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Question:

What is the most important reason to formulate a hypothesis before conducting an experiment?

A The hypothesis helps guide the investigation by suggesting what the investigator should be looking for.
Explaination

The most important reason to formulate a hypothesis before beginning an investigation is to focus the investigation by providing something specific to look for. In general, an effective experiment has a specific purpose and does not consist of just random manipulation of materials; the hypothesis actually defines that purpose. None of the other choices is a strong reason for formulating a hypothesis. In particular, choice “the hypothesis directs which results to keep and publish…” runs completely counter to good experimental procedure; an experiment that seems to disprove a hypothesis may have important implications, and should certainly not be cavalierly discarded.