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Chemistry LibreTexts

1.6: Hypothesis, Theories, and Laws

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  Learning Objectives

  • Describe the difference between hypothesis and theory as scientific terms.
  • Describe the difference between a theory and scientific law.

Although many have taken science classes throughout the course of their studies, people often have incorrect or misleading ideas about some of the most important and basic principles in science. Most students have heard of hypotheses, theories, and laws, but what do these terms really mean? Prior to reading this section, consider what you have learned about these terms before. What do these terms mean to you? What do you read that contradicts or supports what you thought?

What is a Fact?

A fact is a basic statement established by experiment or observation. All facts are true under the specific conditions of the observation.

What is a Hypothesis?

One of the most common terms used in science classes is a "hypothesis". The word can have many different definitions, depending on the context in which it is being used:

  • An educated guess: a scientific hypothesis provides a suggested solution based on evidence.
  • Prediction: if you have ever carried out a science experiment, you probably made this type of hypothesis when you predicted the outcome of your experiment.
  • Tentative or proposed explanation: hypotheses can be suggestions about why something is observed. In order for it to be scientific, however, a scientist must be able to test the explanation to see if it works and if it is able to correctly predict what will happen in a situation. For example, "if my hypothesis is correct, we should see ___ result when we perform ___ test."
A hypothesis is very tentative; it can be easily changed.

What is a Theory?

The United States National Academy of Sciences describes what a theory is as follows:

"Some scientific explanations are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them. The explanation becomes a scientific theory. In everyday language a theory means a hunch or speculation. Not so in science. In science, the word theory refers to a comprehensive explanation of an important feature of nature supported by facts gathered over time. Theories also allow scientists to make predictions about as yet unobserved phenomena."

"A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experimentation. Such fact-supported theories are not "guesses" but reliable accounts of the real world. The theory of biological evolution is more than "just a theory." It is as factual an explanation of the universe as the atomic theory of matter (stating that everything is made of atoms) or the germ theory of disease (which states that many diseases are caused by germs). Our understanding of gravity is still a work in progress. But the phenomenon of gravity, like evolution, is an accepted fact.

Note some key features of theories that are important to understand from this description:

  • Theories are explanations of natural phenomena. They aren't predictions (although we may use theories to make predictions). They are explanations as to why we observe something.
  • Theories aren't likely to change. They have a large amount of support and are able to satisfactorily explain numerous observations. Theories can, indeed, be facts. Theories can change, but it is a long and difficult process. In order for a theory to change, there must be many observations or pieces of evidence that the theory cannot explain.
  • Theories are not guesses. The phrase "just a theory" has no room in science. To be a scientific theory carries a lot of weight; it is not just one person's idea about something
Theories aren't likely to change.

What is a Law?

Scientific laws are similar to scientific theories in that they are principles that can be used to predict the behavior of the natural world. Both scientific laws and scientific theories are typically well-supported by observations and/or experimental evidence. Usually scientific laws refer to rules for how nature will behave under certain conditions, frequently written as an equation. Scientific theories are more overarching explanations of how nature works and why it exhibits certain characteristics. As a comparison, theories explain why we observe what we do and laws describe what happens.

For example, around the year 1800, Jacques Charles and other scientists were working with gases to, among other reasons, improve the design of the hot air balloon. These scientists found, after many, many tests, that certain patterns existed in the observations on gas behavior. If the temperature of the gas is increased, the volume of the gas increased. This is known as a natural law. A law is a relationship that exists between variables in a group of data. Laws describe the patterns we see in large amounts of data, but do not describe why the patterns exist.

What is a Belief?

A belief is a statement that is not scientifically provable. Beliefs may or may not be incorrect; they just are outside the realm of science to explore.

Laws vs. Theories

A common misconception is that scientific theories are rudimentary ideas that will eventually graduate into scientific laws when enough data and evidence has accumulated. A theory does not change into a scientific law with the accumulation of new or better evidence. Remember, theories are explanations and laws are patterns we see in large amounts of data, frequently written as an equation. A theory will always remain a theory; a law will always remain a law.

Video \(\PageIndex{1}\): What’s the difference between a scientific law and theory?

  • A hypothesis is a tentative explanation that can be tested by further investigation.
  • A theory is a well-supported explanation of observations.
  • A scientific law is a statement that summarizes the relationship between variables.
  • An experiment is a controlled method of testing a hypothesis.

