25 examples of hypotheses to better understand the scientific method.
Examples of hypotheses used in different branches of science, to understand how they work.
Hypotheses are the central element of the scientific method and the way in which we can establish conjectures.
However, it is sometimes difficult to understand the logic involved in these approaches. That is why we are going to a tour of 25 examples of hypotheses in order to clarify how the scientific method works..
What is a hypothesis and what is it for?
Before explaining each of the 25 examples of hypotheses, we must define this concept. The word hypothesis comes from Greek and means below the conclusion supported by reasoning. It is a statement about a question that we are trying to verify.. When this happens, the hypothesis ceases to be a hypothesis and becomes a verified statement, because we have verified that the phenomenon in question occurs as we had anticipated.
The hypothesis is the fundamental body of the scientific method. Any advance in science is preceded by the establishment of a scientific hypothesis put forward by a researcher. The important thing is that this hypothesis must have been formulated on the basis of previously collected data.. It can then stand as a proposal that attempts to explain a phenomenon whose functioning was hitherto unknown.
The other option is to try to demonstrate the hypothesis through empirical testing. For this, the hypothesis must be falsifiable, that is, it must be sufficiently clear so that the researchers are able to carry out the experiment that allows them to verify that the approach and the result are correct or, on the contrary, that they are not.
In order to state a hypothesis, the first thing we have to do is to gather all the available data we need. Then we will have to compare them in order to establish the different explanations for the phenomenon we are studying. Finally we will choose the one that offers us the highest probability of being plausible and we will formulate the hypothesis on it.
List of 25 examples of hypotheses, explained
Once we know in detail what the concept we are dealing with consists of, we can now go on to list the 25 examples of hypotheses that will allow us to consolidate this knowledge.
1. Life expectancy of elephants
A first hypothesis could be that the life expectancy of elephants is 70 years. In order to formulate this hypothesis, we will have to verify the age at which most elephants die according to the records. Once the data have been collected we will average to verify that, indeed, these animals die when they reach a figure around 70 years of age.
2. On Mars there was liquid water
Another hypothesis would be that there was liquid water on Mars. In this case it is clear that scientists cannot travel back in time and prove that the Red Planet did indeed harbor liquid water, but they can base their assertion on evidence that exists today, such as geographical features that could have been generated by the course of rivers.
3. Each generation is more intelligent than the previous one
The hypothesis that each generation of human beings is more intelligent than its predecessor should be tested by comparing the IQ studies of the different generations to see if indeed the results improve in each cycle.
4. Diamond is the hardest mineral
To test whether the hypothesis that diamond is the hardest mineral is true, geologists have to test the hardness of all known minerals. If diamond turns out to be the hardest of them all, the hypothesis will be verified as true, at least until another harder one is found.
5. The vote in favor of Brexit was higher in rural areas
If, prior to the Brexit elections, studies prepared hypotheses such as that the Brexit vote would be more abundant in rural regions than in urban areas, this statement could be corroborated once all the votes were counted and a mapping by areas was carried out.
6. It is possible to condition insects
Another of the 25 examples of hypotheses could be that it is possible to apply the learning method known as conditioning even in insects. The studies to prove it will imply investigations in which it is tried to condition some of these animal species, as it has been done.
7. Vitamin C improves the immune system
Medical researchers may have considered that certain doses of vitamin C in the human body were capable of improving our immune system. The study would involve the application of this vitamin in a study group vs. a study group versus a control group that would not be given any vitamin C.. If the former developed a stronger immune system, it would mean that the hypothesis was correct.
8. The freezing point of mercury is -38.83ºC.
Another example of hypothesis would be that the freezing point of mercury is set at -38.83ºC, easily verifiable by lowering the temperature of this material and checking the exact degree at which the change in the state of matter occurs.
9. Millions of years ago, there was a primordial continent.
Geologists maintain the hypothesis that millions of years ago, there was only one continent on Earth, which they call Pangaea. It cannot be proved directly because it is a past fact, but researches point out that this hypothesis is correct.
