A doctrine, or scheme of things, which terminates in speculation or contemplation, without a view to practice; hypothesis; speculation.
An exposition of the general or abstract principles of any science; as, the theory of music.
The science, as distinguished from the art; as, the theory and practice of medicine.
The philosophical explanation of phenomena, either physical or moral; as, Lavoisier's theory of combustion; Adam Smith's theory of moral sentiments.
A set of propositions or analyses designed to show the relationships between any number of variables or phenomena; feminist theory seeks to explicate the relationships among gender, sexuality, and power as these create male dominance and maintain women's subordination.
An explanation for some natural phenomenon that has a large body of supporting evidence; to be considered scientific, a theory must be testable.
set of interrelated principles and definitions that serve to conceptually organize selected aspects of the empirical world in a systematic way. A theory attempts to provide systematic explanations and predictions relating to the nature, patterns, and dynamics of human social interaction, and often produces an account of the social world that goes beyond what can be seen or measured.
a step in the scientific method in which a statement is generated on the basis of highly confirmed hypotheses and is used to generalize about conditions not yet tested.
A plausible or coherent scenario that has yet to be applied to experience.
A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, normally involving a number of interconnected hypotheses.
rational explanation for a phenomenon that is supported by repeatable experiments
an integrated set of statements that explain various phenomena.
explanation of a problem based upon observations and experiments.
an integrated set of statements that summarizes and explains research findings, and from which research hypotheses may be derived. (38)
A logically consistent set of principles which account for, explain, or render intelligible a set of observations.
An explanation or hypothesis that is supported by a wide body of evidence. (Contrast with hypothesis, paradigm.) Thermoneutral zone • The range of temperatures over which an endotherm does not have to expend extra energy to thermoregulate.
a supposition, or system of ideas that has been proposed to explain a given happening in the world.
An idea or model of how something in the world works, which can be used to make predictions. go to glossary index
a coherent collection of principles used in the science of psychology to explain phenomena. A substantial proportion of theories in psychology are related to the mechanisms by which things work.
A way of explaining or trying to explain a set of facts.
(the'-o-ry) A scientifically accepted general principle or body of principles offered to explain natural phenomena that is consistent with evidence, data, and experimental results. Theories can be disproved, but it is scientifically impossible to prove a theory correct.
An explanatory framework, containing a series of statements, that helps us understand why (something exists); theories suggest patterns, connections, and relationships that may be confirmed by new research.
a hypothesis that is confirmed through repeated experimentation.
A hypothesis that makes valid predictions, as demonstrated by evidence that is testable, unbiased, and repeatable.
A principle that explains a body of facts and the laws based on them.
A series of interrelated propositions that attempt to describe, explain, predict, and ultimately to control some class of events. A theory gains explanatory power from inherent logical consistency and is “tested” by how well it describes and predicts reality.
A scientific idea supported by an abundance of evidence that has passed many tests and failed none.
A scientific theory is an established and experimentally verified fact or collection of facts about the world. Unlike the everyday use of the word theory, it is not an unproved idea, or just some theoretical speculation. The latter meaning of a 'theory' in science is called a hypothesis.
a formulation of apparent relationships or underlying principles of certain observed phenomena which has been verified to some degree.
Gk. theorein, to look at] A generalization based on many observations and experiments; a verified hypothesis.
Coherent set of related concepts that seeks to organize and explain data and to generate hypotheses to be tested by research. (20)
A set of interrelated propositions that aim to explain or predict phenomena, thereby attempting to make the world more intelligible; systematic reflection on phenomena, designed to explain them or show how they are related to each other in a meaningful, intelligent pattern.
A statement of cause and effect that attempts to explain or predict a behavior or event. Note: This term varies in complexity depending on whether one takes a philosophical view or a purely scientific view.
A conceptual formulation that provides a rational explanation or framework for numerous related observations.
a thoroughly tested model that explains why experiments give certain results.
Larger body of principles offered to explain phenomena.
An analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another, offered to explain events.
A concept that attempts to explain the relationships between events and that may be used to predict or control those events.
A formally stated and coherent set of propositions that purport to explain a range of phenomena, order them in a logical way, and suggest what additional information might be gleaned under certain conditions.
