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Benjamin Fretwurst


Hypotheses are assumptions about empirical (observable) phenomena. They are formulated as empirical (experience-related) statements; thus they can be either true or false – i.e., they are testable. This implies that hypotheses are tentative: their validity (truth or falseness) is subject to empirical test. In this general form, the definition also corresponds to the conventional, everyday meaning of “hypothesis.” In the social sciences – thus including social science-oriented communication sciences – the concept is more narrowly circumscribed: scientific hypotheses are empirically testable universal (nomological) propositions about causal relationships . They are stated in terms of either “if–then” or “the more–the more (or less)” propositions. Example: “People learn from news media which are the most important problems facing their country” (→  Agenda-Setting Effects ). • This statement is an assumption which can be empirically tested. • The statement can be translated into an “if–then” proposition: “If an issue is prominently discussed in the news media, then people will regard it as an important problem.” In this case, it can also be translated into a “the more–the more” proposition: “The more an issue is discussed in the news media, the more people will regard it as an important problem.” • The statement applies not merely to a single media user, but to all media users; it ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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