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How to Write a Conclusion | Experiment | Hypothesis
: In everyday language, the word usually refers to an educated guess or an idea that we are quite uncertain about. Scientific hypotheses, however, are much more informed than any guess and are usually based on prior experience, scientific background knowledge, preliminary observations, and logic. In addition, hypotheses are often supported by many different lines of evidence in which case, scientists are more confident in them than they would be in any mere "guess." To further complicate matters, science textbooks frequently misuse the term in a slightly different way. They may ask students to make a about the outcome of an experiment (e.g., table salt will dissolve in water more quickly than rock salt will). This is simply a prediction or a guess (even if a well-informed one) about the outcome of an experiment. Scientific hypotheses, on the other hand, have explanatory power they are explanations for phenomena. The idea that table salt dissolves faster than rock salt is not very hypothesis-like because it is not very explanatory. A more scientific (i.e., more explanatory) hypothesis might be "The amount of surface area a substance has affects how quickly it can dissolve. More surface area means a faster rate of dissolution." This hypothesis has some explanatory power it gives us an idea of a particular phenomenon occurs and it is testable because it generates expectations about what we should observe in different situations. If the hypothesis is accurate, then we'd expect that, for example, sugar processed to a powder should dissolve more quickly than granular sugar. Students could examine rates of dissolution of many different substances in powdered, granular, and pellet form to further test the idea. The statement "Table salt will dissolve in water more quickly than rock salt" is not a hypothesis, but an expectation generated by a hypothesis. Textbooks and science labs can lead to confusions about the difference between a hypothesis and an expectation regarding the outcome of a scientific test. To learn more about scientific hypotheses, visit in our section on how science works.
CORRECTION: Perhaps because the Scientific Method and popular portrayals of science emphasize , many people think that science can't be done an experiment. In fact, there are ways to test almost any scientific idea; experimentation is only one approach. Some ideas are best tested by setting up a in a lab, some by making detailed observations of the natural world, and some with a combination of strategies. To study detailed examples of how scientific ideas can be tested fairly, with and without experiments, check out our side trip .
Experiment 1 - The Eggsperiment with Vinegar ..
One common misinterpretation about treatment differences needs clarification. For example, assume an experiment was conducted to test the effect of N rate on tomato yield and the ANOVA found no significant difference between the grower rate and the recommended (lower) rate at the 5% probability level. This finding means that there is such a rare chance of a real treatment difference occurring that we can be confident the grower can reduce the commercial fertilizer rate. The actual means may be 2,950 and 2,920 boxes/acre for the grower and recommended rates, respectively. An argument could be made to someone without knowledge in statistics that the 30 boxes/acre "difference" is "worth" $600 (30 boxes at $20/box) and that amount will more than pay for the added fertilizer with the grower rate. This conclusion is erroneous because the ANOVA indicated no significant difference between the two treatment means. Therefore, the appropriate representation of the response to fertilizer is the average of the two means (i. e., 2,935 boxes per acre). Said another way, other factors on the farm impact yield more than fertilizer rate.
The Scientific Method | Experiment
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