In social research, each investigator is to start with certain assumptions and presumptions, which subsequent study may prove and disapprove. These are called hypothesis. It is the hypothesis round which study revolves and for which data is collected. There are of course, difficulties in the formulation of hypothesis and a hypothesis can be picked up from different sources. But it has definite utility, importance and important place in social research.
What is Hypothesis? Before discussing utility, significance and importance of hypothesis, it is essential in the first instance to understand the meaning of hypothesis. In social research, hypothesis starts, with, what we are looking for in the words of Goode and Hatt, It is a proposition which can be put to a test to determine its validity. It may seem contrary to, or in accordance with Commonsense. George A. Lundberg has said that, the hypothesis is a tentative justification, the validity of which remains to be tested.
He has further said that. The only difference between gathering data without hypothesis and gathering them with one is that in the latter case, we deliberately recognise the limitations of our resources and attempt to reduce their fallibility by limiting out field of investigation so as to prevent greater concentration of attention on particular aspects which past experience leads us to believe are insignificant for our purpose.
Cohen has said that, there is no genuine progress is scientific insight through Baconian method of accumulating empirical facts without hypothesis or anticipation of nature. Kerlinger has said that, A hypothesis is a conjectural statement of the relation between two or more variables. Hypothesis are ways in declarative sentence form, and they relate, either generally or specifically, variables to variables.
Werkmeister has said that, the guesses he (researcher) makes are the hypothesis which either solve the problem or guide him for further investigation. Websters, New International Dictionary defines hypothesis, a proposition, condition or principle which is assumed, perhaps with belief, in order to draw out its logical consequences and by this method to test, its accord with facts which are known or may be determined.”
Chaddok has defined hypothesis by saying that, A hypothesis in the scientific sense is an explanation held after careful convass of known facts, in full knowledge of other explanations that have been offered and with a mind open to change of view of the facts disclosed by inquiry warranting a different explanations.