As evidence accumulates to support the hypothesized relationships, a scientific theory is evolved. A theory is a model of current understanding and explanation that results from the interplay of observation, descriptive modeling, explanatory modeling, and experimental evidence.
Modern scientific methods of inquiry use the Progression of Inquiry to learn about, organize, and explain events in the natural world. Scientists observe phenomena, make descriptive models that define the features and pattern elements, and then try to explain a phenomenon by creating an explanatory model.
The organization of information into this explanatory or theoretical model is accomplished by posing hypotheses that define the relationships that are thought to be responsible for the observations. A unique aspect of scientific thinking is that there is a careful testing of the proposed explanatory relationships (hypotheses) by using experimental models to test the explanatory model against evidence collected from the real or natural system.