Discussion: Developing a Research Hypothesis and Selecting a Sampling Method and Technique

Developing a research hypothesis (also referred to as the test hypothesis or alternative hypothesis), and selecting participants to test the hypothesis, are critical components for beginning a study. This hypothesis is your prediction of what will actually happen in your study. This hypothesis should also predict the proposed relations among your selected independent variable(s), which you manipulate, and how the manipulation will affect the dependent variable(s), which measure the outcome.

If your hypothesis states, “participating in psychotherapy will reduce anxiety,” psychotherapy is the independent variable. That is, your experiment will include individuals who go through psychotherapy and others who do not. Afterward you will compare your participants on an anxiety scale to see if the psychotherapy actually reduced anxiety. In this case, the measure of anxiety after the treatment is the dependent variable.

Before testing a hypothesis, you will need to consider the population of interest from which you will recruit a sample of individuals to participate in your study. There are two methods of sampling to consider. One method is probability sampling, and the various corresponding techniques (e.g., systematic random sampling, stratified sampling), wherein every member in a population has a chance to be included in the sample. When everyone in a population is not accessible, you will need to rely on the second method, which is nonprobability sampling, and the various corresponding techniques (e.g., snowball sampling, convenience sampling).

For this Discussion, you will locate and select a topic of your choice and develop your own research hypothesis based on your understanding of the topic. You will also apply your understanding of sampling methods and techniques that can be utilized to test your hypothesis as well as the hypotheses generated by your colleagues.

To prepare:

  • Read Chapter 2 and Chapter 8 of your course text.
  • Read the assigned pages from Chapter 6 of your course text.
  • Go to the “Psychology Topics” web page on the APA website. Choose one topic that interests you, and develop your own research hypothesis based on that topic.
  • Think about what you might select as the independent and dependent variables in a study you could design to test your hypothesis.
  • Consider how you would select your sample and recruit participants to test your hypothesis.

With these thoughts in mind:

By Day 3

  • Provide a brief description of your topic (fewer than 50 words). Note: Include your topic in the “Subject” field of your post.
  • Clearly state the research hypothesis you generated for the topic you selected, and identify the independent variable and dependent variable in your hypothesis.
  • Explain the sampling method (probability or nonprobability) and the particular technique (e.g., simple random sampling, systematic random sampling, stratified sampling, cluster sampling, snowball sampling, convenience sampling) that would be ideal to test your proposed hypothesis.
  • Explain how the proposed sampling technique would be carried out as it applies to your proposed study idea (i.e., how you would use this method to recruit participants).

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