Here is the evidence, now what is the hypothesis? The complementary roles of inductive and hypothesis-driven science in the post-genomic era

Bioessays. 2004 Jan;26(1):99-105. doi: 10.1002/bies.10385.


It is considered in some quarters that hypothesis-driven methods are the only valuable, reliable or significant means of scientific advance. Data-driven or 'inductive' advances in scientific knowledge are then seen as marginal, irrelevant, insecure or wrong-headed, while the development of technology--which is not of itself 'hypothesis-led' (beyond the recognition that such tools might be of value)--must be seen as equally irrelevant to the hypothetico-deductive scientific agenda. We argue here that data- and technology-driven programmes are not alternatives to hypothesis-led studies in scientific knowledge discovery but are complementary and iterative partners with them. Many fields are data-rich but hypothesis-poor. Here, computational methods of data analysis, which may be automated, provide the means of generating novel hypotheses, especially in the post-genomic era.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biology
  • Computational Biology
  • Databases as Topic
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Science / trends*
  • Statistics as Topic