Research Approach


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
  • Principles based on science
  • Movement is done from theory to data
  • Casual relationships between variables need to be explained
  • Quantitative type of data is mainly collected
  • Measures of control are applied in order to ensure the validity of data
  • Concepts are operationalised in order to ensure the clarity of definitions
  • The approach is highly structured
  • Researcher is independent from the research process
  • Samples need to be selected of a sufficient size in order to be able to generalise research conclusions
  • The meaning of human attachment to events are aimed to be explored
  • Research context is understood in a deeper manner
  • Qualitative type of data is collected
  • More flexible approach to research structure to ensure provisions for changes during the research
  • Researcher is perceived to be a part of the research process
  • Research findings do not have to be generalised



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



Deductive Approach

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:

Research approach

Deductive process


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


Inductive Approach

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:

Research approach

Inductive process


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


Research approach My e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Dissertation in Business Studies: a step by step assistance offers practical assistance to complete a dissertation with minimum or no stress. The e-book covers all stages of writing a dissertation starting from the selection to the research area to submitting the completed version of the work within the deadline.


John Dudovskiy