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Inductive and deductive approaches to research

Inductive Approaches and Some Examples

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What Is the Difference Between Inductive and Deductive Logic?

What Is the Difference Between Inductive Vs. Deductive Reasoning?
Deductive Approaches and Some Examples

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. Contemporary hate crimes, law enforcement, and the legacy of racial violence. American Sociological Review, 74 , — The authors developed their hypothesis from their reading of prior research and theories on the topic.

Overall, the authors found support for their hypothesis. Classroom learning environments and the mental health of first grade children. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 52 , 4— Based on prior research and theory, Milkie and Warner hypothesized that negative classroom features, such as a lack of basic supplies and even heat, would be associated with emotional and behavioral problems in children.

While inductive and deductive approaches to research seem quite different, they can actually be rather complementary. In some cases, researchers will plan for their research to include multiple components, one inductive and the other deductive. In other cases, a researcher might begin a study with the plan to only conduct either inductive or deductive research, but then he or she discovers along the way that the other approach is needed to help illuminate findings.

Here is an example of each such case. In the case of my collaborative research on sexual harassment, we began the study knowing that we would like to take both a deductive and an inductive approach in our work. We therefore administered a quantitative survey, the responses to which we could analyze in order to test hypotheses, and also conducted qualitative interviews with a number of the survey participants.

The survey data were well suited to a deductive approach; we could analyze those data to test hypotheses that were generated based on theories of harassment. The interview data were well suited to an inductive approach; we looked for patterns across the interviews and then tried to make sense of those patterns by theorizing about them. Sexual harassment as a gendered expression of power. American Sociological Review, 69 , 64— We then tested our hypotheses by analyzing the survey data.

In general, we found support for the theory that posited that the current gender system, in which heteronormative men wield the most power in the workplace, explained workplace sexual harassment—not just of adult women but of younger women and men as well.

Presented at the meetings of the American Sociological Association. Researchers may not always set out to employ both approaches in their work but sometimes find that their use of one approach leads them to the other.

Investigating the social world: The process and practice of research. The specific deterrent effects of arrest for domestic assault. American Sociological Review, 49 , — Specifically, Sherman and Berk hypothesized that deterrence theory would provide a better explanation of the effects of arresting accused batterers than labeling theory.

Deterrence theory predicts that arresting an accused spouse batterer will reduce future incidents of violence. Conversely, labeling theory predicts that arresting accused spouse batterers will increase future incidents. 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. 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.


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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.

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Inductive Approach (Inductive Reasoning) 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 [1].

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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. Inductive and Deductive Research Approaches 3 Introduction Trochim () refers to two “broad methods of reasoning as the inductive and deductive.

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INDUCTIVE & DEDUCTIVE RESEARCH APPROACH Meritorious Prof. Dr. S. M. Aqil Burney Director UBIT 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. 4 Deductive Vs. Inductive Induction . Deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning are two different approaches to conducting scientific research. Using deductive reasoning, a researcher tests a theory by collecting and examining empirical evidence to see if the theory is true.