The foundation of science and experiments are questions. We wonder about how something is created or changes when we do something to it and the questioning process begins. In science these types of questions can transform into what is known as a hypothesis. This paper describes what are hypotheses and how it can be applied to the scientific process.
A hypothesis has several meanings however in science, a hypothesis can be described as “an educated guess, based on prior knowledge and observation or an explanation of why the guess may be correct, according to National Science Teachers Association.” (Bradford, 2015) Unlike questions, a hypothesis generally does not have an answer unless it is tested by doing some sort of experiment and can not be explained by a known scientific theory. Hypotheses are generally written as an if/then statement that “gives a possibility (if) and explains what may happen because of the possibility (then).” (Bradford, 2015) For example, if a person listens to a certain genre of music, then that person can be cured of their food addiction.
One of the main characteristics of a hypothesis is that the experiments created can be repeated and duplicated establishing increasing amounts of reliability and validity to the hypothesis being tested. This characteristic helps to decide on the kind of hypothesis that will be formulated. For example, the purpose and explanation of a null hypothesis can be explained as
“a hypothesis that proposes no relationship or difference between two variables. In scientific hypothesis-testing, one attempts to demonstrate the falsity of the null hypothesis, leaving one with the implication that the alternative, mutually exclusive, hypothesis is the acceptable one.” (“Null & Research Hypotheses”, n.d.) Whereas a research hypothesis, “we want to know whether the outcome is due to the treatment (independent variable) or due to chance (in which case our treatment is probably not effective).” (“Statistics: Null hypothesis”, n.d.) Knowing the type of hypothesis you have helps to develop the proper way of phrasing it.
For example if you wanted to conduct a study based on food addiction, a hypothesis statement could be: if a person becomes socially isolated, then that person can be cured of their food addiction. A null hypothesis using the same concept would be: social isolation has no effect on a person’s food addiction and a research hypothesis would be: social isolation cures food addiction. Understanding the various types of hypotheses helps you to develop effective experiments that can be explored and validated for years to come.