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Scientific Hypothesis

Last updated date: 23rd Apr 2024
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Define Hypothesis in Science

A scientific hypothesis is a tentative statement that may not have a surety. A hypothesis in science is a paper-made explanation about a scientific phenomenon or a narrow set of phenomena observed in nature.

Scientists work on the previous knowledge and they believe that to be useful in a science a hypothesis must be able to satisfy the previous observations.

To be scientifically valid a hypothesis must be testable and the result must be accurate. In this article, we will discuss hypothesis definition science, hypothesis definition scientific method in detail.

Hypothesis in Science

A scientific hypothesis must be supportive to experiments and observations, otherwise, it remains a fairy tale just like you used to listen to from your grandmother. 

Now, let’s understand the hypothesis definition of science:

A scientific hypothesis is the first brick of the building in the scientific method. Many scientists describe the hypothesis definition scientific method as an "educated guess," based on previous knowledge and observation. While this is true, the scientific hypothesis definition can be expanded; a hypothesis explains why the guess may be correct. 

Evolution of Scientific Hypothesis

Most formal hypotheses comprise some concepts that can be connected to something and their relationships can be tested. A group of hypotheses comes together to form a conceptual argument. As sufficient data and evidence are collected to support a hypothesis, it becomes a working or a valid hypothesis, which is an important task on the way to becoming a theory. 

Though hypotheses and theories are often confusing; however, theories are the result of a tested hypothesis, while hypotheses are ideas or theories that explain the findings of the testing of those ideas or theories. 

According to Tanner: Scientific Hypotheses are theories or the ways that make sense of what we observe in the natural world. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and descriptively interpret facts.


Basics of Hypothesis

A hypothesis is a defined set of solutions for an unexplainable occurrence of something in the past that does not fit into the present accepted scientific theory/method. The basic idea of a hypothesis is that there is no predetermined result/outcome. To be scientifically valid a hypothesis must be supported or refuted through carefully crafted experimentation or observation.

Key Function of Scientific Method

A key function in the scientific method is generating predictions or premises from the hypotheses about the results of future experiments, and then performing experiments on these premises to see whether they support the predictions/premises and arguments.

We write a hypothesis in the form of an if or then statement, according to the University of California. This statement gives an ‘if’ possibility and explains what may/may not happen because of the possibility (then). The statement includes "may."

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Examples Supporting Scientific Hypothesis

Below is the list of statements supporting the scientific hypothesis:

  • If garlic leaf repels fleas, then a cat that is given garlic every day will not get fleas.

  • Bacterial growth may get affected by higher/lower moisture levels in the air.

  • If sugar can cause cavities, then people who eat a lot of candy or chocolate may be more prone to cavities.

  • If UV rays can damage your eyes, then maybe UV light may cause blindness.

Testing a Scientific Hypothesis

A hypothesis is examined by multiple scientists to ensure the integrity and accuracy of the experiment. This process can take a long period of years, and in many cases, the hypothesis scientific method does not undergo any further in the scientific method as it is difficult to collect sufficient supporting evidence.

Also, notice that all of the statements mentioned above are testable. The fundamental trait of a hypothesis is that something can be tested and that these tests can be reproduced, according to Midwestern State University.

An illustration of the untestable statement is, "Everyone love to visit Australia at least once in their life." The definition of love is subjective. Also, it would be an impossible task to poll every human about their travel history. An untestable statement can still be reworded to make it testable, though. 

For instance, the previous statement can be changed to, "If love is an important emotion and “visit” is one of the interests, some may believe that everyone should visit Australia once.

With the above statement, the researcher can work on a group of people to see how many love to visit Australia at least once in their lifetime.


Hypothesis Definition Science

To be useful in science a hypothesis must be supported with arguments made; however, scientists encounter the following issues:

During testing, a scientist may encounter two types of errors, i.e., Type I and Type II errors.

A Type I error occurs when the null hypothesis is rejected though it is true. 

A Type II error encounters when the null hypothesis is not rejected even though it is false.

FAQs on Scientific Hypothesis

Q1: State the Steps Involved in the Scientific Method.

Ans: In the scientific method, whether it is researching in the field of psychology, biology, or some other area, a hypothesis represents what the researchers think may happen truly in an experiment.

The scientific method involves the following eight steps:

  •  Forming a question

  • Performing background research

  • Creating a new hypothesis

  • Designing an experiment on the hypothesis

  • Collecting data after the experiment

  • Analyzing those results

  • Drawing conclusions

  • Communicating the results with the teammates

So, while studying and exploring the effects of a particular drug, the researchers might expect that hypothesis of the drug to have some type of effect on the symptoms of a specific illness. In psychology, the hypothesis may focus on how a certain aspect of the surroundings might influence a person’s behaviour.

Q2: State the Elements of a Good Hypothesis.

Ans: Scientists while trying to come up with a good hypothesis for their research or experiments, ask themselves the following questions:

Is their hypothesis based on their research on a topic?

Can the hypothesis be tested?

Does their hypothesis include either independent or dependent variables or both?

To form a hypothesis, scientists follow the steps like, they gather as many observations about a topic or problem as they can, evaluate observations and look for possible reasons for the problem, create a list of possible experimentations that can be performed on these.

After they develop a few possible hypotheses, they think of ways to confirm or disprove each hypothesis through experimentation. This process is known as falsifiability.

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