Identifying a hypothesis allows students to know what is being proven by a particular experiment or paper. Being able to determine the overall point not only makes you a more effective reader but also better at formulating your own theories when writing your own paper. By asking a few simple questions while you read, you should be able to pick out the intent of the author and identify the hypothesis.

Read over the beginning of the material while asking what the purpose of the introduction is.

Look for if-then statements. This type of wording is usually the hypothesis. It lays out a position for the overall paper or project.

Ask if the if-then statement is testable or provable. Is this the type of statement you could supply evidence for in order to prove? Decide if you agree with the hypothesis. This puts you in a position to be convinced as you read the paper or follow the experiment.

Read through the rest of the paper to determine if it is going in the direction you suspect. If you get to a point where the words seem to be proving something entirely different, revisit the first paragraph to see if there is another if-then statement.