An hypothesis supported to some extent by evidence but not conclusively proven or accepted as a law.
Hypothesis, or set of related hypotheses, that withstood repeated testing to the point of widespread acceptance by the scientific community.
A statement that explains other facts or that predicts the occurrence of events.
A coherent set of ideas that helps to explain data and to make predictions.
An answer to a question; an explaination of why people do what they do.
level: Comprehensive (3) [ order by level] A more mature, more complex, and wider-ranging human mental construct than a hypothesis.
a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena; "theories can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses"; "true in fact and theory"
a tentative theory about the natural world; a concept that is not yet verified but that if true would explain certain facts or phenomena; "a scientific hypothesis that survives experimental testing becomes a scientific theory"; "he proposed a fresh theory of alkalis that later was accepted in chemical practices"
a "best guess"
a broad explanation that synthesizes many different once-unrelated facts observations, facts, and findings to explain natural processes or phenomena
a broad generalization of a set of ideas that have been supported by copious amounts of experimentation
a broad generalization that explains a body of facts or phenomena
a broadly based, widely accepted hypothesis supported by at least some good experimental evidence
a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena
a coherent model that has been substantiated by empirical evidence or experiment and has no known exceptions
a complete organization of a consistently proven hypothesis about a natural situation
a complex construction of facts explaining something
a complex intersubjective construct built from hypothesis, which is precisely what Evolution is
a conceptual framework that explains existing facts and predicts new ones
a conceptual framework which unifies disparate-seeming phenomena and laws
a conceptual scheme which organises a relatively small number of propositions which, taken together, explain a relatively wide range of human behaviour
a conjecture about some aspect of a phenomenon, and usually entails an explanation of causation
a connected and internally consistent group of statements, equations, models, or a combination of these, which serves to explain a relatively large and diverse group of things and events
a deliberate simplification of relationships whose purpose is to explain how those relationships work
a detailed explanation of the mechanisims behind empirically observable and objectively testable facts
a fact if the majority of the nation's college professors believe in it hard enough
a falsifiable hypothesis
a formalized set of concepts that organizes observations and inferences and predicts and explains phenomena
a former hypothesis that has been tested with repeated experiments and observations and found always to work
a former hypothesis which has been empirically verified and meets the requirements of prediction, parsimony, and falsifiability
a framework of facts that scientists use to explain natural phenomena
a framework to explain the facts
a generalization based on many observations and biology
a generalization based on the study of many examples of some phenomenon
a generally accepted set of principles and rules which can account for a wide range of observations, and can predict behaviour with mathematical precision, e
a general proposition or set of logically interrelated general propositions from which testable hypotheses can be deduced
a good idea - it is not a fact
a good one if it can be used to predict behavior under different conditions
a good way to get an idea of the work involved in acquiring competence in riding
a heavily substantiated hypothesis
a higher order of knowledge than a fact
a house made of hypotheses
a human attempt to describe and/or explain our observations of what happens, or (in historical science) what has happened
a humanly constructed attempt to describe and/or explain reality
a humanly constructed representation intended to describe or explain the observed phenomena in a specified domain of nature
a hypotheses which has been shown to be correct by observation and testing -- and would therefore be higher than (a)
a hypothesis has been tested over and over again, with tests it can potentially fail, and has passed them all
a hypothesis or collection of hypotheses that have great general utility and have stood either one or more definitive experimental tests or a great many suggestive experimental tests
a hypothesis that has been proved correct
a hypothesis that has been repeatedly subjected to scrutiny and now is generally accepted by scientists
a hypothesis that has been repeatedly supported by factual evidence
a hypothesis that has been repeatedly tested with little modification, e
a hypothesis that has been rigorously tested and is commonly accepted as fact, but has not been around long enough, or has not been able to be tested enough to become a scientific law
a hypothesis that has been subsequently confirmed by abundant, consistent data obtained from tests of the hypothesis
a hypothesis that has been tested and has some portions of revealed truth in it
a hypothesis that has been tested, thouroghly studied, and found evidence that strongly backs up the statement
a hypothesis that has been thoroughly tested and cannot be disproven, at least not yet
a hypothesis that has gained wide acceptance, because it has survived rigorous investigation of its predictions
a hypothesis that has passed every test applied to it with the objective of trying to show that it does not adequately explain the observations
a hypothesis that has withstood many scientific tests
a hypothesis that is supported by a great deal of evidence
a hypothesis that is supported by evidence from observation and experiment
