Copyright

Causal & Relational Hypotheses: Definitions & Examples

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Writing an APA Abstract: Format & Examples

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 What Are Causal &…
  • 0:27 Examples
  • 2:01 Comparing Causal &…
  • 3:12 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

Did you know that causal hypotheses imply a cause-and-effect relationship, while relational hypotheses do not? In this lesson, we will define causal and relational hypotheses and discuss examples of both.

What Are Causal & Relational Hypotheses?

A hypothesis is a statement that predicts the relationship between a set of variables. Variables are factors that are likely to change. Relational hypotheses aim to determine if relationships exist between a set of variables. Causal hypotheses aim to determine if changes in one variable cause changes in another. Let's look at each of these concepts more closely.

Examples

Sam is a researcher studying academic performance in high school students. He is interested in three variables: grade point average (GPA), number of hours spent studying, and ACT scores. Sam collects information on each of the three variables from 2,300 high school students, and then develops two hypotheses.

Sam's first hypothesis is that there is a positive relationship between GPA and ACT scores. In other words, students with higher GPAs tend to have higher scores on the ACT. Sam's first hypothesis is a relational hypothesis because Sam is simply proposing that some relationship exists between two variables. Though Sam's relational hypothesis is a positive one, relational hypotheses can also be negative. For example, another relational hypothesis may suggest there is a negative relationship between days absent from school and GPA. Or they can also have no direction at all, as in a hypothesis that says a significant relationship exists between attendance and GPA.

Sam's second hypothesis is that studying leads to increased performance on the ACT. Here, Sam is proposing that increasing the amount of time spent studying has a direct, positive effect on ACT scores. Sam's second hypothesis is a causal hypothesis, because it signifies a cause-and-effect relationship. Whereas a relational hypothesis can be non-directional, causal hypotheses are always directional. This means that a causal hypothesis must either propose a negative or positive cause-and-effect relationship.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Free 5-day trial

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create an account
Support