculum or a submitted manuscript is comprised of a thoughtful study, addressing an interesting concept, and has to be scientifically designed. Nowadays, evolving academicians are in a competition to prove their point and be academically visible, which is very vital in their career graph. In any circumstance, unscientific research or short-cut methodology should never be conducted or encouraged to produce a research finding or publish the same as a manuscript.

The other type of research is exploratory research, which is based on a journey for discovery, which is not backed by previously established theories and is driven by hope and chance of breakthrough. The advantage of using these data is that statistics can be applied to establish predictions without the consideration of the principles of designing a study, which is the fundamental requirement of a conventional hypothesis. There is a need to set standards of statistical evidence with a much higher cutoff value for acceptance when we consider doing a study without a hypothesis.

In the past few years, there is an emergence of nonhypothesis-driven research, which does receive encouragement from funding agencies such as innovative molecular analysis technologies. The point to be taken here is that funding of nonhypothesis-driven research does not implicate decrease in support to hypothesis-driven research, but the objective is to encourage multidisciplinary research which is dependent on coordinated and cooperative execution of many branches of science and institutions. Thus, translational research is challenging and does carry a risk associated with the lack of preliminary data to establish a hypothesis.[4]

The merit of hypothesis testing is that it takes the next stride in scientific theory, having already stood the rigors of examination. Hypothesis testing is in practice for more than five decades and is considered to be a standard requirement when proposals are being submitted for evaluation. Stating a hypothesis is mandatory when we intend to make the study results applicable. Young professionals must be appraised of the merits of hypothesis-based research and must be trained to understand the scope of exploratory research.

   References Top

Rao UK. Concepts in sample size determination. Indian J Dent Res 2012;23:660-4.  Back to cited text no. 1
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Haufe C. Why do funding agencies favor hypothesis testing? Stud Hist Philos Sci A 2013;44:363.  Back to cited text no. 2
Defining the scientific method. Editorial. Nat Methods 2009;6:237.  Back to cited text no. 3
Aragon R. Thinking Outside the Box: Fostering Innovation and Non–Hypothesis-Driven Research at NIH. Sci Transl Med 2011;3:70cm5.  Back to cited text no. 4


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