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For the 1980 electronica album, see Hypothesis (album).
"Hypothetical" redirects here. For the 2001 progressive metal album, see Hypothetical
A hypothesis (from Greek ὑπόθεσις [iˈpoθesis]) consists either of a suggested
explanation for an observable phenomenon or of a reasoned proposal predicting a
possible causal correlation among multiple phenomena. The term derives from the Greek,
hypotithenai meaning "to put under" or "to suppose." The scientific method requires that
one can test a scientific hypothesis. Scientists generally base such hypotheses on
previous observations or on extensions of scientific theories. Even though the words
"hypothesis" and "theory" are often used synonymously in common and informal usage, a
scientific hypothesis is not the same as a scientific theory. A hypothesis is never to be
stated as a question, but always as a statement with an explanation following it. It is not
to be a question because it states what the experimenter thinks will occur. Hypotheses are
usually written in the "if-then form": If X, then Y.
A hypothesis is an educated guess, based on observation. Usually, a hypothesis can be
supported or refuted through experimentation or more observation. A hypothesis can be
disproven, but not proven to be true.
Example: If you see no difference in the cleaning ability of various laundry detergents,
you might hypothesize that cleaning effectiveness is not affected by which detergent you
use. You can see this hypothesis can be disproven if a stain is removed by one detergent
and not another. On the other hand, you cannot prove the hypothesis. Even if you never
see a difference in the cleanliness of your clothes after trying a thousand detergents, there
might be one you haven't tried that could be different.