What does it mean when data supports a hypothesis? How about when data "refutes" a hypothesis?

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gsenviro | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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A hypothesis is a proposed idea that may explain an observation or phenomena. It is verified by testing it. If the data supports the hypothesis, then we consider the hypothesis to be verified and true. If however, the data does not support the hypothesis or refutes it, then the hypothesis is in trouble, and we have to come up with a different hypothesis to explain the observations. 

If a large body of data supports the hypothesis, then it becomes a theory. And if data refutes it, then we discard the hypothesis in favor of a different or a more refined hypothesis. Note that a lot of supporting data is required for a hypothesis to become a theory, and the theory must stand further tests. 

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englishivy | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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Simply put, a hypothesis is supported when data proves the hypothesis to be true or valid. In contrast, a hypothesis can be refuted by data that proves it to be false or incorrect.

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user4362029 | eNotes Newbie

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  • it does support it
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