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    Clarifying Hypothesis Use in Phenomenological Research

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    I need some brief help. I realize that with inductive reasoning the hypothesis comes after the research, but I was under the impression that with PHENOMENOLOGY, the hypothesis came first. Is this accurate? If so (or even if not), please explain in detail. A classmate and I are in debate. I learned previously that in methods such as ethnography and grounded theory, the hypothesis is decided upon after we have completed much of the research, but with phenomenology it is different. My classmate disagrees. I need some assistance. I also need assistance with the steps one would take to do a phenomenological research study.

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    Dear Student,

    Hi. I am very impressed that you have taken into debate about scientific concepts. But while in the early stages of your scientific study, doing 'science' requires you to take up 'step by step' processes in methods of research, by now you are probably coming to realize that this process is also 'adaptable' as long as it covers these particular requirements of science - a study must be empirical, measurable (as in the case of quantifiable phenomenon) or highly descriptive and verifiable (as in the case of qualitative studies).

    Clarifying 'Hypothesis'

    I have observed above that you believe that 'hypothesis is decided upon after completion of the research'. I think perhaps you are confusing this with 'theory'? Remember what a hypothesis is - it is simply a proposed explanation of the phenomenon. A research is based on a hypothesis and is designed around proving this hypothesis to be true or not true. In measurable, quantifiable science (as in biology, chemistry - essentially natural sciences), a hypothesis/hypotheses (plural), the researcher must come up with a hypothesis before even beginning a research or study. Once that hypothesis is formed - this is when the rest of the elements of the study is decided including design, data gathering or experimental methods, analytical process, verification and then the manner by which the results are to be written up. Take for instance Isaac Newton's research on gravity. He problematised why things fall down into the earth (and not float). He assumed, and therefore 'hypothesized' that there is a force behind the phenomenon of 'things falling down'. He thus set out to prove this hypothesis through an array of mathematical and actual experimentation and concluded that, "that any two objects in the Universe exert gravitational attraction on each other" (AstroWiki, 2013) or Fg=G(m1m2/r2). This made gravity measurable and explains why and how objects fall on earth. This made his original hypothesis a theory (or in the earlier case of mathematical thought - universal law).

    Now, in the social sciences, unlike in natural sciences where scientists can 'remove' themselves completely from the objects they are studying so that they can ...

    Solution Summary

    The solution provides insight on the topic of scientific research, clarifying how a hypothesis is used in research, but highlighting how in some cases, a hypothesis is not needed or is 'emergent'. Topics include emergent theory development in ethnography, the scientific form of inquiry and what necessitates the need for a hypothesis or why in some cases, it is not essential to the research. Social and natural science is also compared in relation to quantifying or measuring phenomenon. Resources are listed for further exploration of the topic. The solution is in the form of a 'narrative advce' to student inquiry.