A hypothesis is an educated guess or proposition that attempts to explain a set of facts or natural phenomenon. It is used mostly in the field of science, where the scientific method is used to test it.
Testing Hypothesis vs. Tested Hypothesis
An hypothesis can be testing a concept or it can be developed as a result of study:
- A testing hypothesis is one that can be tested, meaning you can measure both what is being done (variables) and the outcome.
- A tested hypothesis is tested with research, such as in a research study in social science.
Here are some examples of both testing hypotheses and hypotheses tested with research:
- If the water faucet is opened, then the amount of water flowing will increase.
- If fenders are placed on a bicycle, then the user will stay dry when going through puddles.
- If a prisoner learns a work skill while in jail, then he is less likely to commit a crime when he is released.
- If I raise the temperature of a cup of water, then the amount of sugar that can be dissolved in it will be increased.
- If the size of the molecules is related to the rate of diffusion as they pass through a membrane, then smaller molecules will flow through at a higher rate.
- If there is a relation between the wave length of light and the photosynthesis rate, then light of different colors will cause the plant to make different amounts of oxygen.
- If temperature is related to the rate of metabolism in animals, then raising the ambient temperature will cause an increase in animal metabolism.
- More students get sick during the final week of testing that at other times.
- One solar panel can replace one C battery.
- There is a positive correlation between the availability of hours for work and the productivity of employees.
- Worker satisfaction increases worker productivity.
- Amount of sun exposure will increase the growth of a tomato plant.
- Childhood obesity is tied to the amount of sugary drinks injested daily.
- A dog can be trained to alert a human if the telephone is ringing.
Basics About Hypotheses
The two types of hypotheses are scientific and working.
- A scientific hypothesis is based on experiments and observations from the past that cannot be explained with current theories.
- A working hypothesis is one that is widely accepted and becomes the basis of further experimentation.
Goal of a Hypothesis
Regardless of the type of hypothesis, the goal of a hypothesis is to help explain the focus and direction of the experiment or research. As such, a hypothesis will:
- State the purpose of the research
- Identify what variables are used
Parameters of a Good Hypothesis
In order to be a good hypothesis that can be tested or studied, a hypothesis:
- Needs to be logical
- Must use precise language
- Should be testable with research or experimentation
A hypothesis is usually written in a form where it proposes that if something is done, then something else will occur.
Comparing Hypothesis, Law, and Theory
There are three types of scientific statements:
A hypothesis will give a plausible explanation that will be tested. It can also explain future phenomenon that will need to be tested.
Once a hypothesis has been widely accepted, it is called a law. This means that it is assumed to be true and will predict the outcome of certain conditions or experiments. Some laws cannot yet be proven because technology to test them has not been invented.
A scientific theory is broader in scope and explains more events that a law. After hypotheses and laws have been tested many times, with accurate results, they become theories.