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Lesson Navigation IconOnline Guidelines for Academic Research and Writing

Unit Navigation IconThe academic research process

LO Navigation IconThe purpose of academic research and writing

LO Navigation IconThe process of academic research

LO Navigation IconTopic selection, posing problems and questions

LO Navigation IconTheory, hypothesis, and operationalization

LO Navigation IconData collection and data analysis

LO Navigation IconInterpretation

Unit Navigation IconOrganization and project management

Unit Navigation IconLiterature research and application

Unit Navigation IconWriting an academic paper

Unit Navigation IconHow do I create a good poster?

Unit Navigation IconPresentation skills

Unit Navigation IconLearning techniques and exam preparation

Unit Navigation IconBibliography

Unit Navigation IconMetadata

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Verification and falsification of hypotheses

The data collected should help to elaborate on your working hypotheses. The main goal is to determine if an assumption of reality is right or wrong (under specific conditions, given sources, methods, operationalized terms, etc.).

Strictly speaking it is not possible to verify a hypothesis since it would be necessary to theoretically measure all imaginable data sets on this hypothesis. Additionally, it is not possible to know all about one object of research. Established facts can suddenly lose their validity due to scientific progress. Newton's mechanics have been falsified by Einstein's theory of relativity, for example. However, it is still in use since its error is not noticeable in everyday life. When writing a scientific paper you search for reasons to falsify a hypothesis. If this is not possible you can assume that this hypothesis is plausible (for the time being).


Example: «There is a statistical relation between tourism and school absences; the hypothesis will therefore not be falsified.»


An additional goal is to deliver an explanation for your higher-level question. This explanation doesn't have to be extensive and can focus on one part of the question only. You declare, for example, why this hypothesis is not verified or with which reservations it could be valid nonetheless.


Example for an explanation: «The revealed statistical relation suggests that children do find means of income in the tourism industry, indeed.»

One often attempts to deliver an explanation by means of a theory previously presented as long as this theory is useful for the problem or question posed before. It is also possible to demonstrate, for example, why a certain theory is not suitable for the problem selected. This is particularly the case when other authors use that theory frequently or when it corresponds to the current opinion but it does not apply (or only partially) in one's own special case.


Research results will find their way back into theory.

Contribution to theory

Scientific research is only complete when its relation to the current state of the art is established. You have to indicate or at least estimate to which extend the insights gained can be generalized to contribute and explain a problem on a higher level. This leads to the differentiation or relativization of a theory that has then to be edited or replaced as the case may be.


Example: «Tourism contributes to a country's economic development but it also has some negative impact on social issues.»

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