The inductive method does not imply ignoring theories when formulating research questions and objectives.

Inductive approach application

Inductive reasoning begins with detailed observations of the world, moving toward more abstract ideas and generalizations. No hypotheses can be found in the initial stages of the research and the researcher is unsure about the type and nature of the research results until the study is completed.

Historical development

Not everyone since 300 B.C. until 1600 AD he was willing to bow down to Aristotle's authority. Many of Aristotle's arguments were wrong, but where did he go wrong and what was the correct way to proceed? Around 1600 AD, various people, Galileo Galilei in Italy, Francis Bacon in England, Tycho Brahe in Denmark, and others, realized that there were no subtle logical errors in Aristotle's use of the deductive method. To use the deductive method, you have to start with axioms - simple, true statements about the way the world works.

Then they used these axioms to build his logical system of nature. In fact, they realized that it should be the goal of science, not the starting point, to determine what the "simple true statements about the way the world works" really are. Since 1600, the inductive method has been incredibly successful in nature research, surely far more successful than its creators could have imagined. The inductive research method has become so ingrained in science that it is often referred to as the scientific method.

Is science completely inductive?

Although mathematics is deductive in nature, that is, logical proof is the only acceptable evidence of truth, the process of mathematics is not completely deductive. It is also true that although science is inductive in nature (observations are the only acceptable evidence of truth), the process of science can be deductive.

The benefits of inductive reasoning

Inductive reasoning gives you the opportunity to work with a wide range of probabilities. The assumptions you make from the evidence presented or from a specific set of data are virtually limitless. Inductive reasoning also allows you to develop multiple solutions to a problem and use your research to test another hypothesis. It allows you to take advantage of the knowledge gathered from past experiences to form judgments and make decisions in new situations.

The limits of inductive reasoning

While it gives you the opportunity to explore, it also limits the base available for use. For example, if you look at 100 cats and notice that they all hiss at dogs, you can conclude that all cats will hiss at dogs. While this is sound reasoning, the data you are using is limiting. Because you only observed 100 cats, your conclusion may not be true for all cats.

When using inductive reasoning, it is important to recognize that there is always room for error. While your assumption or theory may be wrong in some cases, you can use that information to continue your research. While you can use data and evidence to support your claim or judgment, there is still the possibility that new facts or evidence will be discovered and prove that your theory is wrong. That is why it is important to learn to use inductive reasoning skills in conjunction with other types of reasoning.

Types of inductive reasoning

There are several ways to use inductive reasoning depending on the situation. The three most commonly used types of inductive reasoning are shown below:

Inductive generalization

This is the type of inductive reasoning discussed earlier (A = B and B = C then A = C). You present a situation, look at evidence from similar past situations, and draw a conclusion based on the information available. For example, for the past three years, the company has exceeded its third quarter revenue target. Based on this information, the company is likely to exceed its revenue target in the third quarter of this year.

Statistical induction

This type of inductive reasoning uses statistical data to draw conclusions such as. For example, 90 percent of the sales team reached their quota last month. Pat is on the sales team. Pat probably reached his sales quota last month. In this case, you are using statistical evidence to inform your conclusion. While statistical induction provides more context for a possible outcome or prediction, it is crucial to remember that new evidence can vary from previous research and may prove a theory wrong.

Induction by confirmation

Induction by confirmation allows you to reach a possible conclusion, but it must include specific assumptions that must be included for the result to be accepted. This type of inductive reasoning is often used by police officers and detectives. Here's an example: Renee broke into a building. Anyone who breaks into a building will have opportunity, motive and means. Renee was in the area and she had picks in her bag. Renee probably broke into the building. In this situation, a theory is developed, and testing it requires specific evidence. Knowing that Bob was in the area where they entered the building and had a pick in his bag are strong points for him to be the one who broke into the building. Understanding the various types of inductive reasoning enables you to better implement them in your daily operations within the workplace.

Some examples

Even if you haven't heard of inductive reasoning before, you've likely used it to make decisions in a professional setting. Here are some examples of how you might apply the inductive reasoning process in a professional setting:

A salesperson notes that when they share testimonials from current and past customers with their prospects, they are 75 percent more likely to make a sale. They now share testimonials with all prospects in an effort to improve their close rate. After noticing that the mood of assisted living center residents improves when young children visit, an activity leader develops a volunteer initiative with local schools to match students with center residents.

Inductive method

Inductive method


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