When conducting a research it is necessary to determine which approach is being implemented, because “scientific inquiry in practice typically involves alternating between deduction and induction. Both methods involve interplay of logic and observation. And both are routes to the construction of social theories” (Babbie, 2010, p.53).
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, 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)
Walliman (2009) mentions three methodological approaches that can be used in cultural studies: content analysis, semiotics, and discourse analysis.
Samples (2007) distinguishes the main differences between deductive and inductive approaches in the following manner:
|Deductive approach||Inductive approach|
|Certainty of conclusions (primary distinction)||Probability of conclusions (primary distinction)|
|No new information in the conclusion||Possible new information in the conclusion|
|From general to particular (usually)||From particular to general (usually)|
|From cause to effect (usually)||From effect to cause (usually)|
|A priori (typically)||A posteriori reasoning (from experience)|
|Philosophical reasoning (typically)||Scientific reasoning (typically)|
|Argument forms are valid or invalid||Argument forms are strong or weak|
|Arguments are sound or unsound||Arguments are cogent or uncogent|
Saunders et al (2007) distinguish the major differences between deductive and inductive research approaches in the following manner:
|Deductive methods||Inductive methods|
Babbie, ER, 2010, The Practice of Social Research, Cengage Learning
Bernard, H.R. (2011) “Research Methods in Anthropology” 5th edition, AltaMira Press
Saunders, M, Lewis, P, Thornhill, A, 2007, Research Methods for Business Students, 4th edition, Prentice HallSingh, Y.K. & Bajpai, A.B. (2008) “Research Methodology: Techniques and Trends” APH Publishing Corporation Students” 4th edition, Prentice Hall
Walliman, N, 2009, “Your Research Project”, 2nd edition, Sage