What is a Hypothesis?

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Hypothesis means something taken or supposed for granted, with the object of following out its consequences. In Greek, the term hypothesis is “a putting under,” and in Latin, it is equivalent to being suppositio.

Scientific Hypothesis

In the plan of an action course, one may consider different alternatives, working out each in a detailed way. Although the term hypothesis is typically not used in this particular case, this procedure is virtually similar to that of an investigator of crime considering different suspects. Various methods can be used for deciding what the different alternatives may be, but the fundamental is that the consideration of a supposal as if it were true, without actually accepting it to be true. The earliest use of the word in this sense was present in geometry, which is described by Plato in the Meno.

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The essential modern use of a hypothesis is in relation to scientific investigation. Merely, a scientist is not concerned about accumulating such facts as may be discovered by observation: linkages should be discovered to connect such facts. An initial problem or puzzle provides the impetus, but clues should be used to ascertain which facts will help in yielding a solution.

The tentative hypothesis is the best guide that fits within the existing doctrine body. With its help, it is so framed that deductions may be made that under certain factual conditions (also called “initial conditions”), certain other facts would be found when, if the hypothesis were correct.

Concept of Hypothesis

The concepts that are involved in the hypothesis need not themselves refer to the observable objects. But, the initial conditions must be capable of being observed or produced experimentally, and the deduced facts must be able to be observed. The research made by William Harvey on circulation in animals demonstrates how greatly the experimental observation is helped by a fruitful hypothesis. While a hypothesis may be confirmed partially by showing what is deduced from it with certain initial conditions is found under those conditions actually, it can’t be completely proved in this way.

What would have to be shown is, no other hypothesis would serve. Therefore, in assessing the hypothesis soundness, stress is laid on the variety and range of facts that can be brought under its scope. Also, it is essential that it should be capable of being linked systematically with the hypotheses that have been found fertile in other fields.


If the predictions, which are derived from the hypothesis are not found to be true, the hypothesis may have to be modified or given up. However, the fault may lie in some other principle, which forms part of the body of accepted doctrine that has been utilized in deducing hypothesis consequences. Also, it may lie in the fact that other conditions, hitherto have unobserved, are present beside the initial conditions, affecting the entire result.

Therefore, the hypothesis can be kept pending further examination of some remodelling of principles or facts. A good illustration of this can be found in the history of the undulatory and the corpuscular hypotheses about light.

Working Hypothesis

A working hypothesis is one that is tentatively accepted as a foundation for more study in the hopes of producing a tenable theory, even though the hypothesis fails in the end. Similar to all hypotheses, a working hypothesis can be constructed as a statement of expectations that can be linked to the exploratory research purpose in the empirical investigation. Often, working hypotheses may be used as a conceptual framework in qualitative researches.

The working hypotheses’ provisional nature makes them useful as an organizing device in any applied research. Here, they act as a useful guide to address the problems, which are still in a formative phase.

Uses of Hypothesis

The theory was originally referred to as a plot outline of a classical drama. The word hypothesis in English comes from the ancient Greek word, whose literal or etymological hypothesis sense is about "placing or putting under" and thus, in extended use, has several other meanings, including "supposition."

Socrates deconstructs virtue in Plato's Meno (86e–87b) using a mathematical approach known as "investigating from a hypothesis." In this particular sense, 'hypothesis' refers to a convenient mathematical approach or a clever idea that simplifies the cumbersome calculations. And Cardinal Bellarmine gave one of the famous hypothesis examples about this usage in the warning issued to Galileo in the early 17th century: that he should not treat the Earth’s motion as a reality but merely as a hypothesis.

In the 21st century’s common usage, a hypothesis term refers to a provisional idea whose merit needs evaluation. For a proper evaluation, the hypothesis’ framer needs to describe specifics in operational terms. A hypothesis needs more work by the researcher to either disprove or confirm it. In due course, a confirmed hypothesis can occasionally grow to become a theory itself or become part of a theory.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Explain the Scientific Hypothesis?

Answer: In general, scientific hypotheses contain the form of a mathematical model. At times, but not always, we can also formulate them as existential statements, stating that some specific phenomenon instances under the examination contain some causal explanations and characteristics, which contain the general form of universal statements, stating that each and every phenomenon instance has a particular characteristic.

2. Explain the Importance of the Hypothesis?

Answer: Hempel's deductive-nomological hypothesis model concepts play an important role in both the development and testing of hypotheses. Many formal hypotheses connect the concepts by specifying the relationships that are expected between the propositions. When hypotheses are grouped together, they become a conceptual framework type. And, when a conceptual framework incorporates explanation or causality and complexity, it is generally called a theory.

3. What is Statistical Hypothesis Testing?

Answer: Whenever a possible correlation or any similar relation between the phenomena is investigated, like whether a proposed remedy is effective in the treatment of a disease, the hypothesis, which a relation exists cannot be examined the similar way one might examine any proposed new law of nature. In that type of investigation, if the tested remedy exhibits no effect in some cases, these do not necessarily falsify the concept of hypothesis.

4. How is Statistical Testing Used?

Answer: Statistical tests may be used to define how likely it is that the entire effect would be noticed if the hypothesized relation doesn’t exist. If that particular likelihood is sufficiently small (for example, less than 1%), the relation's existence may be assumed. Else, any observed effect can be due to pure chance.