HypothesisA supposition based on observed fact. It can be tested by experiment or further observation followed by analysis of the data collected. Formulation and testing of hypotheses are fundamental in scientific enquiry. A hypotheses (or set of hypotheses) which amounts to a statement of basic principles becomes a 'theory', for example the theory of evolution by natural selection.
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From Peter Weaver's Birdwatcher's Dictionary
Copyright © 1981 by Peter Weaver