Contributions & Attributions

Marisa Alviar-Agnew  ( Sacramento City College )

Henry Agnew (UC Davis)

What is a scientific hypothesis?

It's the initial building block in the scientific method.

A girl looks at plants in a test tube for a science experiment. What's her scientific hypothesis?

Hypothesis basics

What makes a hypothesis testable.

  • Types of hypotheses
  • Hypothesis versus theory

Additional resources

Bibliography.

A scientific hypothesis is a tentative, testable explanation for a phenomenon in the natural world. It's the initial building block in the scientific method . Many describe it as an "educated guess" based on prior knowledge and observation. While this is true, a hypothesis is more informed than a guess. While an "educated guess" suggests a random prediction based on a person's expertise, developing a hypothesis requires active observation and background research. 

The basic idea of a hypothesis is that there is no predetermined outcome. For a solution to be termed a scientific hypothesis, it has to be an idea that can be supported or refuted through carefully crafted experimentation or observation. This concept, called falsifiability and testability, was advanced in the mid-20th century by Austrian-British philosopher Karl Popper in his famous book "The Logic of Scientific Discovery" (Routledge, 1959).

A key function of a hypothesis is to derive predictions about the results of future experiments and then perform those experiments to see whether they support the predictions.

A hypothesis is usually written in the form of an if-then statement, which gives a possibility (if) and explains what may happen because of the possibility (then). The statement could also include "may," according to California State University, Bakersfield .

Here are some examples of hypothesis statements:

  • If garlic repels fleas, then a dog that is given garlic every day will not get fleas.
  • If sugar causes cavities, then people who eat a lot of candy may be more prone to cavities.
  • If ultraviolet light can damage the eyes, then maybe this light can cause blindness.

A useful hypothesis should be testable and falsifiable. That means that it should be possible to prove it wrong. A theory that can't be proved wrong is nonscientific, according to Karl Popper's 1963 book " Conjectures and Refutations ."

An example of an untestable statement is, "Dogs are better than cats." That's because the definition of "better" is vague and subjective. However, an untestable statement can be reworded to make it testable. For example, the previous statement could be changed to this: "Owning a dog is associated with higher levels of physical fitness than owning a cat." With this statement, the researcher can take measures of physical fitness from dog and cat owners and compare the two.

Types of scientific hypotheses

Elementary-age students study alternative energy using homemade windmills during public school science class.

In an experiment, researchers generally state their hypotheses in two ways. The null hypothesis predicts that there will be no relationship between the variables tested, or no difference between the experimental groups. The alternative hypothesis predicts the opposite: that there will be a difference between the experimental groups. This is usually the hypothesis scientists are most interested in, according to the University of Miami .

For example, a null hypothesis might state, "There will be no difference in the rate of muscle growth between people who take a protein supplement and people who don't." The alternative hypothesis would state, "There will be a difference in the rate of muscle growth between people who take a protein supplement and people who don't."

If the results of the experiment show a relationship between the variables, then the null hypothesis has been rejected in favor of the alternative hypothesis, according to the book " Research Methods in Psychology " (​​BCcampus, 2015). 

There are other ways to describe an alternative hypothesis. The alternative hypothesis above does not specify a direction of the effect, only that there will be a difference between the two groups. That type of prediction is called a two-tailed hypothesis. If a hypothesis specifies a certain direction — for example, that people who take a protein supplement will gain more muscle than people who don't — it is called a one-tailed hypothesis, according to William M. K. Trochim , a professor of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University.

Sometimes, errors take place during an experiment. These errors can happen in one of two ways. A type I error is when the null hypothesis is rejected when it is true. This is also known as a false positive. A type II error occurs when the null hypothesis is not rejected when it is false. This is also known as a false negative, according to the University of California, Berkeley . 

A hypothesis can be rejected or modified, but it can never be proved correct 100% of the time. For example, a scientist can form a hypothesis stating that if a certain type of tomato has a gene for red pigment, that type of tomato will be red. During research, the scientist then finds that each tomato of this type is red. Though the findings confirm the hypothesis, there may be a tomato of that type somewhere in the world that isn't red. Thus, the hypothesis is true, but it may not be true 100% of the time.

