The main difference between inductive and deductive approaches to research is that whilst a deductive approach is aimed and testing theory, an inductive approach is concerned with the generation of new theory emerging from the data.
A deductive approach usually begins with a hypothesis, whilst an inductive approach will usually use research questions to narrow the scope of the study.
For deductive approaches the emphasis is generally on causality, whilst for inductive approaches the aim is usually focused on exploring new phenomena or looking at previously researched phenomena from a different perspective.
Inductive approaches are generally associated with qualitative research, whilst deductive approaches are more commonly associated with quantitative research. However, there are no set rules and some qualitative studies may have a deductive orientation.
One specific inductive approach that is frequently referred to in research literature is grounded theory, pioneered by Glaser and Strauss.
This approach necessitates the researcher beginning with a completely open mind without any preconceived ideas of what will be found. The aim is to generate a new theory based on the data.
Once the data analysis has been completed the researcher must examine existing theories in order to position their new theory within the discipline.
Grounded theory is not an approach to be used lightly. It requires extensive and repeated sifting through the data and analysing and re-analysing multiple times in order to identify new theory. It is an approach best suited to research projects where there the phenomena to be investigated has not been previously explored.
The most important point to bear in mind when considering whether to use an inductive or deductive approach is firstly the purpose of your research; and secondly the methods that are best suited to either test a hypothesis, explore a new or emerging area within the discipline, or to answer specific research questions.
See also: Using Conceptual Frameworks in Qualitative Research
Citing This Article
Gabriel, D. (2013). Inductive and deductive approaches to research. Accessed on ‘date’ from https://deborahgabriel.com/2013/03/17/inductive-and-deductive-approaches-to-research/
Gabriel, D., 2013. Inductive and deductive approaches to research. Accessed on ‘date’ from https://deborahgabriel.com/2013/03/17/inductive-and-deductive-approaches-to-research/Follow Me on Academia.edu
200 thoughts on “Inductive and deductive approaches to research”
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Hi, yes the explanation was helpful because it was simple to read and pretty much, straight to the point. It has given me a brief understanding for what I needs.
Thanks — Chantal
Thank u ❤
It was very supportive for me!! thank you!!
thank you so much for the information. it was simple to read and also brief concise and straight to the point. thank you.
Deborah, thanks for this elaboration. but I am asking is it possible to conduct a deductive inclined research and also generate a theory, or add to the theory. I have been asked by my supervisor whether I am just testing hypothesi or my aim is to contribute/generate a theory. my studies is more of a quantitative nature. Thanks
Deductive research is more aimed towards testing a hypothesis and therefore is an approach more suited to working with quantitative data. The process normally involves reproducing a previous study and seeing if the same results are produced. This does not lend itself to generating new theories since that is not the object of the research. Between inductive and deductive approaches there is also a third approach which I will write a post on shortly – abdductive.
Dear Deborah, it has been very long time since you posted this article. However, I can testify that it is very helpful for a novis reseracher like me.
Ms. Deborah, thank you for given info, but i was in confusion reg, differences between deductive, inductive, abductive and (new one) Hypothetico-deductive approaches. Can it be possible to email the differences, its applications, tools used and scientific nature, to build a theory using quantitative survey method. My email Id is: email@example.com Iam writing my PhD thesis based on this . it is part of my 3 chapter. Thanking you
awaiting for your mail soon.
Hi Madhu. As a PhD student you need to take the time to read the appropriate literature on research approaches and attend workshops/conferences to better understand methodology. You cannot take short cuts by by asking someone (me) to simply provide you with ready answers to your queries – especially when I do not have the time to do so!
Great saying…every student at every level, should be critical analysts and critical thinkers.
Thank u.. but there is a little mistake which is deductive approach deals with qualitative and inductive appoech deals with quantitative
No – you have it the wrong way round – I suggest you read the article again and also engage in wider reading on research methods to gain a deeper understanding.
A clear cut concept with example.
Deborah I appreciate so much in this article…I got what I am looking for… thanks for your contribution.
Thanks so much
It is simple, easy to differentiate and understandable.
Thank u for the information, it really helps me.
Exactly, your work is simple and clear, that there are two research approaches, Inductive and deductive.Qualitative and Quantative approaches
You gave clear differences in a balance, simple to understand, I suppose you are a teacher by profession.
