A working hypothesis is a hypothesis that is provisionally accepted as a basis for further ongoing research in the hope that a tenable theory will be produced, even if the hypothesis ultimately fails. Like all hypotheses, a working hypothesis is constructed as a statement of expectations, which can be linked to deductive, exploratory research in empirical investigation and is often used as a conceptual framework in qualitative research. The term "working" indicates that the hypothesis is subject to change.
Use of the phrase "working hypothesis" goes back to at least the 1850s.
Charles Sanders Peirce came to hold that an explanatory hypothesis is not only justifiable as a tentative conclusion by its plausibility (by which he meant its naturalness and economy of explanation), but also justifiable as a starting point by the broader promise that the hypothesis holds for research. This idea of justifying a hypothesis as potentially fruitful (at