Scientific theory vs. scientific hypothesis

The best hypotheses are simple. They deal with a relatively narrow set of phenomena. But theories are broader; they generally combine multiple hypotheses into a general explanation for a wide range of phenomena, according to the University of California, Berkeley . For example, a hypothesis might state, "If animals adapt to suit their environments, then birds that live on islands with lots of seeds to eat will have differently shaped beaks than birds that live on islands with lots of insects to eat." After testing many hypotheses like these, Charles Darwin formulated an overarching theory: the theory of evolution by natural selection.

"Theories are the ways that we make sense of what we observe in the natural world," Tanner said. "Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts." 

  • Read more about writing a hypothesis, from the American Medical Writers Association.
  • Find out why a hypothesis isn't always necessary in science, from The American Biology Teacher.
  • Learn about null and alternative hypotheses, from Prof. Essa on YouTube .

Encyclopedia Britannica. Scientific Hypothesis. Jan. 13, 2022. https://www.britannica.com/science/scientific-hypothesis

Karl Popper, "The Logic of Scientific Discovery," Routledge, 1959.

California State University, Bakersfield, "Formatting a testable hypothesis." https://www.csub.edu/~ddodenhoff/Bio100/Bio100sp04/formattingahypothesis.htm  

Karl Popper, "Conjectures and Refutations," Routledge, 1963.

Price, P., Jhangiani, R., & Chiang, I., "Research Methods of Psychology — 2nd Canadian Edition," BCcampus, 2015.‌

University of Miami, "The Scientific Method" http://www.bio.miami.edu/dana/161/evolution/161app1_scimethod.pdf  

William M.K. Trochim, "Research Methods Knowledge Base," https://conjointly.com/kb/hypotheses-explained/  

University of California, Berkeley, "Multiple Hypothesis Testing and False Discovery Rate" https://www.stat.berkeley.edu/~hhuang/STAT141/Lecture-FDR.pdf  

University of California, Berkeley, "Science at multiple levels" https://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/0_0_0/howscienceworks_19

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Hypothesis Examples

Hypothesis Examples

A hypothesis is a prediction of the outcome of a test. It forms the basis for designing an experiment in the scientific method . A good hypothesis is testable, meaning it makes a prediction you can check with observation or experimentation. Here are different hypothesis examples.

Null Hypothesis Examples

The null hypothesis (H 0 ) is also known as the zero-difference or no-difference hypothesis. It predicts that changing one variable ( independent variable ) will have no effect on the variable being measured ( dependent variable ). Here are null hypothesis examples:

  • Plant growth is unaffected by temperature.
  • If you increase temperature, then solubility of salt will increase.
  • Incidence of skin cancer is unrelated to ultraviolet light exposure.
  • All brands of light bulb last equally long.
  • Cats have no preference for the color of cat food.
  • All daisies have the same number of petals.

Sometimes the null hypothesis shows there is a suspected correlation between two variables. For example, if you think plant growth is affected by temperature, you state the null hypothesis: “Plant growth is not affected by temperature.” Why do you do this, rather than say “If you change temperature, plant growth will be affected”? The answer is because it’s easier applying a statistical test that shows, with a high level of confidence, a null hypothesis is correct or incorrect.

Research Hypothesis Examples

A research hypothesis (H 1 ) is a type of hypothesis used to design an experiment. This type of hypothesis is often written as an if-then statement because it’s easy identifying the independent and dependent variables and seeing how one affects the other. If-then statements explore cause and effect. In other cases, the hypothesis shows a correlation between two variables. Here are some research hypothesis examples:

  • If you leave the lights on, then it takes longer for people to fall asleep.
  • If you refrigerate apples, they last longer before going bad.
  • If you keep the curtains closed, then you need less electricity to heat or cool the house (the electric bill is lower).
  • If you leave a bucket of water uncovered, then it evaporates more quickly.
  • Goldfish lose their color if they are not exposed to light.
  • Workers who take vacations are more productive than those who never take time off.

Is It Okay to Disprove a Hypothesis?

Yes! You may even choose to write your hypothesis in such a way that it can be disproved because it’s easier to prove a statement is wrong than to prove it is right. In other cases, if your prediction is incorrect, that doesn’t mean the science is bad. Revising a hypothesis is common. It demonstrates you learned something you did not know before you conducted the experiment.