This is how we share knowledge,and you become more knowledgable
Thank you Lambawi, I am glad that these posts are proving useful. I will endeavour to add some more in the coming weeks!
This has been helpful. thanks for posting
Thank you very much for sharing knowledge with me. It really much helpful while preparing my college exam. Thank –:)
Thank you ever so much for making it simple and easily understandable. Would love to see more posts.
The explanation is simple and easy to understand it has helped to a lot thank you
very helpful and explained simply. thanks
Explanation is simple…. it was a great help for my exam preparation.
Excellent presentation please!
Very helpful information and a clear, simple explanation. Thank you
Thanks; this has been helpful in preparation for my forthcoming exams
This is fantastic, I have greatly beneffitted from this straight forward illustration
Thanks…i will benifited to read this
Thanks for your help. Keep it like that so that will be our guide towards our destinations.
Thank-you for your academic insights.
Thank you for your clarification. Well understood.
Hi, I had a question would you call process tracing technique an inductive or deductive approach? or maybe both? Hope you can help me with the same.
Hi Achin. Process tracing is a qualitative analytical tool and therefore inductive rather than deductive, since its purpose is to identify new phenomena. You might find this journal article useful:
Preparing for my Research Methods exams and I'm grateful for your explanations. This is a full lecture made simple. Thank you very much.
I am very thankful for this information, madam you are just good. If you are believer, allow me to say, May God bless you with more knowledge and good health.
Hi Rasol, glad that the post was useful and – yes – I am a believer so thank you for the blessing!
I am currently doing Btech in forensic with Unisa would you be so kind and help with this question below and may I use your services while Iam doing this degree Please
Hi I have question that goes like these "If the reseacher wanted to conduct reseach in a specific context to see whether it supports an establisblished theory" the reseacher would be conducting
1. case study
2. deductive research
3. exploratory resarch
4. inductive methods
please help me to choose the right one
Deductive, which is not exploratory but designed to test a hypothesis. So this is unlike to be case study research but a quantitative study.
Hi Deborah, I have been struggling with my research methods proposal, in finding the right methodology for my study. This is the only explanation out of all the books that I have read which really enables me to truly understand the meaning of Grounded Theory for which you describe as an inductive. I just would like to say thank you for your explanation as this has helped me in a way, which I thought I would never get.
You are most welcome!
Very useful piece of information. Thank you!
Very impressing work, may god bless you with more mighty knowledge.
In fact this has been very usefull information for me in my research,. It's very clear and easy to understand looking at the choice of language ,etc God bless you!!
Hi Ms Deborah Gabriel, I am from the backward area of Pakistan, which is known as “North Waziristan”. Unfortunately famous for terrorism, as from that background, you can understand the weakness of my educational background. I am struggling for MBA degree, and I was searching for Deductive and Inductive approaches, and then I found your best explained article here, already praised by many people. I will just add this “Thank you, May GOD Bless You”
I will be highly honoured if you would like to contact me on my email.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanking you for your time and efforts.
Is it possible to use deductive approach in research concerning what has happened in an industry?
If you are seeking to test a hypothesis then yes.
Thank you very much this information has been extremely helpful. I can now progress with my dissertation.
Thanks for that good work Deborah. It has taken me quite a short time to read and understand. Kindly please help me understand what am required to write in this case where my teacher gave me this question: "Explain the process of deduction and induction research approaches".
Please refer to the recommended reading: https://deborahgabriel.com/recommended-reading/
Many thanks to you, I really appreciate u on ur information provided basically on theories and approaches to understanding research.
Thank you very much.
Good work Deborah.
Thank you so much!! The distinction between the two approaches is clear and concise. Most other websites tend to go into long discussions without really getting to the point. This was very helpful.
Thank you , useful explanation
It is a very fruitful post. I would like to ask if the objective of my research is to develop an extended process from the existing processes. And I am going to use qualitative and quantitative research methods, because my research phenomenon requires to study the individual meanings and perceptions and then uses the findings from the qualitative study and also the theoretical study as inputs for the quantitative study. Finally, I will use the findings of the theoretical study and the quantitative study in developing the extended process. So, which approach to follow in this case?
Dear Tamer, Your question is too hypothetical for me to offer a response. But in any event, you are the only one who can decide whether an inductive or deductive approach is appropriate for your research project. This is where methodology comes in – which is about determining what research methods will be most effective in answering your research questions and which are in sync with your approach (e.g. critical, feminist etc).
my dissertation is in the same situation. and I also feel struggle to choose my research approach. I guess its a combination of inductive and deductive. using the deductive approach to test what was found in the literature, and use an inductive approach to examine the themes that emerged from qualitative data.
