How Do You Create a Hypothesis About Fingerprinting?

To create a hypothesis for fingerprinting, investigators ask questions based on what they know about the specific topic in question and come up with a statement that can be proven through an experiment. Then, based on their prior observations, they develop a statement to test. For example, an experiment on whether fingerprints are hereditary might read "If fingerprints are hereditary, then testing with a fingerprinting kit will show that all members of a family have similar fingerprints."

A hypothesis can either be an 'if, then' statement or a null hypothesis, which states that there is no relationship between two things. When creating a hypothesis, a scientist or researcher strives to use clear terms and ensure that the hypothesis is testable. A new hypothesis builds on existing research and literature.

A school science fair project on fingerprints from sets of identical twins in the neighborhood might pose a hypothesis such as "If fingerprints are taken from identical twins, the patterns will be identical." A project on a racially diverse group of students might have a null hypothesis such as "Fingerprints are unrelated to a person's race." A forensic scientist conducting a study to improve the use of fingerprint evidence in criminal cases might present a hypothesis such as "If fingerprint experts working on a particular case are housed in separate facilities from other investigators on that case, then instances of bias would be reduced."