A Quick Look at The Top 3 Types of Reasonings Used in Research

Reasoning is the process of adopting existing knowledge to make predictions, construct explanations and draw conclusions. Reasoning can be formal, informal, top-down and bottom-up. 

In research, reasoning are of various types. In this blog post, let's have a look at the four types of reasonings that are commonly used in the research.

  • Inductive reasoning 

This type of reasoning aims to establish generalizations about patterns of association, distribution, and observed or measured features of social phenomenon and individuals. The inductive reasoning, also known as bottom-up reasoning starts with singular statements and ends with generalized propositions. It assumes that the study in science begins with observations that offer secured bias. This kind of reasoning uses examples, analogies, experiences and conclusions to develop conclusive propositions. Additionally, it also uses experiences to formulate statements depending on observations of patterns in science, nature and other everyday occurrences. It is commonly used to explain the relations and properties of objects.

Example, Stephan borrowed $200 from John in the month of August. But he did not return the money to John until October. Stephan then promised John to pay the money by Christmas and failed in doing so. He again failed to keep his promise of returning the money by January. Here, it can be concluded that John is never going to pay back the money.

  • Deductive reasoning 

Deductive reasoning, also known as top-down reasoning, begins with a set of hypotheses forming a theory or explanation of a specific problem. In deductive reasoning, the conclusion follows logically from the propositions and premises. Arguments in this type of reasoning are based upon the consistent and sound reasoning. That is, the systematic reasoning with constructed reasoning is considered to be valid only if the premises are true. Generally, deductive reasoning are associated with quantitative research. 

Example, Deductive reasoning can be used to study whether the race impact the access to higher-level education in XYZ country. The researchers used the hypothesis that, due to racism in society, it plays a key role in determining how the professors at a university respond to higher school students expressing their desire to conduct research. By collecting the responses, the researchers concluded that their hypothesis was true. That is, the researchers concluded that the race acted as a barrier and prevents the access to higher education across XYZ country. 

  • Abductive reasoning 

 

This type of reasoning involves developing theories derived from social meanings and accounts in everyday activities. The abductive reasoning is based on testing hypotheses and begins with describing the meanings & activities and deriving the concepts to form the basis of understanding of the problem under investigation. While the inductive reasoning is used to answer “what” questions, deductive reasoning is used to answer “why” questions. However, abductive reasoning can be used to answer both “what” & “why” questions, thereby providing understanding and reasons for the question under investigation. 

Example, let's assume that an individual is stuck in traffic in an accident site and he/she see police lights and an ambulance. The individual can take some exit roads and then re-enter the accident site once the traffic is cleared. After listening to the police report and looking at the condition of the exit roads, he/she decides to stay & wait until the accident is cleared or take the exit route. 

Here’s a glimpse at difference between inductive, deductive and abductive reasoning

Factors 

Inductive reasoning 

Deductive reasoning

Abductive reasoning 

Aim 

Establish descriptions of patterns & characteristics

Test and eliminate false theories

Describe and understand decision-making

Epistemology 

Conventionalism 

Conventionalism & falsification

constructionism

Ontology 

Depth or cautious realist

Subtle or cautious realist

Subtle or idealist realist 

Start with

Singular statement 

Hypothesis 

Describing meaning

Ends at 

Generalization 

Tests hypothesis & constructs theory

Develops a theory

 

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