What do you think about the approach with quantitative analyses that start with data to generate theories? Typically data mining techniques fit into my example.
This is a question of methodology – research methods must be selected based on the discipline, research questions and approach to the study. For example, If you are seeking to ascertain how many people read the news on their smartphones then a quantitiative method is most appropriate. On the other hand. if you are seeking to delve into why some people read the news on their smartphones, then clearly a qualitative method is required.
Awesome response, I was looking at the same thing in my postgraduate class.
What if I’m using secondary sources? Which would be more appropriate qualitative or quantitative?
The question of inductive or deductive approaches arise only in relation to ‘primary’ research – that is when you are undertaking your own study. In your own study, secondary sources would appear under a Literature Review. However, if you are doing a dissertation, say for an undergraduate degree where you are not undertaking primary research then inductive or deductive approaches are not applicable. I hope this clarifies.
Your comments are really good and easy to understand. Hope to contact you for my project.
keep up the good work. thank you
The last paragraph stated ‘The most important point to bear in mind when considering whether to use an inductive or deductive approach is firstly the purpose of your research; and secondly the methods that are best suited to either test a hypothesis, explore a new or emerging area within the discipline, or to answer specific research questions. However my question is if my research is about answering specific research questions in a qualitative research. Am I to use the inductive or the deductive or the mixture of the two?
Hi Ola, if your research questions are qualitatively focused – that is seeking to find out the whys and the hows as opposed to ‘what’ and ‘how many’ then certainly an inductive approach is most appropriate. This is because inductive aims to find new theories emerging from the data whereas deductive is centred on testing a hypothesis rather than exploring research questions.
Thank u so much.it was difficult for me to understand but with ur help the job is complete
Points of distinction top notch. Absolutely fantastic. Straight to the point. Was really helpful. Keep up the good work.
Thanks for the inforation Deborah. It was useful
Thank you so much, this was something I was never able to grasp so well! I found this site while searching the difference between the two on Google. I am a PHD Scholar, now it seems I will be visiting this site frequently and seeking your help 🙂
Hi Deborah. Thank you for the input.It clearly exemplifies the difference. In your response to one of the questions, you have highlighted a lot of 'what' will qualify the research as quantitative. I have developed 4 research questions, 3 are on 'what's and 1 'why'. The what is because my sample of analysis is multimodal text. Will my study still fall under qualitative? Thank you in advance, Deborah. I appreciate it very much.
Hi Zilla, It is hard to provide a definitive answer without knowing what your research questions are (although time does not permit me to provide individual responses). So I will reiterate that the question of whether to adopt an inductive or deductive approach to a research project is relevant for ‘primary’ research – that is, research that you undertake yourself. Factors that influence your decision should rest on whether you are seeking to explore the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of human experience, generating new levels or understanding or simply wish to test a hypothesis or use a large sample in order to generalise results to the wider population. You say that your sample is multimodal text – that is simply text plus media such as videos, pictures etc. My question to you is whether this multimodal text has been generated from primary research – i.e interviews you conducted, photos you took and/or videos that you filmed of research subjects? If that is the case then I would presume that this would be a qualitative research project that would lend itself to an inductive approach,since I cannot imagine that you would be able to work with a very large sample of multimodal text. If the multimodal text is not generated from your own primary resesarch then this is secondary research that might be included in your literature review but would fall outside the scope of your analysis.
I just want to ask you to help me with generation of theory. Steps that need to be followed
Thanks a lot for showing me the best way to understand the basic difference between two approaches of research.
Dear Aliyu, time does not permit me to provide responses on your individual projects. Therefore, my aim is to equip you with the understanding of different approaches so that you have both the confidence and competence to make appropriate decisions on the most suitable methodological approaches to your research.
Beautiful stuff you are giving us Deborah.
Deborah, thank you so much for your explanation, I'm clear now.
I am gathering quantitative data to develop a model to represent the behavior of a material using an existing model. I subsequently used this model to simulate the material behavior with a computer program. this is a reversal approach to previour reaeasch in these area. usually the computer simulation is used to obtain quantitative data without experiment. Could you please kindly let me know what is my reasearch method Thanks
Please see my response to Aliyu on 8 November.
