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### Hypothesis

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Hypothesis
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{{pp-semi-indef}}{{short description|Proposed explanation for an observation, phenomenon, or scientific problem}}{{About||the hypotheses of a theorem|Theorem|other uses|}}{{Redirect|Hypothetical|the 2001 progressive metal album|Hypothetical (album)|the comedy TV show|Hypothetical (TV series)}}{{pp-move-indef}}File:Cellarius Harmonia Macrocosmica - Hypothesis Ptolemaica.jpg|thumb|right|350px|The hypothesis of Andreas Cellarius, showing the planetary motions in eccentric and epicyclical orbitorbit{{Certainty}}A hypothesis (plural 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 with the available scientific theories. Even though the words "hypothesis" and "theory" are often used synonymously, a scientific hypothesis is not the same as a scientific theory. A working hypothesis is a provisionally accepted hypothesis proposed for further research, in a process beginning with an educated guess or thought. A different meaning of the term hypothesis is used in formal logic, to denote the antecedent of a proposition; thus in the proposition "If P, then Q", P denotes the hypothesis (or antecedent); Q can be called a consequent. P is the (:wikt:assumption|assumption) in a (possibly counterfactual) (wikt:what if|What If) question.The adjective hypothetical, meaning "having the nature of a hypothesis", or "being assumed to exist as an immediate consequence of a hypothesis", can refer to any of these meanings of the term "hypothesis".

## Scientific hypothesis

People refer to a trial solution to a problem as a hypothesis, often called an "educated guess""When it is not clear under which law of nature an effect or class of effect belongs, we try to fill this gap by means of a guess. Such guesses have been given the name conjectures or hypotheses.", Hans Christian Ã˜rsted(1811) "First Introduction to General Physics" Â¶18. Selected Scientific Works of Hans Christian Ã˜rsted, {{ISBN|0-691-04334-5}} p.297"In general we look for a new law by the following process. First we guess it. ...", â€”Richard Feynman (1965) The Character of Physical Law p.156 because it provides a suggested outcome based on the evidence. However, some scientists reject the term "educated guess" as incorrect. Experimenters may test and reject several hypotheses before solving the problem.According to Schick and Vaughn,BOOK, Schick, Theodore, Theodore Schick, Vaughn, Lewis, How to think about weird things: critical thinking for a New Age, McGraw-Hill Higher Education, Boston, 2002, 0-7674-2048-9, researchers weighing up alternative hypotheses may take into consideration:
• Testability (compare falsifiability as discussed above)
• Parsimony (as in the application of "Occam's razor", discouraging the postulation of excessive numbers of (wikt:entity|entities))
• Scope â€“ the apparent application of the hypothesis to multiple cases of phenomena
• Fruitfulness â€“ the prospect that a hypothesis may explain further phenomena in the future
• Conservatism â€“ the degree of "fit" with existing recognized knowledge-systems.

## Working hypothesis

A working hypothesis is a hypothesis that is provisionally accepted as a basis for further researchOxford Dictionary of Sports Science & Medicine. Eprint via Answers.com. in the hope that a tenable theory will be produced, even if the hypothesis ultimately fails.See in "hypothesis", Century Dictionary Supplement, v. 1, 1909, New York: The Century Company. Reprinted, v. 11, p. 616 (via Internet Archive) of the Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia, 1911. Like all hypotheses, a working hypothesis is constructed as a statement of expectations, which can be linked to the exploratory research purpose in empirical investigation. Working hypotheses are often used as a conceptual framework in qualitative research.JOURNAL
, Patricia M. Shields, Hassan Tajalli
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, Intermediate Theory: The Missing Link in Successful Student Scholarship
, Journal of Public Affairs Education
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, Pragmatism As a Philosophy of Science: A Tool For Public Administration
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, The provisional nature of working hypotheses make them useful as an organizing device in applied research. Here they act like a useful guide to address problems that are still in a formative phase.Patricia M. Shields and Nandhini Rangarajan. 2013. A Playbook for Research Methods: Integrating Conceptual Frameworks and Project Management. Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press. pp. 109â€“157In recent years, philosophers of science have tried to integrate the various approaches to evaluating hypotheses, and the scientific method in general, to form a more complete system that integrates the individual concerns of each approach. Notably, Imre Lakatos and Paul Feyerabend, Karl Popper's colleague and student, respectively, have produced novel attempts at such a synthesis.

