Hypothetico-Deductive Method 13 min read


Learning Objectives

  • Hypothetico-deductive Approach or Method
    • Concept of the hypothetico-deductive Approach
    • The process involved in the hypothetico-deductive Approach
    • Example

Concept of the hypothetico-deductive method

The hypothetico-deductive method relies on the concept of falsification, an alternative to inductivism. The method is based on the works of Karl Popper. According to Popper, “Scientific theories are falsifiable.” The theory is stronger if the theory is falsifiable in principle. Falsificationists believe that theories should be submitted to rigorous testing such as experiment and observation, and those that stand up to the testing are the strongest theories. If a theory has a fault, it is falsified and must be eliminated.

Hypothetico-deductive method or model is a proposed explanation of the scientific method. According to this method, the scientific inquiry proceeds by formulating a hypothesis and could be conceivably falsified by a test on observable data. The hypothetico-deductive is one of the cornerstones of scientific research, often regarded as the only true scientific research method.

Unlike deductive approach or method to research, the hypothetico-deductive method provides much emphasis on the refutation of the incorrect or unverifiable hypothesis and to put effort into forming the revised hypothesis, which is testable. Thus, the hypothetico-deductive method suggests the ever-improving cycle of hypothesis formation that follows the continuous cycle of refutation and revisions of the hypothesis unless the hypothesis is accepted or verified.

The process involved in the hypothetico-deductive method

The hypothetico-deductive method starts with a hypothesis that relies on general phenomena. From the hypothesis, the researcher generates some initial predictions, which can be proved or disproved by the experimental process. These predictions must be inherently testable for the hypothetico-deductive methods to be a valid process. Thus, the hypothesis must be testable and realistic. The proposed hypothesis is tested after analyzing the data collected through observation and various other data collecting techniques. If the hypothesis is refuted, then a revised hypothesis is formed and the same previous process is continued. If the hypothesis is confirmed, then the theory is confirmed.

hypothetico-deductive approach or method to research

The figure clearly depicts the process of Hypothetico-deductive method. Its process is akin to that of the deductive method. However, the significant departure between the two methods occurs when the hypothesis gets rejected. The deductive method does not suggest for revised hypothesis and re-conduct the hypothesis testing. On the other hand, the hypothetico-deductive method suggests hypothesis revision and re-conduction of the hypothesis testing unless the hypothesis is accepted.

Example

For example: As the price of products increases, the demand decreases (Law of demand). This is a general phenomenon. Hence, the possible hypothesis can be: There is a negative relationship between price and demand. Let us choose a product from the market, and predict its relationship with price. Suppose we chose cigarette for our analysis; therefore, the demand for cigarette increases with a decrease in price. After data collection and analysis, it is found that the demand for a cigarette is unaffected by its price. Thus, the hypothesis is refuted. The revised hypothesis must be constructed, that is, there is a negative relationship between price and demand for elastic goods.

Again, Let us choose an elastic product from the market, and predict its relationship with price. Suppose we selected Sugar for our analysis; accordingly, demand for sugar increases with a reduction in price. After data collection and analysis, it is found that the demand for sugar is negatively affected by its price. Thus, the hypothesis is confirmed. The negative relationship between price and demand for elastic goods exists is the confirmed theory. Consequently, Law of demand is examined, and finally concluded that Law of demand holds in case of elastic goods only.

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