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Hypothesis

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To my knowledge technically you can do the whole thing without a hypothesis. However, if you want to win your marks for "identify the relevant variables" in the Design section, you will want to do a full run-down as to the science behind what is happening and therefore why and how to control things, why and how you're going to be measuring certain things etcetera. As you're basically going to be reviewing everything necessary to provide a hypothesis (and it's generally quite an easy format to follow) I am under the impression that most people put in a hypothesis anyway - particularly as it then helps make your conclusion/evaluation slightly more coherent as a "dis/proof" of whatever you thought.

Anybody should feel free to correct me, but to my knowledge: a hypothesis isn't required, but it's generally an idea to do one anyway.

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I have a sheet titled Guidelines for Writing a Formal Laboratory Report and it says that a hypothesis MAY be required. Does that mean that it is necessary for IB HL Biology? Because how can you make a prediction when the lab has not been done before or it is very challenging to find other reports on the same experiment assuming that it is hard to predict the reaction using biology knowledge or common sense.

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I don't know if it's required for IB, but I know my teacher requires it.

I can understand that it's hard to be certain about the outcome of an experiment. You actually shouldn't be certain about the outcome actually because while we're all biased, this certainty shows a greater degree of bias that may skew your actual results and mold them into what you expect. Also, I think it's unnecessary and even a bit absurd to try to find a report on a very similar or exact lab that you're conducting to try to make a hypothesis. All you need to do is make an educated guess, which requires research about your topic on your part. Once you've done the necessary research [and probably even before you've done the research], you should have an idea of what will happen and why.

I know that I was doing a lab once with two independent variables, but it was set up so that there were actually two experiments going on simultaneously so that it was okay. And I was at a loss for what to guess for my hypothesis. It was about the greatest loss of water in plants. I was like "is humidity a greater factor or is light intensity?" or something like that, but as long as you have something to say and you have a good reason for it, you'll be fine.

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One main reason I have been told for writing a hypothesis is that you are able to use it later in your experiment, as you can reference it in your conclusion. You can justify your results in terms of it, and confirm or disprove your hypothesis or null-hypothesis. Helps you to get better marks :D

But overall, you should always try to include one. Even if it's a really simple prediction, just make it sound scientific according to your research. It's to show the marker you have a general idea of what the experiment could result to, so that you aren't carrying it out blindly with no idea of what's going on :D

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