10. Abortion legislation in Catholic vs. Protestant countries
A sociological hypothesis could state that traditionally Catholic countries are more restrictive in terms of abortion legislation than Protestant countries. To test whether the hypothesis is correct or not, it would be necessary to review the laws of Catholic and Protestant countries on this issue and establish a general comparison.
11. Chimpanzees have theory of mind
Continuing with the 15 examples of hypotheses, another of them would be that chimpanzees have theory of mind. The studies referred to this matter have to empirically verify with some specimens of these animals if they pass certain tests that are key to be able to make such an affirmation.
12. The cheetah can reach up to 130 km/h
The hypothesis that cheetahs can reach 130 km/h while running would have to be corroborated by taking measurements of these animals when they are at their top speed, chasing prey in the open field.
13. Black holes emit radiation
A hypothesis established by the physicist Stephen Hawking is that black holes emit radiation, the Hawking radiation. Thanks to an analogous model experiment developed by Dr. Juan Ramón Muñoz de Nova and published in the journal Nature in 2019, it has been shown that such radiation does indeed exist.
14. Phosphane gas exists in the atmosphere of Venus
One of the most recent studies tries to test the hypothesis of whether there is indeed phosphane gas in the atmosphere of Venus, which could be a Biological indicator.
15. The participation in the elections will exceed 70%.
Continuing the list of the 25 hypothetical examples, we could anticipate that the turnout in the next general election would exceed 70%. The only way to test the hypothesis is to wait for the recount and see if this figure is indeed exceeded.
16. Dogs can learn by imitation
One hypothesis about animal behavior would be that dogs are capable of learning by imitation, that is, by vicarious learning. There are studies on this subject in which researchers have developed situations to test the assertion and have come to the conclusion that it is correct.
17. The blue whale is the largest animal in the world.
A statement in the form of a hypothesis is that there is no animal larger than the blue whale in the world. So far it has been proven to be true, since none of them exceeds the 29 meters that this cetacean can reach.
18. The escape velocity of the Earth is 11.19 km/s.
Physicists established at the time the hypothesis that no object can leave the Earth if it does not exceed 11.19 km/s. This assertion was based on calculations and was later empirically proven by launching the first rockets that managed to leave the atmosphere behind.
19. The deepest place on Earth is the Mariana Trench.
Another hypothesis states that there is no deeper place on our planet than the Mariana Trench. This place reaches 11 kilometers below sea level and so far no other deeper place has been found.
20. The continent with the highest birth rate is Africa
In the 25 examples of hypotheses we could include that Africa is the continent with the highest birth rate. This statement can be checked in a simple way, by comparing the following indicators of the five continents and finding that the African continent is the largest of them.
21. Breathing exercises reduce anxiety
A hypothesis related to the pathology of anxiety is that certain breathing exercises reduce this symptomatology, at least in part. This can be tested with an experimental group versus a control group.
22. Homo sapiens emerged more than 300,000 years ago.
The hypothesis that our species has been on Earth for at least 300,000 years has been proven to be true, since there are sites with the remains of Homo sapiens dating back 315,000 years.
23. Pluto takes 247 years to complete its translation.
The astronomers could establish the hypothesis that Pluto takes more than 247 years to complete a cycle around the Sun, a verifiable question by making the corresponding observations and calculations.
24. The highest mountain in the Solar System is Mount Olympus.
Likewise, it could be stated that there is no higher mountain in the entire Solar System than Mount Olympus on Mars, since it reaches a height of 22.5 km and no higher elevation has been observed.
25. The Dutch are the tallest Europeans
The last of the hypothesis examples is that the Dutch are the tallest Europeans. We will be able to say that the hypothesis is true by comparing the average height indices of the different countries of Europe and finding that that of the Netherlands is the highest among them.
- Abreu, J. (2012). Hypothesis, method & research design. Daena: International Journal of Good Conscience.
- Nova, J.R.M. de, Golubkov, K., Kolobov, V.I., Steinhauer, J. (2019). Observation of thermal Hawking radiation and its temperature in an analogue black hole. Nature.
- Herrera, J. A., Sacasas, J. A. F. (2010). The clinical method and the scientific method. Medisur.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)