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Hypothesis Chapter


A hypothesis chapter is a crucial element for theses in scientific fields. In a hypothesis chapter, the student presents the idea that the thesis will explore; therefore, it occurs relatively early in the thesis text, perhaps as the first chapter after the introduction.

Hypothesis chapters should present students' best writing, because the reader must be aware of the specific problem and its possible solutions before he or she can understand the rest of a thesis. For example, if the hypothesis chapter intends to present the student's predictions for the results of a certain experiment but never explicitly states those predictions, the reader may find the later discussion of the experiment interesting but will wonder what the point of it is. In order to ensure that the chapter clearly states the idea, the writer may wish to ask several colleagues to read it before he or she moves on to later chapters.

In order to write a good hypothesis chapter, the student should first mentally clarify the idea that the thesis or thesis project (such as a scientific experiment) will attempt to prove. If he or she has already completed the experiment or has already proven the idea, this step may require some mental backtracking; in this situation, any notes or prewriting the student made may be quite helpful.

The goal of the hypothesis chapter is to clearly state the idea itself. The student may include preliminary information that sparked the idea, such as a problem he or she wanted to resolve or a question that arose during the course of study. However, the hypothesis chapter should not contain the actual evidence that supports the idea; the evidence should occur later in the discussion of the thesis project or research. Students should conceive of hypothesis chapters as setting the stage for a presentation of the thesis research; hypothesis chapters should not attempt to solve the problem squarely but should rather offer a suggestion that the subsequent chapters of the thesis will attempt to prove.


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