Test yourself with a Scientific Method Quiz .

  • Mellenbergh, G.J. (2008). Chapter 8: Research designs: Testing of research hypotheses. In H.J. Adèr & G.J. Mellenbergh (eds.), Advising on Research Methods: A Consultant’s Companion . Huizen, The Netherlands: Johannes van Kessel Publishing.
  • Popper, Karl R. (1959). The Logic of Scientific Discovery . Hutchinson & Co. ISBN 3-1614-8410-X.
  • Schick, Theodore; Vaughn, Lewis (2002). How to think about weird things: critical thinking for a New Age . Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education. ISBN 0-7674-2048-9.
  • Tobi, Hilde; Kampen, Jarl K. (2018). “Research design: the methodology for interdisciplinary research framework”. Quality & Quantity . 52 (3): 1209–1225. doi: 10.1007/s11135-017-0513-8

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Definition of hypothesis

Did you know.

The Difference Between Hypothesis and Theory

A hypothesis is an assumption, an idea that is proposed for the sake of argument so that it can be tested to see if it might be true.

In the scientific method, the hypothesis is constructed before any applicable research has been done, apart from a basic background review. You ask a question, read up on what has been studied before, and then form a hypothesis.

A hypothesis is usually tentative; it's an assumption or suggestion made strictly for the objective of being tested.

A theory , in contrast, is a principle that has been formed as an attempt to explain things that have already been substantiated by data. It is used in the names of a number of principles accepted in the scientific community, such as the Big Bang Theory . Because of the rigors of experimentation and control, it is understood to be more likely to be true than a hypothesis is.

In non-scientific use, however, hypothesis and theory are often used interchangeably to mean simply an idea, speculation, or hunch, with theory being the more common choice.

Since this casual use does away with the distinctions upheld by the scientific community, hypothesis and theory are prone to being wrongly interpreted even when they are encountered in scientific contexts—or at least, contexts that allude to scientific study without making the critical distinction that scientists employ when weighing hypotheses and theories.

The most common occurrence is when theory is interpreted—and sometimes even gleefully seized upon—to mean something having less truth value than other scientific principles. (The word law applies to principles so firmly established that they are almost never questioned, such as the law of gravity.)

This mistake is one of projection: since we use theory in general to mean something lightly speculated, then it's implied that scientists must be talking about the same level of uncertainty when they use theory to refer to their well-tested and reasoned principles.

The distinction has come to the forefront particularly on occasions when the content of science curricula in schools has been challenged—notably, when a school board in Georgia put stickers on textbooks stating that evolution was "a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things." As Kenneth R. Miller, a cell biologist at Brown University, has said , a theory "doesn’t mean a hunch or a guess. A theory is a system of explanations that ties together a whole bunch of facts. It not only explains those facts, but predicts what you ought to find from other observations and experiments.”

While theories are never completely infallible, they form the basis of scientific reasoning because, as Miller said "to the best of our ability, we’ve tested them, and they’ve held up."

  • proposition
  • supposition

hypothesis , theory , law mean a formula derived by inference from scientific data that explains a principle operating in nature.

hypothesis implies insufficient evidence to provide more than a tentative explanation.

theory implies a greater range of evidence and greater likelihood of truth.

law implies a statement of order and relation in nature that has been found to be invariable under the same conditions.

Examples of hypothesis in a Sentence

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hypothesis.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Greek, from hypotithenai to put under, suppose, from hypo- + tithenai to put — more at do

1641, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Phrases Containing hypothesis

  • counter - hypothesis
  • nebular hypothesis
  • null hypothesis
  • planetesimal hypothesis
  • Whorfian hypothesis

Articles Related to hypothesis

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In scientific reasoning, they're two completely different things

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Cite this Entry

“Hypothesis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypothesis. Accessed 3 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

Kids definition of hypothesis, medical definition, medical definition of hypothesis, more from merriam-webster on hypothesis.

