What is a hypothesis?

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A hypothesis is an educated guess or idea to explain an observation or a relationship between two or more variables.  It is statement of speculation or a prediction which has not been validated.  Hypotheses (plural) are typically written as "if,then" statements.  For example, "If I do (A), then (B) will happen."  A hypothesis is also testable and one could design an experiment to support or disprove its claim.  A good hypothesis always states what one expects to happen as a result of the experiment.  The results of an experiment can support the hypothesis, but they can not prove it; however, the experiment can disprove the hypothesis. In everyday language, hypothesis is often interchanged with theory, but they are very different.  There is some variation among the disciplines of science, but for the most part theory is an accepted standard based on extensive research, data & testing, in other words theory is a widely accepted hypothesis.  

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