Skip Nav

# What is the Difference Between Inductive and Deductive Reasoning?

## Recommended

❶Points of distinction top notch. Reply I appreciate your clear and precise explanations, thank you.

## Content: Inductive Reasoning Vs Deductive Reasoning

Using observations, people can develop a theory to explain those observations, and seek out disproof of that theory. As can be seen in the cow example above, one of the major flaws with inductive reasoning is that it is dependent on observations, and when observations are incomplete, unsound results may be formulated.

In a famous example of inductive reasoning, some people in the ancient world believed that meat spontaneously gave rise to maggots. Their conclusion was based on the observation that if meat was left out, maggots would appear on it. Someone else decided to test this theory by seeking for disproof — would it be possible to leave meat out and not have maggots appear?

By sequestering meat in various containers next to fully exposed meat, the scientist realized that the maggots were, in fact, the result of eggs laid by flies. With deductive reasoning, one takes a general theory or idea, tests it, and moves through a sequence of ideas to arrive at a specific conclusion.

It is possible to arrive at an unsound result by using an initial premise which is false, as in this case: Every animal that eats mice is a cat. Therefore, Rover is a cat. The goal of deductive reasoning is to arrive at a valid chain of reasoning, in which each statement holds up to testing, but it is possible for deductive reasoning to be both valid and unsound.

The brain is so adept at both deductive and inductive reasoning that it often does it on a level which people are not fully aware of. Especially in the case of children, this type of reasoning is used to make sense of the world and the things observed in it. As can be seen, it is possible to use both approaches to explore a logical problem. I like your examples with inductive reasoning but your explanation of deductive is too short.

Tarunes anon Post 5 Great article! Thank you so much! From these patterns, a tentative hypothesis is formulated that can be explored. Finally, some general conclusions or theories are developed from the results found when testing the hypothesis. Inductive reasoning is more open-ended and exploratory, especially at the beginning. Deductive reasoning is more narrow and concerned with testing or confirming hypotheses. In practice, most research projects involve using both inductive and deductive approaches at different stages of study.

Quick Answer Deductive research aims to test an existing theory while inductive research aims to generate new theories from observed data.

What Are the Three Theories of Sociology? Everyone should be reading this. Thank you so so, so much. Deborah, your work is precise,well organized and relevant. Hi Doc, thank you for making things simpler for me. I will always be incontact with your website. Hi Deborah, i just went through the abductive approach which is combination of inductive and deductive Approach. But after going through the conversation in this page helped me a lot.

Thank u very much. Title is Knowledge and Learning Model among effective repatriation. Thank u all again. Hi Deborah Thank you very much for the article.

My question is what approach am i supposed to take if i am doing a research that is both qualitative and quantitative.

I am doing research on the feasibility of establishing renewable energy systems in a developing country. I am using a simulation software to generate a model to analyse the technical and economic data Quantitative but i have to use interviews to capture social and polical views from industry experts Qualitative. So which approach is best in such a scenario? In a mixed methods study, the quanitiative dimension of the study usually functions to capture preliminary data, with the qualitative dimension being the primary method that answers the research questions.

In any case, in a mixed methods study you must peform both quantitative and qualitative data analysis — separately. In reference to your specifc study you need to refer back to your reearch questions and the aims and objectives of your study.

Is your primary objective to develop a model for a renewable energy system or is it to determine whether industry experts see the viability of the model?

If it is the latter then the approach should be inductive. I would advise you to consult your supervisor or someone in your discipline, as I am not an engineer. Your explanation of concepts is succint and easily conceivable. No problem — you can use the contact form and your message will go directly to my email address.

Thank you Deborah, that was a simple, clear explanation helpful for sure. I like the way you simplified everything,was really helpful for my assignment. Inductive and deductive approaches to research. However it seems short. Dear Almaz, thank you for your feedback. Therefore, I am taking the Western literature outcomes and applying these in UAE context to see the results. Will this research be treated as "Deductive' or "Inductive"?

Should I choose 'Quantitative" or "Qualitative' approach? Wishing you all the best. So what is grounded theory? This has been troubling me for a while. It is often said that the interpretive paradigm typically goes with inductive approaches and methods involving observation, interviews and research into archives.

But then if concepts are to emerge from the data without theoretical preconceptions, how come it is often said that the research design, choice of case studies, and initial coding in thematic analysis can be theory driven? Or, how does theory coming before the research design fit with an inductive approach? In my experience so far authors seem to evade this point. Thank You so very much Deborah. I really got to uncover what puzzled me on deductive versus inductive approaches.