Nglish: Translation of hypothesis for Spanish Speakers

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Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hypothesis

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The nuances of chemical confirmation

Vanessa Seifert

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Supporting a hypothesis is more difficult than it might seem

White raven

Source: © Amanda Berger/Shutterstock

We can’t say for certain that all ravens are white, even if every raven we’ve seen has been

For a chemical hypothesis to gain credibility, empirical evidence must somehow be invoked to support it. For example, when during the 1660s chemist Robert Boyle experimented on gases, the observations he published proved decisive for the acceptance that the pressure of a gas is inversely proportional to its volume. We still call this relationship Boyle’s law, even though he was not the first to conceive of it.

The central role of experimentation in science was decisively established during the scientific revolution by Francis Bacon . Bacon promoted the rigorous examination of nature through repetitive and reproducible experiments that should be performed and checked by an organised community of scientists. To this day, the idea that inferences should be based on a careful analysis of empirical observations remains a defining feature of science. 

But how does confirmation work exactly? That is, how should empirical data and observations be used to support a hypothesis? 

This is neither an uncontroversial nor an easy question to answer. As early as the 18th century it was pointed out that no matter how much empirical evidence one collects in support of a hypothesis, it is always possible that the hypothesis eventually turns out to be wrong. This issue was raised by philosopher David Hume and is called the problem of induction . As philosophers often say when they try to explain this problem, no matter how many black ravens one observes, it will always be logically possible that the next one turns out to be white. Or, as writer Jorge Luis Borges poetically put it, ‘the proofs of death are statistics and everyone runs the risk of being the first immortal’. 1

Given how important induction is to science, some philosophers have attempted to resolve or at least come to terms with this problem. For example, some claim that while the results of the inductive method can never be guaranteed, induction remains the most rational and reliable method of making inferences about the world. Others take the use of induction and its success in science to be justified by the existence of necessary connections in the world. Philosopher Karl Popper on the other hand, maintains that the problem cannot be solved and proposes that the scientific method is based instead on the idea of falsification. Scientists should not design experiments to collect positive empirical evidence and support a hypothesis, but for the purpose of disproving that hypothesis. In this context, if a hypothesis has not been falsified, the only thing we can say is that it is provisionally corroborated. 2  

This is not the only issue one needs to consider with respect to confirmation. The physicist, historian and philosopher Pierre Duhem noted that choice among competing hypotheses is often based on the implementation of some form of eliminative reasoning: empirical evidence is invoked to eliminate theories that seem less plausible. 3  But how can we be certain that we have conceived all plausible hypotheses and that the true one is among them? Duhem believed that it is perfectly possible for an empirical observation to be consistent with more than one hypothesis and that there will always be unconceived alternatives that could match equally well with our observations. 

This is called the problem of unconceived alternatives and philosophers have considered it for the case of atoms. Specifically, a matter of debate is whether the atomic hypothesis is the only one that could have accounted for Brownian motion. According to philosopher Kyle Stanford , at the beginning of the 20th century alternative hypotheses to the atomic one were available, such as the electromagnetic view of matter, which could equally have explained Brownian motion. 4  On the other hand, philosopher Sherrilyn Roush resists this claim and takes that ‘there do not seem to be any hypotheses that could explain a random walk in the Brownian particles that are not included within this atomic hypothesis’. 5  Whatever the case, this issue opens the room for conjecture and puts into question how certain we can be of our accepted scientific hypotheses.

 In chemistry too, the credibility of eliminative reasoning has been evaluated in light of the problem of unconceived alternatives. Robin Hendry has examined how in the 1800s chemists developed different representations of isomeric structures. 6  He points out that the first Nobel prize winner in chemistry, Jacobus Henricus van ’t Hoff, successfully adopted eliminative reasoning when looking at different representations of stereoisomers. Hendry claims that van’t Hoff successfully inferred that carbon forms a tetrahedral structure because the square planar arrangement gave a surplus of alternative stereoisomeric structures, which went against empirical evidence. So, at least in this instance, the use of empirical evidence in eliminative reasoning proved to be reliable. 

I’d like to say that this covers the main conundrums around confirmation but that would be incorrect! There are other puzzles too, such as the Grue problem and the Raven paradox , which show that the role of confirmation in science is even more nuanced. Some of these problems are principled considerations that – as such – are not expected to radically change how science is done. However, others point out that chemists need to be mindful of how they develop and test different hypotheses. One needs to consider carefully alternative hypotheses and analyse in detail how exactly pieces of empirical evidence provide support to one or more scientific explanations.

