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The hierarchy-of-hypotheses approach: A synthesis method for enhancing theory development in ecology and evolution

AuthorsHeger, T.; Aguilar, Carlos; Bartram, Isabelle; Braga, Raul Rennó; Dietl, Gregory P.; Enders, M.; Gibson, David J.; Gómez Aparicio, Lorena CSIC ORCID ; Gras, Pierre; Jax, Kurt; Lokatis, Sophie; Lortie, C. J.; Mupepele, Anne-Christine; Schindler, Stefan; Starrfelt, Jostein; Synodinos, Alexis; Jeschke, Jonathan M.
Issue DateJun-2020
PublisherCenter for Open Science
CitationEcoEvoRxiv Preprints (2020) DOI: 10.32942/
AbstractIn the current era of Big Data, existing synthesis tools (e.g. formal meta-analysis) are useful for handling the deluge of data and information. However, there is a need for complementary tools that help to (i) structure data and information, (ii) closely connect evidence to theory and (iii) further develop theory. We present the hierarchy-of-hypotheses (HoH) approach to address these issues. In an HoH, hypotheses are conceptually and visually structured in a hierarchically nested way, where the lower branches can be directly connected to empirical results. Used as an evidence-driven, bottom-up approach, it can (i) show connections between empirical results, even when derived through diverse approaches; and (ii) indicate under which circumstances hypotheses are applicable. Used as a theory-driven, top-down method, it helps uncover mechanistic components of hypotheses. We offer guidance on how to build an HoH, provide examples from population and evolutionary biology and propose terminological clarifications.
Description32 páginas, 5 figuras.- referencias.- material suplemmentario
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