How does a hypothesis become a theory?

Make a hypothesis

  • The derivation of hypotheses must be understandable.
  • Hypotheses must be generally valid, i.e. they must not only refer to an individual case or a one-off situation.
  • Hypotheses must be logical and conclusive, they must not contain any internal contradictions.
  • Hypotheses must be operationalizable, i. H. it must be possible to transfer their statements into an empirical design in order to check them.
  • Hypotheses must be falsifiable. In other words: it must be possible to formulate an opposing position and also to check its correctness empirically.
  • Hypotheses must be formulated as simple, as short and concise sentences as possible, which make the cause and effect and thus the assumed relationship of the variables clear, either as If-then construction (classificatory hypotheses) or as Ever-the-construction (comparative hypotheses).

There are basically two types of hypotheses that assume a different form of relationship between their variables: Connection and difference hypotheses.

There are two ways of formulating hypotheses. The inductive, in which a principle is inferred based on practice (often from an individual case), and the deductive, in which the hypotheses are derived from the theoretical discussion. Both make the character of the hypotheses clear: They are scientific assumptions whose correctness must first be proven.

Regardless of which path you take, this is followed by a translation into a concrete empirical design that is supposed to provide this proof.

If it turns out in the course of an investigation that a hypothesis cannot be proven, this is by no means a failure, but a meaningful and valuable result.

Nevertheless, one should make sure to formulate the hypotheses (especially for a thesis) in such a way that they do not all turn out to be untenable.

Remember that it is also possible to make contributions to the scientific discourse that do not require hypotheses and therefore require no empirical effort.