Definition: A hypothesis is an unproven statement relating the connection between variables (Glass & Hall, 2008) and can be based on prior experiences, scientific knowledge, preliminary observations, theory and/or logic. In scientific testing, a hypothesis can be usually formulated with (e.g. a positive correlation) or without a direction (e.g. there will be a correlation). Popper (1959) posits that hypotheses must be falsifiable, that is, it must be conceivably possible to prove the hypothesis false. However, hypothesis testing based on falsification has been argued to be vague, as it is contingent on many other untested assumptions in the hypothesis (i.e., auxiliary hypotheses). Longino (1990, 1992) argued that ontological heterogeneity should be valued more than ontological simplicity for the biological sciences, which considers we should investigate differences between and within biological organisms.

Related terms: Auxiliary Hypothesis, Confirmatory analyses, False negative result, False positive result, Modelling, Predictions, Quantitative research, Theory, Theory building, Type I error, Type II error

References: Beller and Bender (2017), Glass and Hall (2008), Longino (1990, 1992), & Popper (1959)

Drafted and Reviewed by: Ana Barbosa Mendes, Ali H. Al-Hoorie, Mahmoud Elsherif, Helena Hartmann, Charlotte R. Pennington, Graham Reid, Olly Robertson

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