Dr, your explanation about inductive research and deductive, is meaningful to postgraduate students. What is your suggestion on my research topic: use of handset by primary six pupils for games, rather for home works and readings, what is the research approach that will be suitable?
Very brief and well explained. Thank you Deborah.
Thank you Dr. Gabriel, good informationl; will come back.
It has actually helped – a similar question was asked last year in my schools,that prompted me to search for it while preparing for my exam. Today the same question appeared and I used your explanation as my response to the question. Thanks.
Hi Deborah, your explanations are comprehensible. I understand this topic thanks to you. May I ask you question? What are the similarities between inductive and deductive reasoning?
That’s like asking what the similarities are between quantitative and qualitative research! Focus on what your research objectives are and then choose the approach that will be most efefctive in meeting these objectives.
Thanks so much
Have got what I really want here
Enlightening facts. Thank you.
Thanks Deborah for the explanation but, i want to ask if descriptive is inductive or deductive approach? God bless you
it is really good explanation
Can I ask one question? I am going to research how technology is changing the hotel industry particularly at the hotel front desk so is that inductive or deductive approach? I believe deductive approach because the aim of my research is to investigate current used technology at hotel front desk. So what do you think please let me know Thank you very much indeed.
Please refer to my post on conceptual frameworks to take you through the key steps in developing a research project – you will find your answer there: https://deborahgabriel.com/2015/02/14/using-conceptual-frameworks-in-qualitative-research/
The information provide is quite helpful, thanks after all….
I was confused about these approaches but your information has helped me a lot – reasonable and authentic.
I've got the answers,thx.
It is very clear and concise.
Thank you, it was right on point.
Thank you, I used this solution for my assignment.
Thank you so much Deborah. I am currently doing my dissertation and most of my lecturers have recommeded us to use Research Methods for Business Students by Mark Saunders, Philip Lewis and Adrian Thornhill. I have found the book very hard to understand especially when I'm wrtiting up the methodology section as I have to talk about deductive and inductive approaches. You have simplified it and explained it well. Also you have made it so so easy to understand. Everyone should be reading this. Thank you so so, so much.
You’re very welcome. Good luck with your dissertation!
Thank you D now I am aware of these two!
I found it so easy to understand the difference between deductive theory and inductive- it's so helpful. Many Thanks.
Deborah, your work is precise,well organized and relevant.Thank you very much.
Thanks for the explanation, it has cleared my doubts.
Thanks Dr. Deb, I am satisfied – it was really useful.
Hi Doc, thank you for making things simpler for me. I will always be incontact with your website. Stay forever blessed.
Thank you for the information. It really helps me.
Hi Deborah, i just went through the abductive approach which is combination of inductive and deductive Approach. I found it a little confusing when I tried to know by my own from e sources. But after going through the conversation in this page helped me a lot. Thank u very much. If u can share your email I can share my report made for my pre PhD comprehensive viva. My profession is teaching and my area of research is International HRM. Title is Knowledge and Learning Model among effective repatriation. If anybody is doing reserach in the same area, plse feel free to reach me at email@example.com. Thank u all again
Thx for the information.
Hi Deborah Thank you very much for the article. it is informative. My question is what approach am i supposed to take if i am doing a research that is both qualitative and quantitative. I am doing research on the feasibility of establishing renewable energy systems in a developing country. I am using a simulation software to generate a model to analyse the technical and economic data (Quantitative) but i have to use interviews to capture social and polical views from industry experts (Qualitative). So which approach is best in such a scenario? Thank you
In a mixed methods study, the quanitiative dimension of the study usually functions to capture preliminary data, with the qualitative dimension being the primary method that answers the research questions. In any case, in a mixed methods study you must peform both quantitative and qualitative data analysis – separately. In reference to your specifc study you need to refer back to your reearch questions and the aims and objectives of your study. Is your primary objective to develop a model for a renewable energy system or is it to determine whether industry experts see the viability of the model? If it is the latter then the approach should be inductive. I would advise you to consult your supervisor or someone in your discipline, as I am not an engineer.
Your explaination of inductive & deductive approaches to research is clear to understand.
Your explanation of concepts is succint and easily conceivable. Helpful.
Thank you so much Deborah. I am currently writing my research on resource curse theory and I will like to have your private mail for private discussions. Thank you
No problem – you can use the contact form and your message will go directly to my email address.
