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Animal Behavior Society
Animal Behavior Society

Working towards a better understanding of animal behavior

Animal Behavior & Education

The Animal Behavior Society's Education Committee was formed to promote quality instruction and training in the area of animal behavior.

ABS Workshop

How to formulate strong hypotheses and predictions in animal behavior

When conducting a confirmatory research, scientists need to formulate one or more hypotheses and predictions to be able to determine the experimental design and collect the data. However, in many instances, scientists have doubts about how to build hypotheses and derive predictions. Even in some cases, a hypothesis is developed after seeing the results, but presented as if it was postulated before colleting the data (i.e., HARKing).

The goal of the workshop is to discuss how we can develop hypotheses that are clearly connected to a theoretical background before collecting the data, how to differentiate hypotheses from predictions, and what are the serious issues with developing hypotheses after the results are known but presented as if they were postulated before collecting the data.

Instructor: Dr. Paulo Enrique Cardoso Peixoto
Laboratório de Seleção Sexual e Interações Agonísticas - LaSexia
Departamento de Genética, Ecologia e Evolução - GEE
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Federal University of Minas Gerais)
Belo Horizonte - MG - Brazil


  • Understanding the difference between confirmatory and exploratory research
  • The importance of working with hypotheses and predictions to avoid biases in data collection and interpretation of the results when conducting confirmatory research
  • Four important steps to begin a confirmatory research: fact, question, hypothesis and prediction
  • How to differentiate hypotheses from predictions (working with theoretical and operational variables)
  • How we use a theoretical framework to improve hypothesis formulation (and why does it matter)
  • How the four steps and the theoretical framework can be integrated when writing the Intro section of a manuscript

Workshop References


How to Formulate Strong Hypotheses and Predictions in Animal Behavior - Part 1


How to Formulate Strong Hypotheses and Predictions in Animal Behavior - Part 2