How do you generate research questions and hypotheses?
Research questions can be sourced from anywhere. The could arise out of curiosity, maybe during a discussion on your topic of interest with your professors, through some information that you come across a textbook or a journals article. It could also be an outcome of some data that you accessed in a databases, and last but not the least through something that you probably came across on the internet.
A hypothesis on the other hand is an assumption that you make, which can be proved by research. However, there should be a clear rationale or literature available that leads to this assumption. It cannot be random.
The first step towards developing a hypothesis is to ask a question. This question cannot be wide or open-ended. The question needs to be specific. This question also needs to have some preliminary answers that can give your work direction.
You need to do a thorough literature survey while framing your research question or hypothesis. Strategically select your keywords to ensure that you do not miss out on any important information while mining for relevant literature. Good keyword selection is absolutely essential to a strategic literature review. A thorough literature review will also ensure that you are not repeating research or addressing a question that has already been addressed before. A thorough literature survey will also help you frame your hypothesis better.
You also cannot have a definite hypothesis, your hypothesis should have a variable component. A variable is a condition that can cause a change in quantity or quality. Variable components can be both dependent as well as independent. The independent variable, or treatment, is under the control of the researcher. The behavior that is a result of the independent variable and can be measured is called the dependent variable. The most important factor that you need to consider while developing a hypothesis is that it should be testable. There should be a way to determine whether it is true or false.