The inductive and deductive approaches provide two different types of reasoning. Inductive one is based on moving from the specific to general information, while deductive starts from the general and moves to specific. Therefore, the main difference between the inductive and deductive approaches consists in the way of expression of the arguments.
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The inductive reasoning starts from the observation or experience, moving to the patterns and hypothesis (Leming). A formulation of the tentative hypothesis helps understanding the small elements as well as the whole picture. As the result, the conclusions present a theory based on the ideas that were developed while reasoning. This method is open-ended and requires the exploration.
As the ampliative structure, induction contains the arguments which are found beyond the premises. This approach may ask providing several arguments and hypothesis, where one of them can support the conclusions more than others. Therefore, inductive reasoning requires moving form specific observation or experience to the summarization.
For instance: All my friends are kind, therefore, all people are kind. In this example, the conclusions are based on the personal experience and moves from the particular statement to the generalization. However, this approach can lead to the false conclusions even in case of the valid arguments and a true statement.
The deductive reasoning is called a top-down method. The reflection starts from a theory and narrow it to particular hypothesis (Using Varied Instructional Techniques: Inductive and Deductive Teaching Approaches 2006). In the social science, the deductive approach provides the conclusions which are based on a specific case derived from a broad theory.
In the other words, the deductive method requires moving from the general idea, theory or statement to the particular elements. As the intermediate stage, hypothesis presents some specific reflection that helps finding the concrete conclusions needed. Besides, hypothesis can lead to the confirmation or negation of the theory. For instance: All people are kind.
My friend is a man, therefore, he is kind. In this example, the general statement is a basement and start point of the reflection. The conclusions present a particular fact derived from the general idea. The deductive approach helps gaining knowledge, providing many specific ideas and facts that may be not clearly seen at the beginning.
These approaches are very different; therefore, they can be used within the different situations. The inductive one as an open-ended and exploratory method is used in order to explain the situation that happened or find a general reason. More narrow deductive approach is based on the confirmation of the particular hypothesis, using some general idea, statement or theory as the beginning.
The social research requires the use of both methods. Starting from the particular idea, the scientist can develop a new general theory, and vice versa, some summary, generalization can be chosen as a basement for the research of its particular element.
Based on the different methods of reflection, the inductive and deductive approaches can be useful for the social science in order to analyze the various types of the situations. Both methods were popular historically.
Nowadays, the method of deduction is more accepted than the inductive one due to its approximation to the scientific research. However, these two approaches can be used together, while the initial theory can be developed using the inductive method, the results can be tested using the deductive approach.
Biology Success! Teaching Diverse Learners. 2006. Using Varied Instructional Techniques: Inductive and Deductive Teaching Approaches. National Institute – Landmark College. Web.
Leming, Michael R. n.d. Sociological Theory: A Social Science Approach to the family. Web.