How Do You Test a Theory?


Quick Answer

To test a scientific theory, first choose the hypothesis of the theory, and gather as much data as possible, whether it supports the hypothesis or not. If all the data gathered supports the hypothesis, the theory is correct. If the data disproves the hypothesis, the hypothesis needs revising.

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Full Answer

  1. Choose a phenomenon and hypothesis

    Start by deciding what scientific theory to test. Gather existing data, and learn as much as possible about the phenomenon. Using the data, look for patterns to create a hypothesis about why that phenomenon happens.

  2. Test the hypothesis

    Run tests to try to prove or disprove the hypothesis. Continue to gather new evidence around the phenomenon for as long as possible. As the evidence comes in, sort it into two groups: evidence that supports the theory and evidence that doesn't.

  3. Analyze the results

    Analyze all the data collected before declaring a hypothesis and the data collected during the testing of the hypothesis. If the evidence doesn't support the theory, then start over, and revise the hypothesis based on the information. If all the evidence supports the theory, then the theory has been proven true. A theory that can't be disproved for a long period of time eventually becomes a scientific law.

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