It was very simple and useful. It is very useful for my dissertation. If I want to conduct a research to find those elements in a bank operation. Hi Deborah, Thank you for a great article! It made it very clear the differenece between deductive and inductive. I'd like to ask you the following: In answer to your question, I think maybe you are confusing research questions with hypotheses. Hi Deborah Thanks for an intersting piece of work presented.

Am kindly inquiring how i can get along with literature review and conceptual framemework on the topic 'IDPs and Solid Waste Management' and objectives; exploring everyday practice around solid waste management; finding out how social networks move and merge into new spaces for waste management and establish connections between waste management and social lfestyle. Hi Deborah thank you for a great article. Dear Amna, Welcome to the world of research — we all have to start somewhere!

If you're new to social research I would recommend you join the Social Research Association SRA who provide training and a wealth of resources for researchers. With regards to theory — unless you are researching new phenomena that has never been researched before or are developing a completely new approach unlikely you will not be creating 'new' theory with your research project. You will be using existing theory in your approach and embed theoretical perspectives into your methodology.

You will also likely use relevant theories when analysing your data. However, before you think about theory you need to develop your methodology — see my other post: Hi Deborah, Thank you for the precise and helpful information..

I need your help as I feel a little bit confused. I used the conceptual framework from other previous conducted study. It was conducted in quantitative manner.

If i used the conceptual framework as my guidance for my literature review and interview question construction, is that okay if i do not use inductive for the case study because i do not build a new theory. If i just compare and argue with the previous finding and the model used, is it consider as deductive approach in case study? What do you think? It may require a little bit of referencing. Furthermore, adding citation line below will be useful for academic use.

My study is ethnographic research specifically it studies about culture, tradition and lifestyle of an ethnic groups. I think my research is inductive, is it right? Thank you, I feel same as most the above commentators. Very well written — written in a way that I who for the first time heard of these two types of researcher methods, felt like I got a gist of what they are and how they are different.

Hi, It is really helpful me to get sorted these concepts in research field in simple manner. Thanks for that and really appreciate it. That was just perfect. Now it is completely clear. Is that possible to have both in our research?

I mean, what if we choose an inductive approach and then when we go forward make some assumptions to answer research questions? You cannot start with inductive and then switch to deductive — it must be one or the other. Great work and explanation and also the researcher herself is very energetic and motivated to help others… world is because of people like you.

You can look this up yourself, through your library and learning resources at your institution…. Dear Deborah, Thank you for the precise explanation of inductive and deductive approaches. When analysing data in a qualitative study, could you use both inductive and deductive methods as a triangulation technique?

Hi Irene, a mixed methods study might involve both a quantitative method — e. But the overall approach would still be inductive as the quantitative element normally shapes the qualitative and the overall aim would still be to gain in-depth understandings rather than generalise findings.

Mixed methods does as you say, create academic rigour through triangulation. Your email address will not be published. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Deborah Gabriel Research Guides March 17, July 5, deductive research , doctoral research , grounded theory , inductive research , qualitative research , research approcahes , research methods Comments.

Has this post helped you? If so then please leave a comment! Methods and methodology Deborah Gabriel Pingback: Thanks — Chantal Reply thank you so much for the information. Reply Deborah, thanks for this elaboration. Thanks Reply Deductive research is more aimed towards testing a hypothesis and therefore is an approach more suited to working with quantitative data. Reply Dear Deborah, it has been very long time since you posted this article. Reply Thanks so much Reply Thank u for the information, it really helps me.

Reply Exactly, your work is simple and clear, that there are two research approaches, Inductive and deductive. This is how we share knowledge,and you become more knowledgable Reply Thank you Lambawi, I am glad that these posts are proving useful. Reply This has been helpful. Reply Thank you ever so much for making it simple and easily understandable. Best wishes Molla Reply The explanation is simple and easy to understand it has helped to a lot thank you Reply very helpful and explained simply.

Reply Thank you for your clarification. Reply Hi, I had a question would you call process tracing technique an inductive or deductive approach? You might find this journal article useful:

## Main Topics

The main difference between inductive and deductive approaches to research is that whilst a deductive approach is aimed and testing theory, an inductive approach is concerned with the generation of new theory emerging from the data.

### Privacy FAQs

Quick Answer. Deductive research aims to test an existing theory while inductive research aims to generate new theories from observed data. Deductive research works from the more general to the more specific, and inductive research works from more specific observations to more general theories.