Debates—Hypothesis testing in hydrology: A view from the field: The value of hydrologic hypotheses in designing field studies and interpreting the results to advance hydrology

Water Resources Research | McKnight [2017]


Advances in hydrology are greatly needed and approaches that employ hypotheses to guide research have the potential to contribute to future advances. In this context, hypotheses can serve a range of purposes. Overarching hypotheses can provide a common integrating framework for collaborative research and can be revised as research progresses over time. Hypotheses that attempt to explain unexpected field observations or experimental results can provide a guide for designing further field studies. Focused testable hypotheses can facilitate effective presentation of proposed research, and clarify alternative hypotheses. Finally, the value of employing a hypothesis-based approach depends upon the research environment, which can act as an “environmental filter” in determining successful research outcomes.

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