1 Poem ‘Someone’ in J L Borges,  Selected Poems , (ed. A Coleman). Penguin Books, 2000

2 K Popper, Conjectures and refutations: The growth of scientific knowledge . Routledge, 2014

3 P Duhem,  The aim and structure of physical theory (Vol. 13) . Princeton University Press, [1914] 1991

4 P K Stanford,  Brit. J. Philos. Sci. , 2009,  60 , 253 (DOI:  10.1093/bjps/axp003 )

5 S Roush, Tracking truth: Knowledge, evidence, and science . Clarendon Press, 2005

6 R Hendry,  Spontaneous Generations: A  Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science,  2018, 9 , 108 (DOI: 10.4245/sponge.v9i1.28062 )

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A hypothesis is an educated guess about what you think will happen in a scientific experiment, based on your observations. Before conducting the experiment, you propose a hypothesis so that you can determine if your prediction is supported.

There are several ways you can state a hypothesis, but the best hypotheses are ones you can test and easily refute. Why would you want to disprove or discard your own hypothesis? Well, it is the easiest way to demonstrate that two factors are related. Here are some good scientific hypothesis examples:

  • Hypothesis: All forks have three tines. This would be disproven if you find any fork with a different number of tines.
  • Hypothesis: There is no relationship between smoking and lung cancer. While it is difficult to establish cause and effect in health issues, you can apply statistics to data to discredit or support this hypothesis.
  • Hypothesis: Plants require liquid water to survive. This would be disproven if you find a plant that doesn't need it.
  • Hypothesis: Cats do not show a paw preference (equivalent to being right- or left-handed). You could gather data around the number of times cats bat at a toy with either paw and analyze the data to determine whether cats, on the whole, favor one paw over the other. Be careful here, because individual cats, like people, might (or might not) express a preference. A large sample size would be helpful.
  • Hypothesis: If plants are watered with a 10% detergent solution, their growth will be negatively affected. Some people prefer to state a hypothesis in an "If, then" format. An alternate hypothesis might be: Plant growth will be unaffected by water with a 10% detergent solution.
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What is Hypothesis?

We have heard of many hypotheses which have led to great inventions in science. Assumptions that are made on the basis of some evidence are known as hypotheses. In this article, let us learn in detail about the hypothesis and the type of hypothesis with examples.

A hypothesis is an assumption that is made based on some evidence. This is the initial point of any investigation that translates the research questions into predictions. It includes components like variables, population and the relation between the variables. A research hypothesis is a hypothesis that is used to test the relationship between two or more variables.

Characteristics of Hypothesis

Following are the characteristics of the hypothesis:

  • The hypothesis should be clear and precise to consider it to be reliable.
  • If the hypothesis is a relational hypothesis, then it should be stating the relationship between variables.
  • The hypothesis must be specific and should have scope for conducting more tests.
  • The way of explanation of the hypothesis must be very simple and it should also be understood that the simplicity of the hypothesis is not related to its significance.

Sources of Hypothesis

Following are the sources of hypothesis:

  • The resemblance between the phenomenon.
  • Observations from past studies, present-day experiences and from the competitors.
  • Scientific theories.
  • General patterns that influence the thinking process of people.

Types of Hypothesis

There are six forms of hypothesis and they are:

  • Simple hypothesis
  • Complex hypothesis
  • Directional hypothesis
  • Non-directional hypothesis
  • Null hypothesis
  • Associative and casual hypothesis

Simple Hypothesis

It shows a relationship between one dependent variable and a single independent variable. For example – If you eat more vegetables, you will lose weight faster. Here, eating more vegetables is an independent variable, while losing weight is the dependent variable.

Complex Hypothesis

It shows the relationship between two or more dependent variables and two or more independent variables. Eating more vegetables and fruits leads to weight loss, glowing skin, and reduces the risk of many diseases such as heart disease.

Directional Hypothesis

It shows how a researcher is intellectual and committed to a particular outcome. The relationship between the variables can also predict its nature. For example- children aged four years eating proper food over a five-year period are having higher IQ levels than children not having a proper meal. This shows the effect and direction of the effect.

Non-directional Hypothesis

It is used when there is no theory involved. It is a statement that a relationship exists between two variables, without predicting the exact nature (direction) of the relationship.

