Tentative explanation for observation, phenomenon, or scientific problem that can be tested by further investigation.
Question: Why is the sky blue?
Hypothesis: Because someone painted a big sheet and dropped it over the world.
Research: Get in space rocket and go to the big blue sheet.
Results: Couldn’t find big blue sheet.
Observation: Go far enough and sky is black with white dots.
Conclusion: Hypothesis is incorrect – no big blue sheet.
This example makes the following points…
- Hypothesis – concept we are trying prove.
- Process to get from hypothesis to conclusion. Process called research, conclusion is new knowledge.
- “No” is a valid answer to hypothesis. If we disprove our hypothesis after trying to prove it then research has been successful. What we have learnt is added to body of knowledge (in above example, there is no big blue sheet making sky blue). Process eliminates one possible answer, others can concentrate efforts on alternative answers.