How to Format Research Questions and Hypotheses

Research questions and hypotheses are a fundamental part of any research project, whether it’s a dissertation or a journal article. They help define the scope of the study and guide the data collection and analysis process. Here’s how you might structure and format research questions (RQs) and hypotheses (Hs) in a dissertation or journal article:

Research Questions

Research questions should be clearly stated, specific, and answerable through the data you plan to collect. They guide the direction of your study and are usually numbered for reference. Here is an example:

RQ1: How does exposure to violent video games affect the aggression levels in teenagers?

Each subsequent research question follows the same format, but addresses a different aspect of your research:

RQ2: Does the duration of exposure to violent video games have a significant impact on the aggression levels in teenagers?


Hypotheses are statements that predict the outcomes of the research questions. They are often based on prior research, and they should be testable through your methodology. Like research questions, hypotheses are typically numbered. For instance:

H1: Exposure to violent video games will lead to increased aggression levels in teenagers.

H2: The longer the duration of exposure to violent video games, the higher the aggression levels in teenagers.

Just like with the research questions, each subsequent hypothesis should correspond to a research question and predict a different outcome.

Often, you might list these, with the H indented under the RQ. Note that there can be some flexibility, depending on your preferences and the requirements of the publisher or university. However, it is very common for the hypotheses to be “under” the research questions, which is signified by the indentation.

It’s important to note that the specific formatting may vary depending on the style guide you are using (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.). Be sure to consult the relevant guide or your academic advisor for specific guidelines.

Also, remember that not all studies will use both research questions and hypotheses. Some studies may only have research questions, particularly if they are exploratory in nature. Other studies, especially those with a more quantitative focus, might rely more heavily on hypotheses.

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