## Hypotheses, concepts and measurement

Concepts in Hempel's deductive-nomological model play a key role in the development and testing of hypotheses. Most formal hypotheses connect concepts by specifying the expected relationships between propositions. When a set of hypotheses are grouped together they become a type of conceptual framework. When a conceptual framework is complex and incorporates causality or explanation it is generally referred to as a theory. According to noted philosopher of science Carl Gustav Hempel "An adequate empirical interpretation turns a theoretical system into a testable theory: The hypothesis whose constituent terms have been interpreted become capable of test by reference to observable phenomena. Frequently the interpreted hypothesis will be derivative hypotheses of the theory; but their confirmation or disconfirmation by empirical data will then immediately strengthen or weaken also the primitive hypotheses from which they were derived."Hempel, C. G. (1952). Fundamentals of concept formation in empirical science. Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, p. 36Hempel provides a useful metaphor that describes the relationship between a conceptual framework and the framework as it is observed and perhaps tested (interpreted framework). "The whole system floats, as it were, above the plane of observation and is anchored to it by rules of interpretation. These might be viewed as strings which are not part of the network but link certain points of the latter with specific places in the plane of observation. By virtue of those interpretative connections, the network can function as a scientific theory."Hempel, C. G. (1952). Fundamentals of concept formation in empirical science. Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, p. 36. Hypotheses with concepts anchored in the plane of observation are ready to be tested. In "actual scientific practice the process of framing a theoretical structure and of interpreting it are not always sharply separated, since the intended interpretation usually guides the construction of the theoretician."Hempel, C. G. (1952). Fundamentals of concept formation in empirical science. Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, p. 33. It is, however, "possible and indeed desirable, for the purposes of logical clarification, to separate the two steps conceptually."

### Statistical hypothesis testing

When a possible correlation or similar relation between phenomena is investigated, such as whether a proposed remedy is effective in treating a disease, the hypothesis that a relation exists cannot be examined the same way one might examine a proposed new law of nature. In such an investigation, if the tested remedy shows no effect in a few cases, these do not necessarily falsify the hypothesis. Instead, statistical tests are used to determine how likely it is that the overall effect would be observed if the hypothesized relation does not exist. If that likelihood is sufficiently small (e.g., less than 1%), the existence of a relation may be assumed. Otherwise, any observed effect may be due to pure chance.In statistical hypothesis testing, two hypotheses are compared. These are called the null hypothesis and the alternative hypothesis. The null hypothesis is the hypothesis that states that there is no relation between the phenomena whose relation is under investigation, or at least not of the form given by the alternative hypothesis. The alternative hypothesis, as the name suggests, is the alternative to the null hypothesis: it states that there is some kind of relation. The alternative hypothesis may take several forms, depending on the nature of the hypothesized relation; in particular, it can be two-sided (for example: there is some effect, in a yet unknown direction) or one-sided (the direction of the hypothesized relation, positive or negative, is fixed in advance).Altman. DG., Practical Statistics for Medical Research, CRC Press, 1990, Section 8.5,Conventional significance levels for testing hypotheses (acceptable probabilities of wrongly rejecting a true null hypothesis) are .10, .05, and .01. The significance level for deciding whether the null hypothesis is rejected and the alternative hypothesis is accepted must be determined in advance, before the observations are collected or inspected. If these criteria are determined later, when the data to be tested are already known, the test is invalid.Mellenbergh, G.J.(2008). Chapter 8: Research designs: Testing of research hypotheses. In H.J. AdÃ¨r & G.J. Mellenbergh (Eds.) (with contributions by D.J. Hand), Advising on Research Methods: A consultant's companion (pp. 183-209). Huizen, The Netherlands: Johannes van Kessel PublishingThe above procedure is actually dependent on the number of the participants (units or sample size) that are included in the study. For instance, to avoid having the sample size be too small to reject a null hypothesis, it is recommended that one specify a sufficient sample size from the beginning. It is advisable to define a small, medium and large effect size for each of a number of important statistical tests which are used to test the hypotheses.Altman. DG., Practical Statistics for Medical Research, CRC Press, 1990, Section 15.3,

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## Bibliography

{{Wiktionary|hypothesis}}{{Wikiversity}}
• "How science works", Understanding Science by the University of California Museum of Paleontology.
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