a hypothesis that seems to fit all of the available data
a hypothesis which can consitstently be shown to be true through experimentation
a hypothesis which has been well supported by experiments
a hypothesis with a huge amount of supporting evidence
a hypothesis with considerable experimental support
a logical construct that explains a class of phenomena and has predictive power
a logical explanation or model based on observation, facts hypotheses, experimentation, and reasoning that attempts to explain a range of natural phenomena
a logical model made of facts, laws, hypotheses et cetera
a logical, self-consistent model that explains a phenomenon and is built upon observations, hypotheses, experimentation and deduction
a mathematical contrievence for cranking out predictions
a metaphor imposed on discrete phenomena in order to explain those phenomena, identify commonalities, and show relationships among individual and unique objects
a metascientific elaboration, distinct form the results of observation but consistent with them
a meta-scientific elaboration, which is distinct from, but in harmony with, the results of observation
a model designed to explain a number of observed facts
a model intended to explain large bundles of facts
a model of reality that helps us to understand, explain, predict, and control that reality
a model or map of a system of events that abstracts those characteristics that the scientist decides are relevant and ignores those characteristics that the scientist decides are not relevant
a model that accounts for the observation, explains it, relates it to other observations, and makes testable predictions based upon it
a more defined idea with logical backing that can be tested
an abstract formulation of the constant relations between entities or, what means the same thing, the necessary regularity in the concatenation (qv) and sequence of phenomena and/or events
an accepted explanation or reason or set of assumptions
an accepted fact based on proof, much like gravity or the Earth revolving around the sun
an attempt to explain a observed phenomenon using evidence and experiment, not a wild guess or something that just popped into your head a moment ago
a naturalistic explanation for a body of facts
an educated, scientific guess that can neither be proven nor disproven
an established paradigm that explains all of the data we have and offers valid predictions that can be tested
an established paradigm that explains all or much of the data we
an evidence based explanation of an observed phenomenon
an explanation, a law is just a relation
an explanation and can never be proven (only disproven)
an explanation, applying to many items, not necessarily closely related, for which much data exists, a lot of experiments have been done, and for which alternative hypotheses have been formed and possibly tested and rejected
an explanation backed by results from repeated tests or experiments
an explanation based on a whole lot of observation, experiment thathas remained consistent with all the data and gained wide acceptance within the scientific community
an explanation based on observed, repeatable facts
an explanation for a pattern of events
an explanation for a phenomenon
an explanation for a set of related observations or events that also predicts the results of future observations
an explanation for observed evidence, facts, etc
an explanation for something that is backed up with logic and evidence
an explanation for the existence of certain facts
an explanation for the observed facts that has never been proven wrong
an explanation for what is going on that has some support in evidence or at least stands ready to be supported or disproved by evidence
an explanatory framework for the facts
an explanatory proposition based on rigorous scientific observation that explains natural phenomena
an extension of that hypothesis that makes predictions about related observations
an hypothesis that can be falsified and tested and is backed up by observable evidence
an hypothesis that has survived the rigors of experimental testing over an extended period of time
an hypothesis which has withstood repeated testing
an hypothesis whose predictions have stood up to thorough and rigorous testing with experiments and observations
an idea, an assumption or a guess
an idea supported by a wealth of observable facts that describes and predicts conditions and which is then followed as the basis of action, e
an idea that has already been unfalsified
an idea that has testable methodology including tests that could disprove it
an idea that's still speculative
an idea yet to be proven, not a proven idea
an interconnected set of ideas that tries to generalize patterns of relationships and behavior
an organized series of observations, experimental evidence and thought that is designed to predict or explain a large number of observations, but which had to be tested and analyzed
an organized set of ideas, often described by means of mathematical equations, which describes some part of nature
an organized set of principles that is designed to explain and predict some phenomenon
an unproven hypothesis
a possible explanation for certain behaviours, nothing more, nothing less
a predictive model based on all available facts
a predictive, testable model which codifies and explains scientific observations and experimental results
a pretty lofty perch for a scientific idea
a proposed explanation for observed phenomena based upon all of the observations
a proposed explanation of a set of conditions or events unproved but usually supported by strong evidences
a proposed explanation of why it occurs, the mechanism
a public parsimonious predictive model that explains the facts
a qualified explanation in the sense of abstracting only certain parts of the phenomenon to explain under a limited set of conditions
a question stated as if fact
a scenario, an educated guess, that can be supported by experimentation
a scientific explanation of an observed phenomenon
