Differences Between Inductive and Deductive Reasoning - Guide

Differences Between Inductive and Deductive Reasoning


Differences Between Inductive and Deductive Reasoning

You will apply inductive and deductive reasoning if you need to research something. So, you may be wondering what the two methods mean: inductive and deductive. What are the differences between the two? Is there a method that’s better than the other?

While conducting deductive research, you should have a theory. You should test the theory to determine whether it’s valid and if the conclusion has logic. However, in inductive, the research is simple; you need to make several observations and then make a ruling.

To have logical reasoning or offer a solution to a problem, you should combine both types of logic. In a research process, inductive reasoning should come before deductive argument. However, there is no technique that is superior to the other.

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Let’s learn more about inductive and deductive reasoning and their differences with the help of examples and FAQs. 

What is the meaning of Inductive and Deductive Reasoning?

Inductive reasoning is making conclusions by moving from a specific to a general option. This form of reasoning is referred to as inductive logic or bottom-up reasoning. You reason from specific instances and give evidence to the conclusion made.

Inductive reasoning can occur when you observe objects, patterns, or behaviors. From what you discover, you can conclude about the situation, behaviors, or pattern. For example, you can say:

"Monday, it rained in the afternoon.  So, this pace always rains in the afternoon. So, this statement is an example of inductive reasoning, called generalization."

On the contrary deductive reasoning involves a combination of various pieces of information to form a conclusion. So, this form of reasoning applies logic to find a more satisfactory conclusion rather than guesswork. The opinion from deductive reasoning is more accurate and based on rules and logic. 

Deductive reasoning is also called top-to-bottom or the general-to-specific approach.  It’s the best method for making conclusions though sometimes it may be illogical too. 

A logical example:

"Valentine's is coming on 14th February. Today is 14th February; therefore, it's Valentine’s Day."

Illogic example:

"Carrots are oranges; oranges are oranges; oranges are carrots."

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What are the Types of Inductive Reasoning?

The following are the types of inductive reasoning:

1. Generalization

It’s an approach that makes the final statement based on recurrent patterns or repeated observations. To make this conclusion, you must observe a situation several times and then combine common patterns. 

For instance,

"If you like touring and seek services with a certain touring company and get the best experience, you will like them. If you visit them a second time and receive the same treatment, you may conclude that they are the best company."   

This example may be true, but just for you. What happens if someone else visits the touring company and gets a bad experience? Your statement may therefore be incorrect and overly generalized.

2. Causal Reasoning

This reasoning seeks to have cause-effect connections. While making this reasoning, one should only relate the cause and effects that are strong and direct. One occurrence leads to another, and the first is the cause of the second.

3. Statistical Reasoning

It’s a type that makes a final statement based on statistics. One can argue that 90 of the kids born are genius, if one randomly selects one kid in a group, there is a high probability of picking a genius.

4. Sample

It means an argument concluding on a group using the sample of a different group. For example, there are 100 genius kids in this area; therefore, all kids in the neighboring town are genius.

5. Analogous

This reasoning draws a conclusion based on the shared patterns of the two groups. So, you first link two things and then infer that one feature about them must hold. This form is also called comparison.

6. Predictive

It’s the type of reasoning that makes a conclusion based on a prediction made from a past sample.

What are the Types of Deductive Reasoning?

There are three different types of deductive reasoning:

1. Syllogism

It’s a three-part argument that has a premise, a conclusion, and a reason for the conclusion.  The premise should have a valid logic to make a specific conclusion.

2. Modus Ponens

Ponens contains a conditional, an affirmative statement, and a conclusion. The second statement usually affirms the first one. So, a conclusion must be true if the first statement is true. For example, all humans are mortal; Carey is a human, so Carey is mortal.

3. Modus Tollens

It’s also known as the law of contradictive as it’s the opposite of modus ponens. According to this law, the second statement disputes the first one. 

Classification of Inductive and Deductive Arguments

 The two arguments are grouped according to various categories. Let’s start with deduction. A deduction can be valid or invalid, sound or unsound.

  • Valid deduction – the conclusion is usually true if the premise is true
  • Invalid – a possibility of a false conclusion if the premise is true
  • Sound deduction – argument is valid, and the conclusion is true, while unsound includes all the invalid arguments.

The inductive has the following categories: weak, strong, cogent, and uncogent

  • Strong argument – if the premise is true, the conclusion will be true.
  • Weak inductive – premises assumed to be true, but the conclusion isn’t
  • Cogent – when the argument is strong and the statement true
  • Uncogent – when the reasoning is weak or the argument has at least one false premise

Get more examples of sound and cogent arguments in this guide. Logical arguments help you solve issues and improve your critical thinking skills. Place an order on our platform for any inquiries on critical essay writing help.

Which are the Steps of Writing Inductive Reasoning?

From the definition above, we have seen that inductive reasoning makes a general rule from several observations. This argument concludes observations, and therefore, this process includes four stages:

  • Observations – where you collect facts without any bias
  • Analysis – you start grouping the facts to derive the pattern or determine the regularity.
  • Inference – after analyzing the patterns, you make a conclusion concerning them or the general rule
  • Confirmation – testing whether the conclusion is valid through more observation.

