Hypothetical construct

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A hypothetical construct , also synonymous with an open construct , is a construct (a scientific theoretical term) that has not been or not yet sufficiently proven empirically. The difference from the closed construct interchangeably as Intervening variable called, is that the hypothetical construct in the theory has flourished even less far and is not (yet) fully define leaves.


At the time of their development, theories always exist as hypothetical constructions. Hypothetical constructs can only be scientifically checked (so-called construct validation ) and, if necessary, falsified if they are sufficiently operationalized . Different difficulties arise here:

  • In principle, no test procedure is conceivable for the methodical testing of theses . Example: “ God exists” or “God does not exist” (the same generally applies to all claims of the hereafter ).
  • In principle, a hypothesis can be operationalized, but testing it is so complex that it is not yet or not entirely feasible.
  • Although the hypothesis can be operationalized, it has not yet been investigated in the scientific community ; as long as it must be regarded as neither proven nor refuted.
  • The hypothesis is operationalized, but the results of its testing are contradicting. This can u. a. as a result, the operationalization is inappropriate.


  • N. Groeben, H. Westmeyer: Criteria of psychological research . Juventa-Verlag 1975, ISBN 3-7799-0301-6 .