Null Hypothesis

It provides a statement which is contrary to the hypothesis. It’s a negative statement, and there is no relationship between independent and dependent variables. The symbol is denoted by “H O ”.

Associative and Causal Hypothesis

Associative hypothesis occurs when there is a change in one variable resulting in a change in the other variable. Whereas, the causal hypothesis proposes a cause and effect interaction between two or more variables.

Examples of Hypothesis

Following are the examples of hypotheses based on their types:

  • Consumption of sugary drinks every day leads to obesity is an example of a simple hypothesis.
  • All lilies have the same number of petals is an example of a null hypothesis.
  • If a person gets 7 hours of sleep, then he will feel less fatigue than if he sleeps less. It is an example of a directional hypothesis.

Functions of Hypothesis

Following are the functions performed by the hypothesis:

  • Hypothesis helps in making an observation and experiments possible.
  • It becomes the start point for the investigation.
  • Hypothesis helps in verifying the observations.
  • It helps in directing the inquiries in the right direction.

How will Hypothesis help in the Scientific Method?

Researchers use hypotheses to put down their thoughts directing how the experiment would take place. Following are the steps that are involved in the scientific method:

  • Formation of question
  • Doing background research
  • Creation of hypothesis
  • Designing an experiment
  • Collection of data
  • Result analysis
  • Summarizing the experiment
  • Communicating the results

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

What is hypothesis.

A hypothesis is an assumption made based on some evidence.

Give an example of simple hypothesis?

What are the types of hypothesis.

Types of hypothesis are:

  • Associative and Casual hypothesis

State true or false: Hypothesis is the initial point of any investigation that translates the research questions into a prediction.

Define complex hypothesis..

A complex hypothesis shows the relationship between two or more dependent variables and two or more independent variables.

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What is a hypothesis in chemistry?

what is a hypothesis in chemistry

Explanation:

See this old answer.

And see this old answer.

In the hierarchy of scientific explanation, an hypothesis can become ( #"graduate to"# if you like) a theory if it can be applied and adapted to a variety of scientific phenomena, and TESTED under different conditions, and circumstances...

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  1. 1.6: Hypothesis, Theories, and Laws

    Marisa Alviar-Agnew ( Sacramento City College) Henry Agnew (UC Davis) 1.6: Hypothesis, Theories, and Laws is shared under a CK-12 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Marisa Alviar-Agnew & Henry Agnew. Although many have taken science classes throughout the course of their studies, people often have incorrect or misleading ideas ...

  2. What Is a Hypothesis? The Scientific Method

    A hypothesis (plural hypotheses) is a proposed explanation for an observation. The definition depends on the subject. In science, a hypothesis is part of the scientific method. It is a prediction or explanation that is tested by an experiment. Observations and experiments may disprove a scientific hypothesis, but can never entirely prove one.

  3. Scientific Hypothesis, Theory, Law Definitions

    A hypothesis is an educated guess, based on observation. It's a prediction of cause and effect. Usually, a hypothesis can be supported or refuted through experimentation or more observation. A hypothesis can be disproven but not proven to be true. Example: If you see no difference in the cleaning ability of various laundry detergents, you might ...

  4. Scientific hypothesis

    scientific hypothesis, an idea that proposes a tentative explanation about a phenomenon or a narrow set of phenomena observed in the natural world.The two primary features of a scientific hypothesis are falsifiability and testability, which are reflected in an "If…then" statement summarizing the idea and in the ability to be supported or refuted through observation and experimentation.

  5. How to Write a Strong Hypothesis

    Developing a hypothesis (with example) Step 1. Ask a question. Writing a hypothesis begins with a research question that you want to answer. The question should be focused, specific, and researchable within the constraints of your project. Example: Research question.

  6. Scientific method

    scientific method, mathematical and experimental technique employed in the sciences. More specifically, it is the technique used in the construction and testing of a scientific hypothesis. The process of observing, asking questions, and seeking answers through tests and experiments is not unique to any one field of science.

  7. Scientific Method

    What is ( − 4.00 × 1011)4? The scientific method is a method of scientific inquiry that is thorough and systematic. Such inquiries must have a specific hypothesis, experimental testing, and conclusions.

  8. What is a scientific hypothesis?

    A scientific hypothesis is a tentative, testable explanation for a phenomenon in the natural world. It's the initial building block in the scientific method. Many describe it as an "educated guess ...

