Encyclopedia of Science Education

Living Edition
| Editors: Richard Gunstone

Hypothetico-deductive Method

  • Anton E. Lawson
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6165-0_260-1
The hypothetico-deductive (HD) method, sometimes called the scientific method, is a cyclic pattern of reasoning and observation used to generate and test proposed explanations (i.e., hypotheses and/or theories) of puzzling observations in nature. The goal of the method is to derive useful knowledge – in the sense that causes are determined such that reliable predictions about future events can be made. The term “method” may be somewhat misleading as use of the HD method does not insure success. The method may fail for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that the “correct” causal explanation may not occur to the scientist, effective ways of testing proposed causes may not occur to the scientist, and proposed tests may not be feasible with available technology or funding. The following seven steps and four inferences are involved:
  1. 1.

    Scientists undertake explorations that lead to puzzling observations. For example, in 1610, Galileo used his newly invented telescope to observe...


Initial Explanation Wishful Thinking Declarative Knowledge Confirmation Bias Premature Closure 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Life SciencesArizona State UniversityTempeUSA