A hypothesis is a provisional idea whose merit requires further evaluation. In research, a hypothesis must be stated in operational terms to allow its soundness to be tested.
The term hypothesis derives from the Greek, which means “to put under” or “to suppose.” A scientific hypothesis is not the same as a scientific theory, even though the words hypothesis and theory are often used synonymously in common and informal usage. A theory might start as a hypothesis, but as it is subjected to scrutiny, it develops from a single testable idea to a complex framework that although perhaps imperfect has withstood the scrutiny of many research studies.
This entry discusses the role of hypotheses in research design, the types of hypotheses, and writing hypothesis.
Hypothesis in Research Design