What is the definition of "testable hypothesis?"


A testable hypothesis is one that can be proved or disproved by conducting a scientific experiment. Scientists often call such hypotheses “falsifiable” if an experiment will render it valid or invalid. Falsifiable hypothesis are crucial to science and for advancing knowledge.

Quality hypotheses usually feature strong language and definitive statements. Hypotheses are best when they lack qualifiers, such as the words “may,” “can” or “might.” These words weaken a hypothesis, and leave it open to interpretation. This is the opposite goal of a hypothesis. A hypothesis must state a presumed outcome, even if it turns out to be wrong after experimental tests.

Most often, falsifiable hypotheses include an “if and then” component. For example, a hypothesis may state, “if it rains, then the ground will be wet.” This is easily testable, as one can simply observe the ground after a rain. If the ground is wet, then the hypothesis is confirmed. By contrast, if the ground is not wet following a rain, the hypothesis has been falsified.

Some hypothesis may not be testable, even though they are theoretically falsifiable. For example, scientists hypothesize that the sun produces energy via a thermonuclear reaction. While this is likely true, it is currently impossible for scientists to send a probe into the center of the sun to test the hypothesis.

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