Research Questions, Objectives and Hypothesis

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Research objectives are the goals of the research study. Research objectives specify the reason researchers are conducting research. For example, researchers may want to better understand the difference in pain scale results among subjects with a diagnosis of moderate traumatic brain injury. In this case the research objective would cause researchers to take steps to conduct scientific analysis to determine the variations in pain experienced between a group of individuals without a diagnosis of TBI and a group of individuals with TBI.
The research objective is to determine if there is a difference in perceived pain levels among patients with a diagnosis of moderate traumatic brain injury as compared with individuals without a diagnosis
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This question guides the course of the research study and guides researchers in setting up the study effectively and accurately. It is important, throughout the course of research, to ensure that additional questions do not cloud the initial research question (Farrugia et al. 2010). This requires a focus on the original research question and the ability of researchers to set aside additional questions that may arise for later research studies.
A research hypothesis or alternative hypothesis is the hypothesis which researchers “want to support that predicts a significant difference exists between the two groups being compared” (Jackson 2011). For further description, Farrugia et al. describes the research hypothesis a hypothesis developed “from the research question and then the main elements of the study — sampling strategy, intervention (if applicable), comparison and outcome variables — are summarized in a form that establishes the basis for testing, statistical and ultimately clinical significance” (Farrugia et al. 2010). The research hypothesis differs from the null hypothesis and sets the course of the study, the study details and types of measures used during the study. Jackson provides an example of a research hypothesis being derived from an initial research objective when a researcher wants to illustrate that children who attend educationally-based after school programs have higher IQ scores compared
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