Research approach can be divided into two groups: deductive and inductive. The relevance of hypotheses to the study is the main distinctive point between these two approaches. Deductive approach tests the validity of assumptions (or theories/hypotheses) in hand, whereas inductive approach contributes to the emergence of new theories and generalizations. Discussion of research approach is a vital part of any scientific study regardless of the research area. Within the methodology chapter of your dissertation to you need to explain the main differences between inductive and deductive approaches and specify the approach you have adopted for your research by breaking down your arguments into several points.
Main distinction between inductive and deductive research approach relates to the existence and placement of hypotheses and theories. Specifically, if the researcher adopts a range of hypotheses the research is aimed to explore, then it will be deductive research. On the other hand, if hypotheses are absent at the start of the research then it will be the case of inductive research.
In other words, the relation of hypotheses to the study can serve as the main point of difference between these two approaches. Specifically, it has been noted that “two important functions that hypotheses serve in scientific inquiry are the development of theory and the statement of parts of an existing theory in testable form” (Singh and Bajpai, 2008, p.11).
Saunders et al (2007) distinguish the major differences between deductive and inductive research approaches in the following manner:
|Deductive methods||Inductive methods|
Let’s illustrate the application of each research approach for a following study:
Effects of labor migration within the EU on the formation of multicultural teams in UK organizations
If you have formulated a set of hypotheses for your dissertation that need to be confirmed or rejected during the research process you would be following deductive approach. In deductive approach, the effects of labor migration within the EU are assessed by developing hypotheses that are tested during the research process.
Dissertations with deductive approach follow the following path:
The following hypotheses can be developed in order to assess the effects of labor migration within the EU on the formation of multicultural teams in UK organizations using a deductive approach:
Hypothesis: Labor migration within the EU contributes to the formation of multicultural teams in UK
Alternatively, inductive approach does not involve formulation of hypotheses. It starts with research questions and aims and objectives that need to be achieved during the research process.
Inductive studies follow the route below:
Referring to the example above, the effects of labor migration within the EU on the formation of multicultural teams in UK organizations can be assessed via finding answers to the following research questions:
Research question: How does labor migration within the EU effect the formation of multicultural teams in UK?
Saunders, M., Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A. (2007) “Research Methods for Business Students”, 4th edition, Prentice Hall
Singh, Y.K. & Bajpai, A.B. (2008) “Research Methodology: Techniques and Trends” APH Publishing Corporation Students” 4th edition, Prentice Hall
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