Research & Topics

Theories and Hypotheses

  • A theory predicts events in a broad, general context; a hypothesis makes a specific prediction about a specified set of circumstances.
  • A theory has been extensively tested and is generally accepted among scholars; a hypothesis is a speculative guess that has yet to be tested.

    Cherry, Kendra. Introduction to Research Methods: Theory and Hypothesis.© University of Southern California

  • Theories generally are classified as descriptive, [relational], or [explanatory]. The research designs that generate and test these types of theories are, respectively, descriptive, correlational, and experimental.