It typically begins with selecting a pre-existing theory about a certain topic of interest. The theory is then narrowed down into more specific hypotheses that can be tested. Next, observations are collected to address the hypotheses. This ultimately leads to the ability to test the hypotheses with specific data and confirm or deny the original theory.
Inductive reasoning works in the other direction, and it relies heavily on a bottom-up approach. Inductive reasoning begins by detecting patterns and regularities within specific observations and measures.
From these patterns, a tentative hypothesis is formulated that can be explored. Normally, the author and publisher would be credited here. However, the publisher has asked for the customary Creative Commons attribution to the original publisher, authors, title, and book URI to be removed. Additionally, per the publisher's request, their name has been removed in some passages. More information is available on this project's attribution page.
For more information on the source of this book, or why it is available for free, please see the project's home page. You can browse or download additional books there. Theories structure and inform sociological research. So, too, does research structure and inform theory. The reciprocal relationship between theory and research often becomes evident to students new to these topics when they consider the relationships between theory and research in inductive and deductive approaches to research.
In both cases, theory is crucial. But the relationship between theory and research differs for each approach. Inductive and deductive approaches to research are quite different, but they can also be complementary.
In an inductive approach Collect data, analyze patterns in the data, and then theorize from the data. At this stage, the researcher looks for patterns in the data, working to develop a theory that could explain those patterns. Thus when researchers take an inductive approach, they start with a set of observations and then they move from those particular experiences to a more general set of propositions about those experiences.
In other words, they move from data to theory, or from the specific to the general. More than just a punctuation mark: How boys and young men learn about menstruation. Journal of Family Issues, 32 , — To understand this process, Allen and her colleagues analyzed the written narratives of 23 young men in which the men described how they learned about menstruation, what they thought of it when they first learned about it, and what they think of it now.
Enhancing empowerment and leadership among homeless youth in agency and community settings: A grounded theory approach. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 28 , 1— The authors analyzed data from focus groups with 20 young people at a homeless shelter. From these data they developed a set of recommendations for those interested in applied interventions that serve homeless youth.
The researchers also developed hypotheses for people who might wish to conduct further investigation of the topic. Though Ferguson and her colleagues did not test the hypotheses that they developed from their analysis, their study ends where most deductive investigations begin: Researchers taking a deductive approach Develop hypotheses based on some theory or theories, collect data that can be used to test the hypotheses, and assess whether the data collected support the hypotheses.
They start with a social theory that they find compelling and then test its implications with data. That is, they move from a more general level to a more specific one. A deductive approach to research is the one that people typically associate with scientific investigation. The researcher studies what others have done, reads existing theories of whatever phenomenon he or she is studying, and then tests hypotheses that emerge from those theories.
While not all researchers follow a deductive approach, as you have seen in the preceding discussion, many do, and there are a number of excellent recent examples of deductive research. 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 Excellent presentation please! Thank you Reply Thanks; this has been helpful in preparation for my forthcoming exams Reply This is fantastic, I have greatly beneffitted from this straight forward illustration Reply Thanks…i will benifited to read this Reply Thanks for your help.
Keep it like that so that will be our guide towards our destinations. Reply Thank-you for your academic insights. 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: Reply I am very thankful for this information, madam you are just good. Reply Hi Deborah, I have been struggling with my research methods proposal, in finding the right methodology for my study.
Very useful piece of information. Reply Very impressing work, may god bless you with more mighty knowledge. Reply In fact this has been very usefull information for me in my research,. Reply Is it possible to use deductive approach in research concerning what has happened in an industry? Reply If you are seeking to test a hypothesis then yes. Reply Thank you very much this information has been extremely helpful. Reply Thanks for that good work Deborah.
Reply Please refer to the recommended reading: Reply Good work Deborah. Reply Thank you so much!! Reply Thank you , useful explanation Reply It is a very fruitful post. Reply Dear Tamer, Your question is too hypothetical for me to offer a response. Reply This is a question of methodology — research methods must be selected based on the discipline, research questions and approach to the study.
Reply Your comments are really good and easy to understand. Reply Thank u so much. Reply Thanks for the inforation Deborah. Reply Hi Zilla, It is hard to provide a definitive answer without knowing what your research questions are although time does not permit me to provide individual responses. Reply Dear Deborah I just want to ask you to help me with generation of theory.
Steps that need to be followed Mongwai Michael Reply Thanks a lot for showing me the best way to understand the basic difference between two approaches of research. Reply Dear Aliyu, time does not permit me to provide responses on your individual projects. Reply Beautiful stuff you are giving us Deborah. Reply I am gathering quantitative data to develop a model to represent the behavior of a material using an existing model.
Could you please kindly let me know what is my reasearch method Thanks Reply Please see my response to Aliyu on 8 November. Reply Dr, your explanation about inductive research and deductive, is meaningful to postgraduate students. Reply Very brief and well explained. Reply Thank you Dr. Gabriel, good informationl; will come back. Reply Thanks Deborah for the explanation but, i want to ask if descriptive is inductive or deductive approach?
God bless you Reply it is really good explanation thank you Reply Can I ask one question? Reply Please refer to my post on conceptual frameworks to take you through the key steps in developing a research project — you will find your answer there: Reply I've got the answers,thx.
Reply It is very clear and concise. Reply Thank you so much Deborah. Good luck with your dissertation! Reply Thank you D now I am aware of these two! Reply Deborah, your work is precise,well organized and relevant.
Reply Hi Doc, thank you for making things simpler for me. Reply Thank you for the information. Reply Hi Deborah, i just went through the abductive approach which is combination of inductive and deductive Approach. Thank u all again Reply Thx for the information. Reply Hi Deborah Thank you very much for the article. Thank you Reply Hi Thuba, 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.
Reply Your explanation of concepts is succint and easily conceivable. Thank you Reply No problem — you can use the contact form and your message will go directly to my email address. Reply Thanks for differentiating the two in easy and pragmetic manner. Reply Thank you Deborah, that was a simple, clear explanation helpful for sure. Regards, Reply I like the way you simplified everything,was really helpful for my assignment. Thank you Reply Reference it as an online source: Reply Great insight, simple and clear; I now get the difference thanks for sharing.
Reply Thanks for the very good explanation and comparison. Reply A very simple and straightforward guidance to students. Thanks Reply Dear Almaz, thank you for your feedback. Thank you once again! Reply You are definitely on point. Reply Such inspiring work. Reply I am glad to hear that. What are you studying?
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.
In logic, we often refer to the two broad methods of reasoning as the deductive and inductive approaches.. Deductive reasoning works from the more general to the more specific. Sometimes this is informally called a "top-down" approach.
Inductive approach, also known in inductive reasoning, starts with the observations and theories are proposed towards the end of the research process as a result of observations. Inductive research “involves the search for pattern from observation and the development of explanations. Describe the inductive approach to research, and provide examples of inductive research. Describe the deductive approach to research, and provide examples of deductive research. Describe the ways that inductive and deductive approaches may be complementary.
Compare and Contrast Inductive and Deductive Research Approaches By L. Karen Soiferman use of the inductive approach to research, the researcher begins with specific observations and measures, and then moves to detecting themes and patterns in the data. Inductive and Deductive Research Approaches. 3 Research Methods Research Types Deductive Approach Inductive Approach In research, we often refer to the two broad methods of reasoning as the deductive and inductive approaches.