Moving from hunch to conceptualizing and specifying a worthwhile question is essential to scientific research. Questions are posed in an effort to fill a gap in existing knowledge or to seek new knowledge, to pursue the identification of the cause or causes of some phenomena, or to formally test a hypothesis. Ultimately, the final court of appeal for the viability of a scientific hypothesis or conjecture is its empirical adequacy. Scientists and philosophers commonly hold that the testability and refutability of scientific claims or hypotheses is an important feature of scientific investigations that is not typical in other forms of inquiry. The questions, and the designs developed to address them, must reflect a solid understanding of the relevant theoretical, methodological, and empirical work that has come before.
It is the long-term goal of much of science to generate theories that can offer stable explanations for phenomena that generalize beyond the particular. Every scientific inquiry is linked, either implicitly or explicitly, to some overarching theory or conceptual framework that guides the entire investigation. Science generates cumulative knowledge by building on, refining, and occasionally replacing, theoretical understanding.
Methods can only be judged in terms of their appropriateness and effectiveness in addressing a particular research question. Moreover, scientific claims are significantly strengthened when they are subject to testing by multiple methods. While appropriate methodology is important for individual studies, it also