The considerations included in the article are the result of several years of teaching general methodology for doctoral studies at Josef Pilsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw.
The presented text consists of two basic parts. The first includes reminiscences and associated methodological resentment. The second presents a wide panorama of standpoints concerning functions and kinds of hypotheses, their role and significance in contemporary research programs of formal, empirical (connected with natural sciences and biology), and humanities nature. Sketchy and encyclopaedic interpretations, presented in the context of commentaries by the author of this paper, thereby dominate.
The aim of the first part is to draw attention to some methodological mistakes which often appear and which have become common in some academic milieus to such a degree that some intervention and postulatory correction, referring to Polish and Western methodological literature, is advisable. These shortcomings are connected, among other things, with the structure of the scientific work, with the formulation and application of hypotheses, with relations taking place between the general methodology and specialized methodologies, kinds and types of research work, with reliability of information on sources of creative information, as well with the category of verification in its relation, on the one hand, to confirmation and corroboration, and on the other hand, to testing, checking, falsification, and terms close in meaning to the last one.
The abovementioned resentment results, first of all, from the fact that the authors discussed in the first part usually insist on erroneous solutions, negating a priori, without becoming acquainted with the literature on the subject or making attempts to explain or initiate a methodological argument referring to sources and studies.
That resentment is significant, among other things, in the causal sense - that is, because of the fact that, firstly, it justifies and substantiates the need for a statement presenting controversial questions in a content-related and formal way. Secondly, because thanks to such (that is, cognitive-emotional) introduction, the whole argument - not only in the first, but also in the second part - is much more interesting. It is saturated with authenticity. Many readers know the figures mentioned and are familiar with their - sometimes too insouciant (sometimes not very reliable) - attitudes to important issues from the field of research methods. It is also interesting why the people cited make mistakes. Hence, it is also advisable to look at a wider methodological context of justification (included in the much longer second part) dedicated to perhaps the most thorough characteristics of the hypothesis in the literature on the subject, which is available to the author. Without presentation of the controversial issues in the first part, the second part, more important from the methodological viewpoint, might be omitted by a considerable proportion of readers. In that part attention is paid mainly to issues concerning working, initial, zero, primary, introductory, directing, gradual, auxiliary, ad hoc auxiliary, bridge, futile and true, dangerous and safe, quite natural and neutral, individual and general, complete and incomplete, deep, strong, probabilistic and non-probabilistic (that is, deterministic), related, falsifying, basic, psychological, metaphysical and materialist hypotheses, as well as those concluding ones - that is, those constituting the final effect of definite (concluded here and now) research; hence, those which have undergone verification, confirmation, corroboration or modification as those which predict and explain a given research problem in the best possible way.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.