1. (noun) A proposed and testable explanation between two or more variables that predicts an outcome or explains a phenomenon.

2. (noun) An assumption.

3. (noun) (informal) A guess to test.

Example: Reading sociology definitions will increase a person’s understanding of sociology.

Audio Pronunciation: (hy·poth·e·sis)

Download Audio Pronunciation: hypothesis.mp3

Usage Notes:

  • Plural: hypotheses
  • A hypothesis must have the capacity to be disconfirmed or proven false to have meaning. For example, “criminals” commit more crimes than “noncriminals” cannot be proven wrong.
  • A hypothesis can either come from theory (deduction) or lead to theory (induction).
  • A working hypothesis refers to a hypothesis that has not been fully tested and verified.
  • Hypothesis testing is the process of testing a hypothesis in a scientific manner which requires a link between the concepts or variables under investigation and rigorous testing methodology.
  • A (noun) hypothesist or (noun) hypothetist (verb) hypothesizes (adverb) hypothetically about social issues to create a (adjective) hypothetical or (adjective) hypothetic or (adjective) hypothistic explanations.

Additional Information:

Related Terms:

Contributor: C. E. Seaman

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How to Cite the Definition of Hypothesis

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Seaman, C. E. 2015. “hypothesis.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary, edited by Kenton Bell. Retrieved December 12, 2018 (https://sociologydictionary.org/hypothesis/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

Seaman, C. E. (2015). hypothesis. In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/hypothesis/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Seaman, C. E. 2015. “hypothesis.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary, edited by Kenton Bell. Accessed December 12, 2018. https://sociologydictionary.org/hypothesis/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

Seaman, C. E. “hypothesis.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2015. Web. 12 Dec. 2018. <https://sociologydictionary.org/hypothesis/>.