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Answered 2007-10-04 15:19:19

A hypothesis is often necessary. In order to build a theory, one must either confirm or falsify hypotheses - for example, a hypothesis is not necessary to answer the question "what is the emission spectrum of X", because it can be measured directly. However, in order to answer a question like "what is the mechanism of gravity", one must identify possible answers, and proceed to test hypotheses - "the mechanism is / is not tranmission of gravitons", and so on.

In any research endeavor, there will usually be an implied hypothesis, even if there is no explicit hypothesis. If you go out and say "I am going to collect data on consumer behavior relating to X", there is an implied hypothesis thatat least there will be some trends in the behavior.

In a broad sense, research with no hypothesis whatsoever is simply random data collection, because nothing is being tested. It is possible to conduct research with no expectation or opinion on what the results might be, it is another thing entirely to conduct research without expecting to answer any question at all.

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