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STEP OR STAGE #7 of the Scientific Method


Scientific Method Hypothesis

Review the starting guides at the beginning of Stage #6. Your educated guess, technically The Hypothesis, is a proposed solution to the most recent definition of your problem. It is your choice of the most-likely-to-be-successful solution from the list of contending ones which you have evaluated.

Terminology, Definitions, and Descriptions

  • The hypothesis is often called "the educated guess," because scientists have long recognized the difficulty of arriving at the real "truth."
  • Working hypothesis" is a term used to describe this proposed solution. It is only a "candidate for truth," as it must always be challenged under Stage #8.
  • A hypothesis would be a theory of nature in scientific fields. In other fields, it could be a decision, plan, diagnosed illness, idea, design, invention, etc.
  • More than one hypothesis (hypotheses) - you might propose more than one solution. Problems in the social sciences often require several hypotheses.
  • A perfect solution is seldom obtained in solving complex problems.
  • Inductive reasoning has helped you to reach your hypothesis. (See Stage #14)
  • Valuable even if proven false - a hypothesis may often be wrong but may eventually lead to a discovery, a new field to explore, or a modification of the hypothesis.

Scientific Method Hypothesis

Characteristics or Traits of a Hypothesis

These are desirable but not always essential or possible:
Relevant and adequate Adds to existing knowledge
Logically possible In simplest terms possible
Conducive to further inquiry Answers defined problem
Verifiable or falsifiable Consistent with existing knowledge

Scientific Method Interactive

Predict Consequences of a Hypothesis

Now that you have chosen a hypothesis, you must make predictions of why and how something will occur, based on the accuracy of your hypothesis. Actions are interactive as testing these predictions helps you challenge, verify, justify, or falsify your hypothesis in Step or Stage #8. Then others can do so after you take action at Step or Stage #11.

Types of Consequences and Predictions:

  • If change is made, consequences will be . . .
  • If experiment is made, it will show . . .
  • If reasoned out, results will be . . .
  • If cost and benefits are computed, they will show . . .
  • If survey or interview is conducted, it will show . . .
  • If mathematical computation is made using certain data, it will show . . .
  • If a model is made, this will happen . . .
  • If a computer simulation is programmed, it will show . . .

Scientific Method Hypothesis

The Technology Era Requires Technical Working Hypotheses

You often hear the term "Science & Technology" but often Technology is lumped under "Science." Regardless, the method of technology is the same as the method of science. You use the scientific method in originating, arriving at a working hypothesis, and finally in solving technology problems as well as when applying technology.

Scientific Method Hypothesis

The Technology Panel of AAAS' Project 2061, in their 1989 - Phase I Report, states:

Technology education should emphasize problem solving. The posing and solving of problems, increasingly complex as students move from kindergarten through the twelfth grade, will enable students to develop techniques that are vital to living in a technical world of diverse cultures and technical status.

The problems and their solutions may be technical experimental, mathematical technical-social, or value-laden. Designing alternatives to circumvent problems and learning to deal with options are also important techniques ... Observation, measurement, and analysis are universal tools of technology ... Intelligent observation is critical to invention ...