Examining how students carry out a rival hypothesis stance in their writing is one way of understanding how this practice can function in the university. In the RH stance documented in chapters 4, 5, and 6, students were dealing with broad social issues, exploring positions on large open questions of policy in postsecondary education, critiquing sources of bias, and generating rival interpretations. This literate practice stands in contrast to some other versions of the rival hypothesis stance
as they occur in the university. In the social sciences, for instance, the practice of generating rival hypotheses is an explicitly taught formal procedure. Campbell’s and Stanley’s (1963) classic seven “threats to internal validity” (mortality, history, testing, maturation, selection, regression, instrumentation) provide a list of the possible challenges to experimental claims for causal relationships. Researchers use these checkpoints to design and interpret experiments whose conclusionsideally-are not subject to rival hypotheses. Critical readers, in turn, use these seven categories as points of departure for generating possible rival hypotheses to explain the results of these studies. As such, the rival hypothesis stance is integral to the process of advancing disciplinary knowledge in the social sciences.