Thanks for differentiating the two in easy and pragmetic manner.
Thank you Deborah, that was a simple, clear explanation helpful for sure.
I like the way you simplified everything,was really helpful for my assignment. Please how do I reference this work? Thank you
Reference it as an online source:
Gabriel,D.(2013). Inductive and deductive approaches to research. Avaolable from: https://deborahgabriel.com/2013/03/17/inductive-and-deductive-approaches-to-research/
Thank you Deborah, this is very helpful to me and others.
Great insight, simple and clear; I now get the difference thanks for sharing.
Thanks for the very good explanation and comparison.
A very simple and straightforward guidance to students.
Hi Debrah , It is really interesting to get valuable points from your statments about deductive reasoning. However it seems short . It will be helpful for us if you write more. Thanks
Dear Almaz, thank you for your feedback. The post was only intended to provide a brief overview of the subject – to better understand inductive and deductive approaches to research I strongly recommend immersing yourself in the available literature.
Perhaps, you can suggest 1 or 2 widely cited scholars (to read) that argue that deductive approaches can also be used in a qualitative methodology which is interpretive/subjective in nature.
Thank you once again!
You are definitely on point.
Thank you so much.
Thank you so much Deborah.
Such inspiring work.
Your literature is helping us a lot here at the Ivory Tower Makerere University Kampala Uganda.
I am glad to hear that. What are you studying?
Hi Deborah. I am Iftikhar from United Arab Emirates (UAE). I am conducting a research on learning preferences of Generation Z youth, and one of my research questions is "What are the learning preferences of UAE Gen Z youth and how matching of L&D program delivery with these learning preferences affect Gen Z interest in organizational L&D programs?" Now as for existing literature, a lot has already been written on this but in the West; there is practically no formal research literature available on this topic in UAE. Therefore, I am taking the Western literature outcomes and applying these in UAE context to see the results. My questions are: a. Will this research be treated as "Deductive' or "Inductive"? b. Should I choose 'Quantitative" or "Qualitative' approach? Wishing you all the best.
Thanks Deborah. but I'm confused. You said deductive approach is used in quantitative research and it test a theory and inductive approach is used in qualitative research to generate a theory. So what is grounded theory?
Thanks a lot for such a good explanation, Deborah!
Thank you very much. It was simple to understand.
Lovely….this was very helpful…simple and straightforward.
Thanks. It is so useful. Best Regards.
This has been troubling me for a while. It is often said that the interpretive paradigm typically goes with inductive approaches and methods involving observation, interviews and research into archives. But then if concepts are to emerge from the data without theoretical preconceptions, how come it is often said that the research design, choice of case studies, and initial coding in thematic analysis can be theory driven? Wouldn’t that make the approach deductive (i.e. about testing theory). Or, how does theory coming before the research design fit with an inductive approach? In my experience so far authors seem to evade this point.
HALLO D! I REALLY LIKE YOUR WORK IT REALLY HELPED ME IN MY RESEARCH.
Thank You so very much Deborah. I really got to uncover what puzzled me on deductive versus inductive approaches.
Thanks Dr.Gabriel. It was very simple and useful. Now I understood the differecne b/w deductive and inductive method.
Thanx for sharing with us. It is very useful for my dissertation. Your topic clarifies the difference between inductive and deductive research.
Hi Dr.Gabriel, I am doing a research to apply a theory into service industry which is more commonly practiced in manufacturing industry ( known as Lean approach), my aim is to apply this approach into banking operation, the objective is to find the elements/processes in the bank operation that actually increase the cost or decrease the service quality. If I want to conduct a research to find those elements in a bank operation. should I use Inductive approach? what is your advise? Thanks
Hi Deborah, Thank you for a great article! It made it very clear the differenece between deductive and inductive. I'd like to ask you the following: – Is possible to have inductive study with hypotheses and use semi-structured interviews to answer these hypotheses and research questions? thank you very much for your reply! Alina
Hi Alina, I’m glad my post has been useful for you. In answer to your question, I think maybe you are confusing research questions with hypotheses. Research questions guide the overall study and ensure that when designing interview questions – they are structured in the most effective way to elicit responses that address the research questions. Hypotheses are linked to deductive studies where researchers aim to test presumptions/predictions about phenomenon – this is not the same as research questions.
