What Is the Relationship Between a Hypothesis, Conclusion & Thesis Statement?
A hypothesis, thesis, and conclusion are all vital parts of the writing process, helping a writer frame his argument. The hypothesis is the starting point, where a writer makes a preliminary decision about what he believes. Writing a thesis is the next step, in which a writer states what he will prove. The actual argument follows the thesis, and the conclusion appears at the end of the essay, restating the thesis and summarizing the argument. In some forms of writing, such as lab reports, a hypothesis may replace a thesis.
A hypothesis, thesis, and conclusion work together to add structure to a written argument. Sometimes writers will decide what they think about a subject before doing research on it; they might even write a preliminary thesis. This can lead to problems if not enough resources are found to back up the thesis, making it difficult to write an effective argument or conclusion. However, a writer could also start by writing several hypotheses, or predictions, about the subject matter. Research then allows the writer to eliminate hypotheses that prove to be weak, leading to a stronger thesis.
Thesis as Central Idea
A thesis is often called the central idea of a paper since it frames the argument. It is usually written as a one- or two-sentence statement, appearing at the beginning of an essay. The rest of the paper is devoted to proving that the thesis is true with evidence and examples. In this case, the purpose of the conclusion is to synthesize the points made in the essay and leave the reader with a sense of what the author proved.
Hypothesis as Central Idea
The hypothesis can at times replace a thesis as a statement of the central idea. Certain forms of writing require the author to state what he thinks will occur in a given scenario instead of what he already believes and will attempt to prove. The paper then becomes a narrative of how he went about proving whether or not his hypothesis was correct and ends with a conclusion that either confirms or amends the hypothesis The purpose here is to test a theory, whereas the purpose of a thesis-centric paper is to prove a position.
Writing a Strong Conclusion
Regardless of the method, the conclusion is often reported as one of the most difficult aspects of a paper. The purpose of a conclusion is to wrap up the issue for the reader. It can go beyond the subject matter already presented but should effectively synthesize the argument without using the exact same words. Show the reader what is most important to remember and direct him to the larger meaning or purpose of the work.
Anna Tower has a B.A. in history and journalism from Washington & Lee University and a M.A.Ed. from the College of William and Mary. She has been writing since 2003 at various publications, including the "Rockbridge Report," the "Fairfax County Times" and "USA Today." Tower is certified to teach social studies, English and journalism in grades 6-12.