Inductive and deductive approaches are the major philosophical approaches in research. Inductive research involves building a theory from scratch with the help of data collection. It is exploratory in nature, whereas deductive research is confirmatory. Deductive research seeks to prove or disprove a theory by postulating a hypothesis and testing it, which either confirms or refutes it. In short, inductive research moves from specific to general and deductive research moves from general to specific. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of inductive and deductive research.
What is Inductive Research?
Inductive research is a research process that starts with specific observations, develops a pattern, and transitions toward building a generalization or a theory. In inductive research, a researcher observes an issue or a problem and gathers data about it, identifying a pattern in the data to develop a theory for testing. Inductive research also entails generating a series of hypotheses based on the collected data to develop a theory. Inductive research is an effective technique for identifying trends and patterns in the data. It is also called a bottom-up approach which entails building up a theory from the ground.
Inductive reasoning does not start with universal assertions; instead, it starts with specific premises and collects data leading to broader generalisations. Inductive reasoning leads to probable conclusions which are not certain. Scientific research starts with an inductive research approach. Any discipline that lacks a coherent theory or literature builds theories with the help of inductive research. Data is the key to generating theories; however, pattern identification has the foremost significance in inductive reasoning.
What is Deductive Research?
Deductive research starts with broader generalisations and leads to specific observations or conclusions. Deductive research entails deductive reasoning, which entails the conclusion that follows from the premises, given that the premises are valid. It seeks to confirm a theory by developing a hypothesis and testing it to arrive at a conclusion. Inductive research supplies deductive research with a theory; therefore, the former is exploratory, and the latter is confirmatory. Deductive research is a common approach in mathematics in which deductions are made based on the premises. It necessitates that the premises must be valid for the conclusion to be valid. The conclusion must follow logically from the premises. For example:
- All men are mortal
- Socrates is a man
- Therefore, Socrates is mortal
The above-mentioned example is an example of valid logical deduction. Now, observe this example:
- All unmarried men are bachelors
- John is unmarried
- Therefore, John is a mortal
In the above-mentioned example, the conclusion is invalid because the conclusion does not follow the premises.
What are the steps to conduct inductive and deductive research?
Inductive research involves the following research process:
The first step in inductive research is to identify a problem that you can observe and on which you can collect the data. The identified problem must be a logical and valid issue you can observe with your five senses. For example, Unicorns exist on the coast of Florida is an invalid assertion since unicorns are imaginary beings and therefore non-existent, which entails that you cannot observe something which does not exist. It must be a valid proposition that corresponds to reality. Problem identification leads to observations.
Observations entail collecting data on the issue. You can collect data through questionnaires, experiments, direct and indirect observations, interviews, and survey polls. Once you collect the data, you will have ample information at your disposal, which you can use to build several hypotheses and build a theory based on those hypotheses.
Once you have made the observations, the next step is identifying and observing the patterns. Pattern identification is essential in inductive research. It helps you build a theory from the bottom up and move from specific observations to broader generalisations. Pattern identification must be done carefully, and every instance of data needs to be recorded to develop a coherent theory. If you cannot do it by yourself, you can always take help from expert writers at Dissertation Writing Services.
The conclusion drawn through the inductive reasoning approach refers to a formulation of a theory. The theory is not certain but probable. It is a preliminary conclusion that is subjected to further testing and experimentation by researchers. Scientific research utilises an inductive approach for theory generation.
Deductive research entails the following steps:
Deductive research begins with a theory which is often derived through an inductive approach. It starts with a general theory and builds a hypothesis to confirm or disprove a theory. Deductive research cannot be conducted if there exists no theory on the subject matter in the literature. Here are the steps to conduct deductive research:
Deductive research also entails problem identification which is generally a theoretical assumption or generalisation formulated by the inductive approach. The problem statement is a logical and coherent premise, and it must be valid.
The next step is to formulate a hypothesis. The hypothesis must be falsifiable and include an independent and dependent variable. It is important to formulate variables before developing a hypothesis statement.
Once you formulate the hypothesis, the next step is to start collecting data. The data helps you test the hypothesis. In the light of gathered data, researchers either prove or disprove a hypothesis.
Sort and Organise the Data
Once you collect all the relevant data, the next step is to sort and organise it using coding and labelling techniques. The data is initially in raw form and disjointed, which does not convey any sense. However, organized data is meaningful and can help you in analysis.
Data analysis is the most crucial part of deductive research. Researchers use various statistical tools to analyse the data. Statistical precision is essential for generating accurate data. It is imperative that you must be acquainted with the usage of various statistical tools for arriving at valid conclusions. Many students are not well-versed in using statistical tools for data analysis. Therefore, they end up generating skewed results replete with errors. However, you can always take help from expert researchers at Dissertation Writers UK for statistical data analysis in deductive research.
Inductive and deductive research techniques are crucial in research. These two techniques add new knowledge to the literature, and both approaches complement each other. Researchers can refer to the above-mentioned guidelines for using inductive and deductive approaches for their research.