Which is the Deductive Research Writing Process?

A deductive argument should always start with a theory and then test the theories. Follow these four stages in your reasoning:

  1. Create a problem statement or use an existing theory e.g Domesticated dogs have fleas.
  2. Develop a hypothesis from the existing theory e.g All domesticated dogs in my flats have fleas.
  3. Collecting data to test the hypothesis e.g Test the dogs in your apartment for fleas.
  4. Analyzing the test results e.g 10 out of 40 dogs didn’t have fleas

This deductive example starts with a theory that all domesticated dogs have fleas. From the theory, an inference develops about the dogs in a flat. So, to determine whether this is a fact, a test is carried out, and only ten out of 40 dogs have fleas. The illogical theory about domesticated dogs leads to an invalid conclusion. Therefore, if carrying out this research, one should start again with a logical fact to reach a valid conclusion.

Deductive vs. Inductive Reasoning

  • Deductive arguments reach a certain conclusion, while inductive conclusions are
  • probabilistic
  • Deductive statements may be valid or invalid, meaning if the premise is true, the inference will be true, while inductive can either be strong or weak, leading to a false or true conclusion.
  • In deductive several statements are connected to conclude while in inductive, only a sample statement is taken to conclude.  
  • Deductive is applied to test hypotheses and confirm facts, while inductive is best for making observations and settling a hypothesis. Thus, deductive is about confirmation, while inductive is exploratory because generalizations create theories.
  • Deductive is a bottom-up approach, while inductive is a top-down reasoning.
  • The deduction is hard to use in everyday life as it requires research to prove the theories, while inductive is mostly applied in everyday life; it doesn’t require any research, just partial knowledge and probabilities.

What are the Benefits of Inductive Reasoning?

Inductive reasoning has various benefits as outlined below:

  • Making assumptions helps you have a range of probabilities for forming conclusions. You should list all your assumptions and narrow them down into a logical and informed inference.
  •  It helps you in criticizing new theories
  • This logic encourages new research because as you form assumptions, there is an urge to find answers making you innovative.
  • Helps you view multiple potential solutions to a single problem. This skill is essential in businesses when developing a new product and testing the effectiveness of various approaches. 

What are the Limits of Inductive Reasoning?

  • The inferences are based on limited knowledge and thus lack logic
  • The use of data may also lead to an incorrect conclusion, so data isn’t always correct.
  • Relying on past research to learn patterns may be misguiding and disputing with future evidence.

When dealing with inductive reasoning, it's best to look at these factors to make it effective:

  • The amount of data you observe – if you make more observations on different situations having the same features, then you improve the validity of the conclusion.
  • Quality of the data – more accurate data will lead to a logical final statement
  • Existence of additional data – if it has the same characteristics as your premises then it makes your reasoning accurate
  • Relevance of necessary information
  • Existence of additional possible explanations

Which are the Applications of Inductive Reasoning?

Inductive reasoning has helped people in various roles and sectors. Private consultants and companies require this skill to run various business activities. Check out more applications of inductive reasoning:

1. Inductive Reasoning in Recruiting

A hiring company usually contracts actuarial science and engineering candidates smoothly. Through inductive reasoning, they conclude that these candidates are the best and thus keep hiring more.

2. Improving Business Practices

An online business may review its client’s feedback. They notice that the comment or reviews may be true, so they work on more reviews to promote the business.

3. Marketing

If adding a customer testimonial on a company website boosts sales, it’s a nice marketing tactic. So, the reasoning will suggest that the company should trust all the clients’ testimonials and include them on all their platforms to boost sales and trust in the brand.

Advantages of Deductive Reasoning

  • Helps identify and solve a challenge
  • Its aids in substantiating decisions. Even if the decision fails to provide the best results, you can easily provide logical and objective explanations.
  • Your final statement is guaranteed to be true if the original premise is true and the reasoning applied is correct.
  • It’s applied in research, especially in scientific fields. Laws making process uses this logic and assumes that the law must be true. Again, medical research requires logical deduction to make correct inferences. You can learn more research tips on how to write a college research paper in this article.

Limits of Deductive Reasoning

  • Its accuracy depends on the initial premises if it’s correct. If your theory is illogical, even the conclusion will be false, and vice versa is correct. Therefore, errors in the approach can lead to faulty decisions.

Applications of Deductive Reasoning

  • To help solve a problem or make decisions – for instance, if in a business, you may determine what caused client dissatisfaction.
  • Under the law of detachment, it requires deductive logic. This law has one single statement, and that states one hypothesis. 

For instance, in an if-then statement, If an angle F > 90 degrees, then A is an obtuse angle. F = 125 degrees. Therefore, F is an obtuse angle.

Keep reading more applications of the deductive approach in this article.

To Sum Up

If you need to conduct research, you should have an idea of where to start. You will need to apply both methods to have the best results. Remember, to begin with inductive, make observations, take notes, and create a theory you can test.

Use a deductive approach to test the theory. Perform tests, sort the results, and form a logical inference based on facts. This is how research officers work in criminal investigations. With these facts and knowledge, you can now apply these types of reasoning in your research or challenge that you want to solve.

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