Hypotheses

How it works:
Ten times during the semester each student will turn in a hypothesis based on that day's readings. A hypothesis is a brief statement that describes the purpose of a potential study and makes predictions about what you think the findings of your study would be (see example below). Your hypothesis should be typed at the top of your paper, and should not be more than 2 sentences in length.

In addition to your hypothesis, you should very briefly and generally describe the method of your study (i.e., how you could go about collecting the data necessary for testing your hypothesis). This should not exceed 1 -2 paragraphs, meaning your hypothesis and general description of your study should not exceed 1 page.

Your hypotheses serve two purposes for class. First, we'll discuss your hypotheses in class, and generate ways of testing hypotheses as a group. Therefore, on days when we are discussing hypotheses you should be prepared to "defend" your hypothesis (i.e., explain the logic behind your idea, and answer any questions regarding your prediction). Second, your final paper for this class is a research proposal, in which you will design a study that you could conduct. By the time you begin work on this paper, you should have many ideas for studies, based on the hypotheses you generated throughout the semester. You may wish to elaborate on one of your hypotheses for you research proposal (although you don't have to).

You may turn in a hypothesis during class on either a Monday or Wednesday (however, we may not always have time to discuss them everyday-- if we do run out of time we'll discuss them during the next class period). On days you chose to submit a hypothesis, please bring 2 copies of your hypothesis to class (I will collect one, and you will have one to read from). Discussion of hypotheses will begin the second week of class (so there is no need to write one for Week 1).

You will submit 10 hypotheses over the course of semester. Please note, you cannot submit a hypothesis for a day you are not in class. An excellent hypotheses (that receives full credit) will (1) succinctly state a testable prediction, (2) generally and briefly describe a reasonable means of testing the hypothesis, (3) demonstrate a knowledge of the relevant topic (i.e., show how your hypothesis is related to the readings), and (4) not exceed 1 page.


Sample Hypothesis:
 
Benjamin Le
Hypothesis #1
September 29, 2008
Topic: Interdependence and emotions
 

Individuals perceiving that their relationships needs are met by their partners will experience more positive emotions and fewer negative emotions than individuals whose needs remain unfulfilled.

Based on our readings of interdependence theory, and the literature on goals and emotions, having one’s needs fulfilled in his or her relationship is akin to attaining one’s relationship goals. Therefore, it is likely that positive emotions will follow from need fulfillment, and negative emotions are produced by a lack of need fulfillment in a relationship.

First it would be necessary to define and identify "relationship needs," and construct a way to measure these needs. Most likely these will be related to having a partner to talk to, do stuff with, and be intimate with etc. Probably a pilot study will be necessary to identify these needs, or maybe there’s a previous literature on relationship needs that we can draw from. Participants will be (approximately 100) college students who are currently involved in romantic relationships, and they will be asked to rate statements related to the extent to which their partners fulfilled their needs (for example, "today my partner met my needs for closeness") each day (i.e., like a daily-diary study). In addition, they will report the extent to which they experienced certain emotions each day as well ("today I felt": "happy", "angry", "depressed", "relaxed"). It is predicted that those whose needs were met on each day will report more positive emotions (i.e., a positive correlation between need fulfillment and positive emotions) than those whose needs were not met; those whose needs were not met are expected to report more negative emotions (i.e., a negative correlation between need fulfillment and negative emotion) than those whose needs were met.

It might also be interesting to make this a "couple" study, in that both members of the relationship participate. Then one could investigate the extent to which one partner's reports of needs provided (i.e., "I provided emotional support") correspond with the other partner's reports of needs fulfilled (i.e., "I received emotional support"), and if one partner's needs provided predict the other partner's emotional experience.


 

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