Hi Deborah Thanks for an intersting piece of work presented. Am kindly inquiring how i can get along with literature review and conceptual framemework on the topic 'IDPs and Solid Waste Management' and objectives; exploring everyday practice around solid waste management; finding out how social networks move and merge into new spaces for waste management and establish connections between waste management and social lfestyle. Thanks Hakimu
Hi Deborah thank you for a great article . I have a question for you I am doing my research work and I have some issue about theory construction. Basically I am a beginner in social research – I have no idea about constructing new theory. Please let me know about theory construction and what is a procedure – how can I construct theory and also about steps of this method? I hope you will understand my words. Thank you.
Dear Amna, Welcome to the world of research – we all have to start somewhere! If you're new to social research I would recommend you join the Social Research Association (SRA) who provide training and a wealth of resources for researchers. With regards to theory – unless you are researching new phenomena that has never been researched before or are developing a completely new approach (unlikely) you will not be creating 'new' theory with your research project. You will be using existing theory in your approach and embed theoretical perspectives into your methodology. You will also likely use relevant theories when analysing your data. However, before you think about theory you need to develop your methodology – see my other post: methods and methodology.
Thanks so much. This post was very helpful and easy to understand!
Hi Deborah, Thank you for the precise and helpful information .. I need your help as I feel a little bit confused. i am doing a case study of airline corporate image. it is the newest crisis scenario in my country related to our regional carrier. I think, i among the pioneers doing the case study research for this airline company. I used the conceptual framework from other previous conducted study. It was conducted in quantitative manner. If i used the conceptual framework as my guidance for my literature review and interview question construction, is that okay if i do not use inductive for the case study because i do not build a new theory. If i just compare and argue with the previous finding and the model used, is it consider as deductive approach in case study? Based on my reading, i found some researchers used deductive approach in their case study. they tested the hypotheses..but i just compare my finding with the model used from the previous research. For your information, i did documentation, direct observation and interview (trigulation) with ex-passengers and aviation expert. What do you think? .Please help me..i am stuck. Thank you
Thank you Doctor, it’s straightforward valuable piece of knowledge. It may require a little bit of referencing. Furthermore, adding citation line below will be useful for academic use.
Thank you very much!
Thank you for a crisp and nice post. It helped me.
I am very beginner in research, and its really very helpful.
Thank you very much…
wow wow wow great work Deborah. I now have a clear insight of the differences,,,, kudos!
Thank you …it’s helpful for me.
Good job.It helped me to find the question’s answer in my mid-term. Thenk you.
My study is ethnographic research specifically it studies about culture, tradition and lifestyle of an ethnic groups. I think my research is inductive, is it right?
I feel same as most the above commentators. Very well written – written in a way that I (who for the first time heard of these two types of researcher methods,) felt like I got a gist of what they are and how they are different.
Thanks Deborah G! Your articles have helped me a lot.
your article is simple to understand and please keep it up
It is really helpful me to get sorted these concepts in research field in simple manner.Thanks for that and really appreciate it.
Very clear explanation about inductive and deductive appraoches in research. I like it.
I appreciate your clear and precise explanations, thank you.
Thanks for this, it’s clear, concise and easy to understand – very helpful.
That was just perfect. I have been reading about these methods from my course book offered by university for 3 days but I couldn’t understand their differences. Now it is completely clear. Thanks a lot.
Is that possible to have both in our research? I mean, what if we choose an inductive approach and then when we go forward make some assumptions to answer research questions?
If you are undertaking inductive research then you don’t make any assumptions as you are looking for micro theories to emerge from your analysis of the data. You cannot start with inductive and then switch to deductive – it must be one or the other. You don’t make assumptions to answer research questions – you analyse the findings to do that.
It is precise and clear. Thanks
Great work and explanation and also the researcher herself is very energetic and motivated to help others… world is because of people like you.
I’m a undergraduate studying engineering and I want to know famous researches done solely based on inductive and deductive separately….if you can give me some examples it will be very helpful to me….
You can look this up yourself, through your library and learning resources at your institution…
Thank you for the precise explanation of inductive and deductive approaches.
When analysing data in a qualitative study, could you use both inductive and deductive methods as a triangulation technique?
Hi Irene, a mixed methods study might involve both a quantitative method – e.g. survey and qualitative – e.g. interviews. But the overall approach would still be inductive as the quantitative element normally shapes the qualitative and the overall aim would still be to gain in-depth understandings rather than generalise findings. Mixed methods does as you say, create academic rigour through triangulation.
