A hypothesis is a "tentative proposition which is subject to verification through subsequent investigation....In many cases hypothese are hunches that the researcher has about the existence of relationships between variables." (Verma and Beard, 1981)
The hypothesis is the cornerstone of science, and hypotheses can be constructed and used in different ways.
In studies of complex, multi-factor systems (e.g., ecology and evolution), a hypothetico-deductive approach is often taken. On other areas, such as cellular and molecular biology, developmental biology, and other areas, hypotheses may be reached inductively, and a set of competing hypotheses potentially able to explain a given observed phenomenon may be tested and systematically eliminated until only the most likely explanations remain. To better understand each method, we should first review the differences between inductive and deductive reasoning.
Relative dating can only determine the sequential order<span> of events, not the exact date which something occurred. It is useful for being able to determine a timeline of events in an exact point, but won't give a full picture of events in the past nor account for the age of material.