Once a question is asked, the scientist proceeds by guessing what the answer may be. It may sound unscientific or improper to make guesses at this time, but this guess is called an hypothesis and is essential for the procedure of science to continue.
Hypothesizing creates a "road map" to follow, by giving directions so that relevant experimentation may be accomplished. A good hypothesis is a prediction which can be tested.
Here again, as with good questioning, the best hypotheses are based on skill and experience. Some of the very best hypotheses, however, have been based on hunches, intuitions and even lucky accidents. Whatever the source of an hypothesis, it provides a short cut to answering a question about the initial observation. On rare occasions, a most unusual or surprising hypotheses may be postulated by a scientist which results in a major advance in science. Such remarkable discoveries are the expressions of a genius.
Such brilliant hypotheses of the past include Darwins theories of evolution, Newton's principles of physics, Einsteins theory of relativity, Mendels laws of inheritance and the DNA model of Watson and Crick. For each of these discoveries, an hypothesis was developed by the scientist and later was supported by considerable evidence.
For every hypothesis there must be a null hypothesis conceptualized and presented simultaneously. If the hypothesis is that DNA is the heredity material of all life, then to be scientific an opposing hypothesis must be developed which states that DNA is NOT the hereditary material of all life. This automatically makes all hypotheses falsifiable. The development of these dual hypotheses will then correctly lead to the next step, the testing of these guesses by experimentation.
Step #4: THE EXPERIMENT
PROCEDURES OF SCIENCE