Deductive and inductive reasoning: Clarification Using Examples

Reasoning leads to the generation of claims in relation to the supporting arguments and evidence. The same concept can be explained in another way, that is, in order to explain a claim, reasons become supporting details by minimising confounding. Though reasoning is important to prove any point of view, in academic writing, where the foundation of research must be laid on truth and validity, the need to give logical reasoning increases many folds. To better understand the concept of reasoning, it is broadly divided into two branches, deductive and inductive reasoning. This article is all about describing both of these types of reasoning with the help of examples. Let’s start our discussion:

Types of reasoning:                         

As the name suggests, the reasoning is the act of giving reasons so readers can trust the provided information. Identifying different types of reasoning is necessary to use them effectively when required. This is because the manuscript written based on solid reasoning helps the reader to think accordingly. Basically, the reasoning is of four main types, and each serves a specific purpose. These types include inductive and deductive reasoning, which are points of discussion of this article, while the other two include adductive reasoning and analogical reasoning. All types are extremely important in research, but in dissertation research, students mostly have to select either deductive or inductive reasoning. Most probably, they are easy to handle. If you want to additional information regarding which one can better serve the purpose of your research, you must seek Dissertation help in the UK.  

Deductive reasoning:

In academics, reasoning is important as it saves a lot of time and effort. It allows readers to know more clearly how the evidence supports your claims. To achieve this purpose, deductive reasoning refers to the act of making generalised statements and supporting them with credible or specific information. Thereby, it moves from the generalised to a specific flow of information that can be represented by an inverted pyramid structure. However, another word referring to the structure of this type of information is the ‘top-down’ approach to drawing conclusions.  

Example for social sciences students:

All psychiatrists are used to handling a situation calmly, no matter how difficult it is. Brady Godwin is a psychiatrist; he can also handle a situation quite calmly.

Example for life sciences students:

Medical plants have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative potential that helps treat diabetic patients. Manikara hexandara is a plant having anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory potential, so it can be used as an anti-diabetic drug.   

Inductive reasoning:

If you completely understand the concept of deductive reasoning, then understanding inductive reasoning will be a piece of cake. This is because; inductive reasoning is the reverse of deductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning starts with specific information and ends by giving general information. So unlike deductive reasoning, its format can be represented by a pyramid. Thus, it is also called logic or bottom-up reasoning.

Example for social sciences students:

My mother is a tutor, and she is very strict in maintaining discipline in the house, and my grandmother is a teacher, and the same environment is observed at her house. Last night, one of my best friends was also discussing the disciplinary rules at her home that were quite similar and her mother is also a tutor. Thus, all mothers with teaching profession are strict about the discipline at their home.

Example for life sciences students:

After chemotherapy therapy, my friend’s sister lost all her hair, and she told me the same happened to one of her relatives as well. Thus, the hair on the head and other body parts of all cancer patients who received chemotherapy therapy fell out.

Contrasting points between deductive and inductive reasoning:

  • Deductive reasoning in research is the top-down approach, while inductive reasoning is the bottom-up.
  • The inductive approach takes a person from specific to general information, while the deductive one takes you from general information to specific one.
  • The deductive approach helps researchers to use available information, knowledge, and theories to reach some conclusion. In contrast, the inductive approach helps researchers to start a study even when no or very little information is available on a topic of discussion.
  • If you have to apply inductive reasoning to research, you have to pass through three stages. That is, observation, pattern recognition, and theory development to extract a general conclusion. However, the deductive approach in research allows the researcher to start with an existing theory, make a tentative hypothesis, collect data, analyse data, and decide on the specific results.
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