a scientific hypothesis that has withstood the test of time, but has not yet been proven totally
a scientific idea with a LOT of research, etc done to back it up, and if often supported by a large part of the scientific community
a scientific model supported by a wide range of empirical evidence
a scientific model that explains the observed facts, is predictive, and is falsifiable
a set of assumptions or guesses about why a particular relationship exists
a set of interrelated and interdependent principles designed to explain phenomena of interest
a set of interrelated concepts, definitions, and propositions that present a systematic view of events or situations by specifying relations among variables in order to explain and predict the events or situations
a set of interrelated constructs (concepts), definitions and propositions that present a systematic view of phenomena by specifying relations among the variables, with the purpose of explaining and predicting the phenomena
a set of principles that attempts to explain the causal factors underlying related scientific observations
a set of statements devised to explain a natural phenomena, that has been repeatedly tested on a scientific basis to the extent that it can be used to make predictions about said natural phenomena
a set of statements that can be tested, and used predictively, to explain a phenomenon
a set of systematically related generalizations suggesting new observations for empirical testing
a set up statements that lend an explanatory framework to a large collection of facts, which is widely-support by the facts and widely-accepted by the scientific community
a somewhat verified hypothesis
a statement of a hypothesis which seems to explain observations
a statement of verifiable facts that creates awareness of a kind of situation (adverse or otherwise), linking its effects to the cause or causes with an attempt to offer some panacea
a statement predicting what outcome will result from specified actions and why
a statement that will predict some future behavior of a phenomena in a natural system such as, say, this universe
a statement which can generate a wide scope of predictions, but only through some intermediate steps, such as reasoning, computation, the use of other statements
a statement which describes data, has proven accurate in predicting new data
a statement which elucidates an underlying pattern of nature, a pattern that makes sense out of a myriad of observations, is logically consistent, and holds true when tested
a stronger explanation of observation than a hypothesis
a succinct description of a series of observations
a suggested explanation for observed phenomena or facts
a supposition or guess
a systematic explanation for the observations that relate to a particular aspect of social life
a systematic explanatory statement comprising a deductively connected set of (inductively/empirically derived) laws or propositions which relate (dependent and independent) variables to each other
a systematic perception of a realm of scientific facts
a systematic statement of philosophic principles, or a formulation of the apparent relationships or underlying principles of observed phenomena
a system, not just an educated guess
a system of ASSUMPTIONS, ACCEPTED principles with a set of rules used to predict or explain some phenomena which is PERCEPTIBLE to the SENSES
a system of assumptions, speculations, or conjectures weaved together to explain certain observed phenomena, but which lacks verification either with direct connecting evidence or with proof by necessary inference
a system of ideas based on general principles designed to organize thought and to explain or justify something
a system of ideas often stated as a principle to explain or lead to a new understanding
a system of ideas or a sphere of abstract knowledge which attempts to explain why certain phenomena occur, whereas a law is a statement of specific conditions or relationships that exist in nature
a system of statements and strategies with the aim to explain something
a tentative (and I emphasize, TENTATIVE) explanation of a phenomenon based on observations, experimental results, measurements, facts, evidence, etc
a tentative explanation of facts and data that have been observed
a testable explanation of a broad range of related phenomena, one that has been subjected to extensice experimental testing and can be used with a high degree of confidence, and a belief is something that is trusted or believed
a testable, reproducible idea that can produce measurable data
a tested explanation of behavior of nature
a tested explanation that integrates and explains a large body of data, and guides further hypothesis testing
a thoroughly substantiated explanation of some aspect of the observable world
a type of hypothesis
a way of explaining at these observations that allows us to make additional predictions about the behaviour of the system
a well-established concept that is confirmed by further scientific discoveries and is able to predict new discoveries
a well established explanation
a well-established principle that has been developed to explain some aspect of the natural word
a well-substantiated explanation of an aspect of the natural world that can incorporate laws, hypotheses and facts
a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate observations, inferences, and tested hypotheses
a well-supported hypothesis
a well-tested hypothesis
a widely accepted explanation of observable or measurable principles in the world
a widely accepted hypothetical idea that has not been disproven and can be tested
a working model that explains the observations in question, and predicts about the outcomes of future tests
A set of propositions which summarise, organise, and explain a variety of known facts, e.g. Darwin's theory of evolution. Theories are intended to logically summarise information and to give a framework for the generation of new tests and ideas on the topic.
