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21 FEBRUARY 2010

The Logic of Deductive and Inductive Reasoning Methods

"In logic, we often refer to the two broad methods of reasoning as the deductive and inductive approaches.

Deductive reasoning works from the more general to the more specific. Sometimes this is informally called a 'top–down' approach. We might begin with thinking up a theory about our topic of interest. We then narrow that down into more specific hypotheses that we can test. We narrow down even further when we collect observations to address the hypotheses. This ultimately leads us to be able to test the hypotheses with specific data –– a confirmation (or not) of our original theories.

Inductive reasoning works the other way, moving from specific observations to broader generalizations and theories. Informally, we sometimes call this a 'bottom up' approach ... In inductive reasoning, we begin with specific observations and measures, begin to detect patterns and regularities, formulate some tentative hypotheses that we can explore, and finally end up developing some general conclusions or theories.

These two methods of reasoning have a very different 'feel' to them when you're conducting research. Inductive reasoning, by its very nature, is more open–ended and exploratory, especially at the beginning. Deductive reasoning is more narrow in nature and is concerned with testing or confirming hypotheses. Even though a particular study may look like it's purely deductive (e.g., an experiment designed to test the hypothesized effects of some treatment on some outcome), most social research involves both inductive and deductive reasoning processes at some time in the project. In fact, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that we could assemble the two graphs above into a single circular one that continually cycles from theories down to observations and back up again to theories. Even in the most constrained experiment, the researchers may observe patterns in the data that lead them to develop new theories."

(William M.K. Trochim, Last Revised: 10/20/2006, The Research Methods Knowledge Base)





abstractionargumentbottom-upconceptualisationcreative practicedeductiondeductive reasoningdiscoveryenquiryexperimentation • generalisation • hypothesisinductioninductive reasoninglogic • logical reasoning • predicate logic • propositional logicreasoningresearch • sentential logic • theorytheory building • top-down • working theories


Simon Perkins
20 FEBRUARY 2010

Aristotle's Rhetoric: modes of persuasion

"Of the modes of persuasion furnished by the spoken word there are three kinds. The first kind depends on the personal character of the speaker [ethos]; the second on putting the audience into a certain frame of mind [pathos]; the third on the proof, or apparent proof, provided by the words of the speech itself [logos]. Persuasion is achieved by the speaker's personal character when the speech is so spoken as to make us think him credible."

(Aristotle 1356a 2,3, translation by W. Rhys Roberts)

Aristotle, Book I – Chapter 2 : Aristotle's Rhetoric (hypertextual resource compiled by Lee Honeycutt)



12 Angry Men • argumentargumentationAristotle • Aristotles Rhetoric • audienceClassicalClassical rhetoriccommunicationdramaemotion • ethos • experiencefilmHenry Fondaliteraturelogos • modes of persuasion • narrative • narrative art • pathospersuasionrhetoric • rhetorical theory • suffering • W. Rhys Roberts


Simon Perkins
19 AUGUST 2009

Qualitative Research and Quilting: Advice for Novice Researchers

"I am a qualitative researcher and a quilter. I have been a quilter for 25 years. I have been a researcher for 2 years. I have discovered conducting research is a lot like quilting and that the research process is a lot like the creative process of quilting.
Traditional quilting involves cutting up fabric into pieces and sewing them back together in a pattern. ... There are five steps to go through in completing a quilt: planning, cutting, sewing, quilting, and binding.
How does quilting relate to qualitative research? Recall that there are steps to follow to complete a quilt. There are also steps to follow in carrying out a qualitative research project: planning, data collection, data analysis, and reporting."
(Leigh Ausband, pp. 764–770)

Leigh Ausband, The Qualitative Report Volume 11 Number 4 December 2006 764–770



Simon Perkins
19 OCTOBER 2008

Creative Thinking

"Much of the thinking done in formal education emphasises the skills of analysis––teaching students how to understand claims, follow or create a logical argument, figure out the answer, eliminate the incorrect paths and focus on the correct one. However, there is another kind of thinking, one that focuses on exploring ideas, generating possibilities, looking for many right answers rather than just one. Both of these kinds of thinking are vital to a successful working life, yet the latter one tends to be ignored until after college. ... In an activity like problem solving, both kinds of thinking are important to us. First, we must analyse the problem; then we must generate possible solutions; next we must choose and implement the best solution; and finally, we must evaluate the effectiveness of the solution. As you can see, this process reveals an alternation between the two kinds of thinking, critical and creative. In practice, both kinds of thinking operate together much of the time and are not really independent of each other."
(Robert Harris, 1998)


analysisargumentassociativecreative thinkingexploration • formal education • generative • Robert Harris


Simon Perkins

Learning that comes from synthesising information from multiple types of media

As new methods of interacting with information become more ubiquitous, [Chris Dede of the Harvard Graduate School of Education] suggests, citing Second Life–type virtual immersion environments as an example, students will grow up with different expectations and preferences for acquiring knowledge and skills. The implication is less of an emphasis on the "sage on the stage" and a linear acquisition process focusing on a "single best source," focusing instead on "active learning" that comes from synthesising information from multiple types of media.
(Andy Guess, Inside Higher Ed)

Fig.1 Katherine J. Huber, 'Roosevelt High School, Library/Media Center'.


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