People refer to a trial solution to a problem as a hypothesis, often called an "educated guess" because it provides a suggested solution based on the evidence. Experimenters may test and reject several hypotheses before solving the problem.
According to Schick and Vaughn, researchers weighing up alternative hypotheses may take into consideration:
- Testability (compare falsifiability as discussed above)
- Parsimony (as in the application of "Occam's razor", discouraging the postulation of excessive numbers of entities)
- Scope – the apparent application of the hypothesis to multiple cases of phenomena
- Fruitfulness – the prospect that a hypothesis may explain further phenomena in the future
- Conservatism – the degree of "fit" with existing recognized knowledge-systems.
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