Deductive Versus Inductive Reasoning

Topics: Scientific method, Reasoning, Hypothesis Pages: 3 (971 words) Published: August 25, 2011
Compare and Contrast the Inductive and Deductive Research Paradigm/Approaches
When underlying assumptions and intellectual structure are built upon research, observation, or development in a field of inquiry a paradigm is created. The way we perceive the world around us or the way facts and theories are established are generated in different ways. Knowledge is constantly being produced, based on assumptions or reasoning. One might see a story in the news of a shark in Southern California that attacks a surfer. A new acquired knowledge or hypothesis may arise that all Southern California sharks attack people. Is generating such a hypothesis a valid reasoning? Or if we flip it -- one could deduct from the generalized fact that if all apples are fruit and all fruits grow on trees, then all apples grow on trees. But is this hypothesis valid? How do we go about testing or generating hypotheses about different topics?

On a scientific level, knowledge and hypotheses are forever being generated or tested. One might hypothesize that "the color of a mineral is determined by its crystal structure." How could this hypothesis be tested? Through deductive reasoning, this can be done -- for the purpose of deductive reasoning is to test a hypothesis. Finding other examples to attempt to prove or disprove this hypothesis is the beginning step to reasoning out this hypothesis. If the color of a mineral is determined by its crystal structure, then all purple minerals should have the same crystal structure. However, with the power of observation, it is known that a purple amethyst has a hexagonal structure and purple fluorite has an isometric structure. By observing crystals that do not fit this hypothesis, it can be deducted that this hypothesis (“the color of a mineral is determined by its crystal structure”) is not supported based on the known facts of the other crystals’ shapes in relation to their color.

Making deductions is the key component when a cause cannot be...
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