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ZingPath: Scientific Investigation

Scientific Hypotheses and Theories

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Scientific Investigation

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Scientific Hypotheses and Theories


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You will discover new details about the nature of science, as well as the history of biological discovery from ancient times to the modern day.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Explain scientific hypotheses.
  • Explain scientific theories.
  • Compare and contrast scientific hypotheses and theories.

Everything You'll Have Covered

What are the steps in the scientific method?

~ First, scientists ask a question that they would like answered. Next, information is gathered to help find solutions to these questions by doing background research. Scientists then form hypotheses, which are predictions made in the form of testable statements. After that, they test their hypotheses with experiments and analyze and document the results. The final step is to determine whether the hypothesis can be supported or disputed based on the results of the experiment.

What might cause changes in proven theories to come about?

~ Hypotheses are tentative statements. If the results are disputed, then new hypotheses are formed and the process is repeated. If the results are supported, new experiments are conducted to test the validity of the results. Moreover, hypotheses of durable explanatory power, which have been tested in a wide variety of conditions, may be incorporated into theories. A scientific theory is based on natural physical phenomena and is capable of being tested by multiple independent researchers. Scientific theories are well-established and highly reliable explanations based on the current state of knowledge, but are still subject to change as additional knowledge and new research evidence is collected.

How can you distinguish between scientific hypotheses and scientific theories?


Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 2 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Students should be familiar with Einstein, mass-energy relationship, and total energy.
Course Physics
Type of Tutorial Animation
Key Vocabulary evidence, experiment, experimental evidence