a hypothetical entity or structure explaining or relating an observed set of facts.
An un-proven assumption to be proved or disproved through research and testing.
establishes cause and effect relationships between variables with the purpose of explaining and predicting phenomena.
In science, a theory is a good explanation for the facts. Theories are not beliefs, and they are not suggestions, but strong ways of explaining things. An example is the theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun.
A supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained.
Any system of concepts and propositions about concepts, intended to generalize about, or explain observable actions, behaviors, and other phenomena in some real-world domain. For example, we have long spoken of the germ theory of disease. When (later) viruses were discovered, we could speak of the germ and virus theory of disease. It is a widely held common sense notion that all people have their theories of human behavior to account for particular forms of behaviors. Also, all people have theories of the causes of disease. Practically all such theories are composed of statements (generalizations) in the form of "If ___________ ,______________then." "If my child is exposed to chilling wind or water, she or he is likely to get a respiratory illness."
a statement or set of statements used to explain a phenomena. A theory is generally accepted as valid due to having survived repeated testing.
Hypothesis that has substantial evidence to support it
An organized system of ideas that seeks to explain why two or more events are related.
In scientific usage, theory is not the opposite of fact. Theories are typically ways of explaining why things happen, usually after the fact that they happen is no longer in scientific dispute. In referring to the "theory of global warming," for example, there is no implication that global warming is not occurring; world temperatures have been measured and are increasing. The "theory of global warming" refers instead to scientific work that explains how and why this has been happening.
An organized set of principles used to explain observed phenomena.
Theory designates a set of practices and certain vocabulary. Chaos theory, for example, is a set of rules and meanings that describe given phenomena. Literary theory allows us to see how local contexts relate to each other in a larger picture.
A comprehensive, internally consistent system of ideas about a set of phenomena
An explanation for observations and evidence of natural phenomena. 18
A hypothesis that has withstood extensive testing by a variety of methods, and in which a higher degree of certainty may be placed.
System of ideas and principles used to explain a practical occurrence or methodology.
as with the word evolution, there are two common uses of the word theory, the vernacular and the scientific. I will define both here for clarification. theory (scientific) - A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena. theory (vernacular) - An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture.
An explanation for something, based on observation, experiments, and reasoning.
A means to organize experience. [D03355] PMDT The general or abstract principle s of a body of fact, a science, or an art. A belief, policy, or procedure proposed or followed as the basis of action. A plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offer ed to explain phenomena. A hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigation. An unproved assumption. [D03347] Webster
a set of assumptions and the conclusions derived from those assumptions put forward as an explanation for some phenomena
An explanation of existing data that can explain present data as well as predict future data.
theories. Compare with hypothesis. Theories are well-established explanations for experimental data. To become established, the theory must experimentally tested by many different investigators. Theories usually can not be proven; a single contrary experiment can disprove a theory.
generalized statements about political, social, or economic activity that seek to describe and explain those activities; used in many cases as a basis of prediction (59) third generation human rights collective rights of groups, including the rights of indigenous people and children, and the rights to democracy and development (266)
a set of assumptions put forth to explain some aspect of the observed behavior of matter.
a general principle that explains or predicts facts or events
A general explanation about a specific behavior or set of events that is based on known principles and serves to organize related events in a meaningful way. A theory is not as specific as a hypothesis.