Thank you in advance for using your precious time to reply to my question. God bless you. l am doing my master degree dissertation on Green Supply Chain Management practices in the United Kingdom automotive industry. The research philosophy that I adopt is this: interpretivist epistemological and constructivism ontological. The methodology is as follows:
Interpretivism – inductive – mono-method qualitative -survey. My question is this: Can online survey questionnaire be used with the inductive approach? Most books that l am reading are linking online survey with quantitative data.
Quite educative. Thank you Dr Deborah, it’s so useful to my study.
Thank you Dr Gabriel.
It was really useful abstract. Kindly help me to enlighten with more details on grounded theory, dependent and independent variables.
Thank you Dr Gabriel for sharing your knowledge with all of us. Highly appreciated.
I have just started my Ph.D. program, and I’m still struggled to deciding which paradigm I have to use!
I have one question:
My research idea talks about the readiness of an organization toward IoT (factors that affect the organization readiness towards IoT). note*: The IoT technology is still not implemented in the organization context that I want to study that is why I’m going to study the readiness. so what is your suggestion for me regarding which paradigm I have to use?
Hi Mutasem, Congratulations on embarking on your PhD program! Your research paradigm should reflect your positionality, your values and in essence, how you view the world. You need to think critically and reflectively about this. For example, you say you plan to study the readiness of an organization to implement IT. One approach to this study could be examining what factors might shape that readiness – i.e power structures that confer equality/inequality, and there is also the question of how the adoption of IT could help to create more inclusivity and diversity (which contribute to greater productivity & profitability). This of course is a different proposition from merely focusing on technical issues as opposed to social/political ones that also shape technology use.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR KIND RESPONSE
Dear Dr Gabriel
I am currently busy with my Masters in Interior design. My research aim is to determine (possibly explore as Its not currently making sense) the discrepancy that exists between the designer and a specific user group of a Healthcare environment. I have used provisional coding as a first cycle method (which identified a set of themes by which to analyze a Healthcare environment). These themes (conceptual framework) informed my interviews etc. From there the findings were analysed to see to what extent the designer aims correspond with the way in which the user group experiences the space (through the various themes). I initially thought that it was a deductive study but as it is a qualitative study I was abit worried. From what I understood from previous comments, the inductive/deductive is only applicable in the primary research, would that then mean that my study takes the form of a inductive approach? (although my questions are ‘what’ and ‘how’).
Hi Deborah, your posts are quite simple and useful. Great! Thanks for posts!
Thanks for posting this, I would say that this article is one of the most useful explanation I have found so far. But I also have a question, hopefully you will be able to help me out. If my research question is about understanding “How important are loyalty programmes for customers in welness field. I use quantitative method (Online survey) to collect data from respondents, what is my approach for research inductive and deductive?
Dr Deborah Gabriel,
Honestly, I have gone through your explanation on inductive and deductive approaches to research work and I’m very pleased with the write up. I want to sincerely thank you for your contribution to the existing body of knowledge.
Thank you Dr Gabriel for explaining the differences between inductive and deductive approaches in research. Your explanation helped me understand these two concepts as I am working on the early portions of my dissertation in General Psychology.
Thank you so much. This has been very useful. I now know I can use both Inductive and deductive if i am carrying out a mixed method research. Both can be used depending on my research questions.
It was helpful.
How can I be at this time replying to this worthy and simple explanation?
It’s well placed and and explained.
Thank you D.
Thanks for your article. How do I reference you in my work?
Gabriel, D. (2013). Inductive and deductive approaches to research. Accessed on ‘date’ from https://deborahgabriel.com/2013/03/17/inductive-and-deductive-approaches-to-research/
Gabriel, D., 2013. Inductive and deductive approaches to research. Accessed on ‘date’ from https://deborahgabriel.com/2013/03/17/inductive-and-deductive-approaches-to-research/
Can social research be purely deductive?
‘Social’ research – i.e research within the social sciences, can be qualitative or quantitative, and therefore can be inductive or deductive. It depends on what the research objectives are as to which approach is taken – and as my article states, these questions are explored through research methodology.
Very important points are discussed in your article in simplified terms.
Thanks very much!
Appreciated the discussion – it is well simplified and easy to understand.
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