Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Scharmann, L.C. (2020). Theories - A Powerful Tool for Science. Innovation Platform, 3, 164-165.


Scientific theories are often mischaracterized by non-scientists, journalists, etc., as being merely someone’s guesses; guesses that would be more appropriately labeled as conjecture or speculation. Others mistakenly equate theory and hypothesis. Still others incorrectly assert that scientific laws (which refer to a limited set of remarkably repeatable observational data) are ‘stronger’ than theories. In the practice of science, however, laws are narrowly confined and limited in application, whereas theories are broad in scope and widely applied. Simply stated, theories are scientists’ most powerful tools.