  9. Hypothesis Examples

    A hypothesis proposes a relationship between the independent and dependent variable. A hypothesis is a prediction of the outcome of a test. It forms the basis for designing an experiment in the scientific method.A good hypothesis is testable, meaning it makes a prediction you can check with observation or experimentation.

  10. Hypothesis Definition (Science)

    A hypothesis is an explanation that is proposed for a phenomenon. Formulating a hypothesis is a step of the scientific method . Alternate Spellings: plural: hypotheses. Examples: Upon observing that a lake appears blue under a blue sky, you might propose the hypothesis that the lake is blue because it is reflecting the sky.

  11. Hypothesis

    The hypothesis of Andreas Cellarius, showing the planetary motions in eccentric and epicyclical orbits.. A hypothesis (pl.: hypotheses) is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon.For a hypothesis to be a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it. Scientists generally base scientific hypotheses on previous observations that cannot satisfactorily be explained ...

  12. Theory vs. Hypothesis vs. Law

    A hypothesis is a possible explanation that can be tested. This simple definition needs some further explanation. It says it must have a possible explanation. The hypothesis should apply reasoning ...

  13. Hypothesis ( Read )

    A scientific hypothesis must be testable. A scientific hypothesis must be falsifiable. A Scientific Hypothesis Must Be Testable. For a hypothesis to be testable means that it is possible to make observations that agree or disagree with it. If a hypothesis cannot be tested by making observations, it is not scientific. Consider this statement:

  14. Hypothesis Definition & Meaning

    hypothesis: [noun] an assumption or concession made for the sake of argument. an interpretation of a practical situation or condition taken as the ground for action.

  15. What Is a Hypothesis? Definition, Examples, and Types.

    A hypothesis is a research-based prediction of an outcome involving at least two variables in an experiment or test. For a prediction to be considered a hypothesis, it must be testable. In other words, you need to be able to manipulate the two variables to prove your prediction. It must also be falsifiable.

  16. What Are Examples of a Hypothesis?

    Examples of If, Then Hypotheses. If you get at least 6 hours of sleep, you will do better on tests than if you get less sleep. If you drop a ball, it will fall toward the ground. If you drink coffee before going to bed, then it will take longer to fall asleep. If you cover a wound with a bandage, then it will heal with less scarring.

  17. Hypothesis ( Read )

    Criteria of a scientific hypothesis and why a hypothesis cannot be proven true.

  18. Hypothesis Testing

    There are 5 main steps in hypothesis testing: State your research hypothesis as a null hypothesis and alternate hypothesis (H o) and (H a or H 1 ). Collect data in a way designed to test the hypothesis. Perform an appropriate statistical test. Decide whether to reject or fail to reject your null hypothesis. Present the findings in your results ...

  19. Avogadro's Law

    Avogadro's law, also known as Avogadro's principle or Avogadro's hypothesis, is a gas law which states that the total number of atoms/molecules of a gas (i.e. the amount of gaseous substance) is directly proportional to the volume occupied by the gas at constant temperature and pressure.

  20. The nuances of chemical confirmation

    For a chemical hypothesis to gain credibility, empirical evidence must somehow be invoked to support it. For example, when during the 1660s chemist Robert Boyle experimented on gases, the ...

  21. Scientific Hypothesis Examples

    Scientific Hypothesis Examples . Hypothesis: All forks have three tines. This would be disproven if you find any fork with a different number of tines. Hypothesis: There is no relationship between smoking and lung cancer.While it is difficult to establish cause and effect in health issues, you can apply statistics to data to discredit or support this hypothesis.

  22. What is Hypothesis

    Functions of Hypothesis. Following are the functions performed by the hypothesis: Hypothesis helps in making an observation and experiments possible. It becomes the start point for the investigation. Hypothesis helps in verifying the observations. It helps in directing the inquiries in the right direction.

  23. What is a hypothesis in chemistry?

    Answer link. "A tentative conclusion based on given evidence..." See this old answer. And see this old answer. In the hierarchy of scientific explanation, an hypothesis can become ("graduate to" if you like) a theory if it can be applied and adapted to a variety of scientific phenomena, and TESTED under different conditions, and circumstances...