Distinguishing Between Hypothesis & Theory

Hypothesis vs Theory

Curiosity has driven people to search for the underlying causes of various phenomena. In the scientific method, explanations were developed based on theories that stemmed from hypotheses. A hypothesis becomes a theory when it is accepted, but a rejected hypothesis will never achieve that status. As such, it can be inferred that a hypothesis and a theory represent two stages of the scientific method, with varying degrees of scientific presence.


A hypothesis can be defined as a proposed scientific explanation for a particular phenomenon. It offers an explanation as a proposal, and the scientific method tests its validity through a specific procedure. A hypothesis can be repeatedly tested for validity as per the scientific method. It provides a solution to the identified problem and is considered an educated guess, as it explains the phenomenon based on evidence. The evidence for a phenomenon or the results of an experiment are used for the explanation, but these were already conjectured through the hypothesis. Notably, a hypothesis should be able to be accepted or rejected repeatedly if the same procedure is followed in the test. Formulating a hypothesis based on evidence and the results of previous studies takes time because the relationships must be sensibly examined before presenting the educated guess. Furthermore, a hypothesis is typically a long statement used in the scientific method.


A theory is the simplest tool that can be used to explain a specific phenomenon. The formulation of a theory involves several steps, with the final theory being proposed based on the results and their viability. The results are obtained from a test, which is based on the hypothesis or the proposed possible explanation using evidence and literature. Once a hypothesis has been accepted through favorable results, the next step is the formation of a theory. However, a theory may not cover the entire scope of the explained phenomenon, and its validity is not guaranteed because the proof of the theory relies on empirical data obtained for a specific place and time. A theory would not qualify as a law unless the data or the results of a study are universal. Thus, a theory is an accurate but debatable explanation for a particular phenomenon. For example, Charles Darwin’s explanation of the mechanism of evolution is still a theory, while Pythagoras’s explanation about the lengths of the sides of right-angled triangles is a law.

Key Takeaways

– A hypothesis is a prediction based on evidence, while a theory is a proven hypothesis based on results.
– A theory has greater validity than a hypothesis.
– A hypothesis can become a theory but not vice versa.

Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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