如何清楚写出论文中的研究问题和假设

31 March 2020

Quick Takeaways:

  • et al.' means 'and others'.
  • Use 'et al.' to cite works with three or more authors.
  • The presentation (et al., et al., or rarely et al) depends on the style guide or journal guidelines

The English language has a rich history of borrowing words from other languages, especially from Latin. Latin abbreviations such as ‘a.m.’, ‘p.m.’ and ‘CV’ have become part of our everyday vocabulary. Such abbreviations are also frequently used in academic writing, from the ‘Ph.D.’ in the affiliation section to the ‘i.e.’, ‘e.g.’, ‘et al.’, and ‘QED’ in the rest of the paper.

This guide explains when and how to correctly use ‘et al.’ in a research paper.

之前的几篇网志中的, 我们已经讨论过如何撰写您的论文引言 (Introduction) 和文献综述 (Literature Review),以及如何阐释您的研究的目的和理据。

因应您所在的专业学科,您或许有需要在撰写论文主体前先写出您的研究问题或/及假设。但是,很多时候您都不需要同时提出两者,除非您的研究有多于一个由同一研究问题延伸出来的假设。

记得不要误会,我们绝对不是说您来到这一步才去想您的研究问题或假设。
紧记:您应该要在执行甚至设计您的研究前就已经想好您的研究问题或假设。

我们接下来会谈一谈您可以如何清楚陈述研究问题或假设。

什么是研究问题?

研究问题是指您想要透过研究去解答的问题,并能明确指出您的研究的目的。它亦可以引导及聚焦您的研究。

舉個例子:
如果您的研究的目的是要评估一种新开发用于治疗焦虑症的疗法的疗效,您的研究问题就可能会像:

“Is intervention A effective for treating people with anxiety?”

什么是假设?

上面提到的研究问题需要转化成一个可被测试的假设。假设是一个可以对您预期会发生的事情作出预测的陈述,而不是以问题形式出现。它被称作对定向型或对立假设(或称备择假设,Alternative Hypothesis),通常以H1作为缩写。

继续上面的研究问题例上,其假设可以写成:

“Participants who receive intervention A will show a significant reduction in scores on the Anxiety Scale from baseline to 6-week follow up.”

而如果您的研究有应用对照组,假设就可以写成:

“Participants who receive intervention A will score significantly lower on the Anxiety Scale than participants in the wait-list control group.”

紧记,您的假设需要具有明确性

回到上面的例子,如果您的假设只是 “Participants who receive the intervention will be less anxious”,这是不够明确的,因为它并不可以说出您是如何知道焦虑症得到缓和及“less”不能表示减轻的程度。

检定您的假设

当您检定您的假设时,其实是在检定虚无假设(或称零假设,Null Hypothesis)。它是用来预测您要测试的变量没有带出任何差异。

一些期刊会希望您陈述通常被缩写作H0的虚无假设,或同时陈述虚无及对立假设。

对应之前提到的例子的虚无假设为:

“Participants who receive intervention A will show no difference in anxiety scores from baseline to 6-week follow-up.”

“Participants who receive intervention A will show no difference in anxiety scores from participants in the wait-list control group.”

更多研究问题及假设的例子

您的研究问题及假设会因应你的研究的类型而有所出入,我们在下面引述一些例子以供您参考。

个案1: 检验一个(或多个)自变量 (Independent Variable) 对因变量 (Dependent Variable) 的影响的实验研究

研究问题:  “Does substance A affect the appetite of rats?”

Directional or Alternative Hypothesis:
 “Rats that receive an injection of substance A will consume significantly more food than rats that do not receive the injection.”

Null Hypothesis:
 “Rats that receive an injection of substance A will show no difference in food consumption from those that do not receive the injection.”

个案2: 考察变量 (variables) 之间的关系的相关性研究

研究问题:  “Does spending time outdoors influence how satisfied people feel with their lives?”

Directional or Alternative Hypothesis:
 “There is a significant positive relationship between the weekly amount of time spent outdoors and self-reported levels of satisfaction with life.”

Null Hypothesis:
 “There is no relationship between the weekly amount of time spent outdoors and self-reported levels of satisfaction with life.”

一些当您要在论文中写出多个假设,或同时陈述虚无和对立假设时要注意的小地方

I. 使用尽量相似的关键短语和术语去陈述您文中的每一个假设。如果想使用变化的关键短语和术语去美化措辞,很多时反而会引起读者的困惑。

II. 尝试安排各变量出现在的次序,以使自变量 (Independent Variable) 在句子中都出现在因变量 (Dependent Variable) 之前。该顺序反映了效果的假设方向,因此比相反的顺序来得更清晰。

留意以下的例子:

QUICK ASIDE

Wondering why some abbreviations such as ‘et al.’ and ‘e.g.’ use periods, whereas others such as CV and AD don’t? Periods are typically used if the abbreviations include lowercase or mixed-case letters. They’re usually not used with abbreviations containing only uppercase letters.

Unusual Scenarios

Our latest online workshop built on the success of face-to-face workshops we developed specifically for local universities. Over 30 faculty members joined the session, presented by our Chief Operating Officer, Mr Nick Case, to learn from our case studies on editing research proposals.

The response to our workshop, which included a constructive and insightful Q&A session, was very positive.Drawing on our extensive experience working with hundreds of Hong Kong researchers targeting the GRF and ECS every year, we used examples of poor and subsequently improved proposals to show the attendees how they can make their applications stand out. The response to our workshop, which included a constructive and insightful Q&A session, was very positive.Drawing on our extensive experience working with hundreds of Hong Kong researchers targeting the GRF and ECS every year, we used examples of poor and subsequently improved proposals to show the attendees how they can make their applications stand out. The response to our workshop, which included a constructive and insightful Q&A session, was very positive.Drawing on our extensive experience working with hundreds of Hong Kong researchers targeting the GRF and ECS every year, we used examples of poor and subsequently improved proposals to show the attendees how they can make their applications stand out.

QUICK ASIDE

Wondering why some abbreviations such as ‘et al.’ and ‘e.g.’ use periods, whereas others such as CV and AD don’t? Periods are typically used if the abbreviations include lowercase or mixed-case letters. They’re usually not used with abbreviations containing only uppercase letters.

Author Resources

Check out AsiaEdit’s professional research grant proposal editing service.
Read more about our training services covering all aspects of academic writing tailored for local institutions.

More resources on research grant proposal writing: On-demand Webinars
Preparing an effective research proposal – Your guide to successful funding application
Preparing an effective research proposal – Your guide to successful funding application (Part 2)

作者背景

Dr Rachel Baron

联合总编及执行编辑 (社会科学)

Rachel于2001年刚在University of Exeter 取得博士学位的同时,以自由编辑的身份首次加入我们。在担任博士后研究人员数年之后,她专注于大学教授心理学,并于2010年回到AsiaEdit,并专注于学术编辑专业。她于2018年升任助理总编辑,并于2020年继而成为我们的联合主编。由于无法完全离开学术界,她还在意大利的一所英语大学教授心理学。

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