The word ‘Hypothesis is derived from a Greek word, which means ‘to suppose’. It is usually considered as the principal instrument in research. For a researcher it is a formal question that he or she intends to resolve. In this way a hypothesis may be defined as a proposition or a supposition. The main function of hypothesis is to guide the collection and processing of materials and direct the research. Hypothesis is a tentative conclusion. It is facts based theory. A research scholar will analyze the information from variety of sources in order to create a hypothesis. Hypothesis can be of two types – - Explanatory
In explanatory hypothesis researcher tries to account for a given fact and the explanation is provisional because it is based on inconclusive proof. This method is especially used in finding out laws in history. The defeat of the army of Siraj in the battle of Plassey is a fact. Various explanations are offered for this fact. Again the rise of Gandhi has been accounted for variously by various authors such as Shaid Amin and Judith Brown. These explanations are really the nature of hypothesis. Descriptive hypothesis is employed for making a complex mass of facts, which are isolated from one another, a meaningful unit by describing it in a collective manner. To describe the reign of Samudragupta as “the Golden age of the Ancient India” is to frame a descriptive hypothesis. There are many who dispute this hypothesis. Many do not accept the reign of Samudragupta as the golden age of the ancient India. They are in the nature of hypothesis. Hypothesis must possess the following characteristics:
1. It must be conceptually clear. In other words the concept that should be used clearly defined both in formally and operationally. 2. Hypothesis should state relationship between variables, if it happens to be a relational hypothesis. 3. It should be limited in scope and must be specific.
4. A hypothesis should be empirically testable. It should be framed so that it makes possible to deduce logically certain interferences which in turn can be tested. 5. Hypothesis should be amendable to test within a reasonable time. One should not use an excellent hypothesis, if the same can not be tested in reasonable time for one cannot spend his or her whole life for collecting data to test it. The main objective of hypothesis is to suggest new experiments and observation. Many experiments are carried out with the deliberate object of testing hypothesis. Decision makers often face situations wherein they are interested in testing hypothesis on the basis of available information and then take decisions on the basis of such testing. It is very essential that a researcher should test the validity of the evidence and the thesis. This testing is called criticism. The process of criticism falls into two parts- External Criticism or Heuristics
- Internal Criticism or Hermeneutics Heuristics is a Greek word which means aiding or discovery or it is used to find out authenticity of the document. It examines whether a particular document is genuine or not. External criticism deals with the authorship of document, the source, dates the question of genuineness, purity etc. Historical records are tampered sometime not only for some material advantage but also for a variety of...
Bibliography: 1. Ali, B,Sheik, History: Its Theory and Method, Macmillan India, New Delhi, 1978.
2. Chitnis, K.N., Research Methodology in History, Atlantic, New Delhi, 1998.
3. Jayapalan, N, Historiography, Atlantic, New Delhi, 2000.
4. Kothari, C.R., Research Methodology: Methods and Techniques, New Age Publishers, Delhi, 1988.
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