A set of hypotheses and laws that have been well demonstrated to apply to a wide range of phenomena associated with a particular subject.
a well-substantiated explanation of a set of phenomena. A hypothesis can become a theory if its predictions are confirmed by testing it.
A comprehensive explanation of a given set of data that has been repeatedly confirmed by observation and experimentation, and has gained general acceptance within the scientific community, but has not yet been decisively proven.
A set of related principles for explaining observed events and/or relationships.
a theory is a set of related concepts that explain a particular phenomenon. Within limits theories can then be used to predict and control outcomes.
"a supposition or system of ideas explaining something, especially one based on general principles independent on the particular things to be explained" ( Oxford Canadian Dictionary).
an explanation of how or why something happens, especially one based on scientific study and reasoning [Darwin's theory of evolution] or the general principles on which an art or science is based [music theory].
Set of hypotheses that explain observations.
A set of ideas or propositions that can be tested against observable data.
In science, an explanation for some phenomenon which is based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning. In popular use, a theory is often assumed to imply mere speculation, but in science, something is not called a theory until it has been confirmed over the course of many independent experiments. Theories are more certain than hypotheses, but less certain than laws.
an always tentative explanation of phenomena that we observe; never proven; representative of the most logical explanation based on currently available evidence; becomes stronger as more supporting evidence is gathered; provides a context for predictions.
a belief explaining something, backed by certain facts
The body of rules, ideas, principles, and techniques that applies to a particular subject.
"A system of assumptions, accepted principles, and rules of procedure devised to analyze, predict or otherwise explain the nature or behavior of a specified set of phenomena." (American Heritage dictionary] "theory leads to prediction. Without prediction, experience and examples teach us nothing." "No number of examples establishes a theory, yet a single unexplained failure of a theory requires modification or even abandonment of the theory." [From Deming's discussion of theory of knowledge].
An idea in science which is supported by numerous pieces of evidence, and which has thus far withstood the rigors of testing by other scientists. It is different from a hypothesis, which is an idea based on observations but which has not yet been tested, or does not have further evidence supporting it. Theory in the scientific sense is very different from the colloquial definition, where a theory is essentially a guess. Examples include the Big Bang theory, the theory of gravitation, and the theory of evolution.
model or idea that has undergone testing or validation from careful observations and can be used to make a variety of predictions of what will happen under different circumstances.
Systematically organized knowledge applicable in a relatively wide variety of circumstances, especially a system of assumptions, accepted principles, and rules of procedure devised to analyze, predict, or otherwise explain the nature or behavior of a specified set of phenomena. Such knowledge or such a system. Abstract reasoning; speculation. A belief that guides action or assists comprehension or judgment. An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture.
A scientific explanation of the natural world that is based on many different pieces and kinds of evidence. The germ theory of disease is an example (p.18, 25).
Proposed explanation for the causal mechanisms responsible for a phenomenon or a set of facts. Also see hypothesis.
The general or abstract principles of a subject; a plausible or scientifically acceptable principle or body of principles offered to explain a phenomenon. A system of rules, procedures and assumptions used to produce a result; a set of hypotheses created by logical or mathematical arguments to explain a wide variety of connected phenomena in general terms.
A set of assumptions advanced to explain existing data and predict new events; usually applicable to a wide array of phenomena.
A well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that typically incorporates many confirmed observations, laws, and successfully verified hypotheses.
A theory is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon.
An accepted collection of ideas, explanations, and testable hypotheses describing a broad, important set of phenomena. The acceptance arises from repeated successful testing of a theory's many hypotheses. Examples are Einstein's theory of relativity, quantum theory, atomic theory, and evolutionary theory. Unlike the common American usage of the word "theory," its scientific usage implies no disrespect. Historically, the word "law" has come into use for some theories, such as Newton's laws of motion and gravity. Every theory has limits to its applicability. For example, evolutionary theory does not explain the origin of life (only its subsequent development), and Newton 's laws of motion and gravity are only low-speed approximations to the more modern and more complete Einstein's theory of relativity. Growth of scientific knowledge often occurs at the boundary of applicability of a theory.