Pronunciation: /haɪˈpɒ θə sɪs/ ?

An hypothesis is a statement that is believed to be true, that is to be proved. A theory is a statement that has been proved and generally accepted. Five criteria for judging the usefulness of an hypothesis are[2]:

  • Testability - Can the hypothesis be checked using existing technology and theories.
  • Simplicity - Does the hypothesis have just a few main points.
  • Scope - Does the hypothesis cover general cases.
  • Fruitfulness - What is the possibility that the hypothesis will explain or help prove other cases in the future.
  • Conservatism - How well does the hypothesis fit with current theories.


  1. hypothesis. http://wordnet.princeton.edu/. WordNet. Princeton University. (Accessed: 2011-01-08). http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=hypothesis&sub=Search+WordNet&o2=&o0=1&o7=&o5=&o1=1&o6=&o4=&o3=&h=.
  2. Schick, Theodore and Vaughn, Lewis. How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age, 6th edition. McGraw-Hill, February 5, 2010.
  3. Couturat, Louis. The Algebra of Logic. Robinson, Gillingham Lydia. http://www.archive.org/stream/thealgebraoflogi10836gut/10836-pdf#page/n15/mode/1up/search/hypothesis.
  4. Devey, Joseph. Logic; or the Science of Inference, pg 2. Henry G. Bohn, 1865. (Accessed: 2010-02-11). http://www.archive.org/stream/logicorscienceof00deveiala#page/n15/mode/1up/search/hypothesis.

More Information

  • Writing Hypotheses. accessexcelence.org. Access Excellence. The National Health Museum. 2009-02-11. http://www.accessexcellence.org/LC/TL/filson/writhypo.php.
  • What is a Hypothesis. sciencekidsathome.com. Science Fair Project. Science Kids at Home. 2010-02-11. http://www.sciencekidsathome.com/science_fair/what-is-a-hypothesis.html#more.
  • Wolfs, Frank L. H.. Introduction to the Scientific Method. rochester.edu. 2010-02-11. http://teacher.nsrl.rochester.edu/phy_labs/AppendixE/AppendixE.html.

Printed Resources

Cite this article as:

Hypothesis. 2010-02-10. All Math Words Encyclopedia. Life is a Story Problem LLC. http://www.allmathwords.org/en/h/hypothesis.html.


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Revision History

2010-02-10: Added "References" (McAdams, David.)
2008-09-16: Initial version (McAdams, David.)

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