Today I gave a talk to the students of Clark Memorial High School on how to make a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a clear statement of where you stand on an idea that you need to prove. The good thing about making a hypothesis is that it gives you a clear purpose for studying, so you know which direction to go in, and you are motivated to answer the questions so you can get the knowledge into your head. This is a very useful skill not only in school, but also in the real world, where you can notice things that others don't.
The process of creating a hypothesis goes through four stages—intuition, interest, questions and position. Let's explain it a little more simply. Intuition is a feeling of discomfort about something you see or hear. For example, if you are listening to a talk about fair trade, you may wonder if it is really fair. When you feel uncomfortable, please don't throw it away and write it down in a notebook.
Then try to think about where the discomfort comes from. If you think about where it comes from rather than why, you will dig deeper objectively without getting carried away with fantasy. For example, fair-trade coffee can increase the price of coffee by 20%, but the amount of money paid to the farmer in the price of the coffee only goes up by 2%. We realised that there was an uncomfortable feeling: where did the other 18% go?
From the interest and reflection that arose from our intuition, we created a binary question. For example, are the farmers satisfied with this fair trade situation or not?
Finally, you have to make clear which position you are taking. For example, in this situation of fair trade, you can say that the farmer is happy. And this is the hypothesis.
Once your research mode is on, we can begin finding out if the farmers are happy with Fairtrade.
This is a story for another time.