Inductive research – from specific to general

Time to read: 5 Minutes

It is a type of research done mostly under observation and different theories as a requirement at the end of the research process. You will understand how certain theories apply to your research work when formulating research questions and the objectives.

During the research period, you will learn many methods of data collection, you will learn more about research theories and how to apply them when doing research. Since it is an extensive activity, you will gain knowledge and various skills.

Inductive research - FAQ

Inductive requires you to apply more logic to your research work. To qualify as inductive findings, you will have to work from specific aspects to general ones. You might as well refer to inductive study as a ‘bottom up’ type of research.

You will first need to make specific observations relevant to your work, focus on different measures, then carefully study patterns and all regularities. From these patterns, you will then develop a hypothesis that will help you further in building your case.

Come up with a concrete hypothesis so that your research can be meaningful.

You will use the hypothesis to build up scientific experiments by coming up with different data collection methods such as observation, interviews and questionnaires. Any mistake you make when coming up with the hypothesis will affect the whole study work. It would be best if you, therefore, were very careful when building up a hypothesis.

The good thing about this type of research is that it does not limit you from using the existing theories, which help come up with the research questions that will act as a guide.

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A good hypothesis is a specific prediction of what you expect and to work with it effectively, it would be best to draw your hypothesis from previous research works of the same theory.

You will have to invest more time and energy in coming up with one. You cannot formulate one if all you do is provide guesswork. To come up with one, there are key questions that you should have answers to. They include the following:

  • The relationship between your hypothesis and research topic
  • Whether your language is clear
  • Whether someone can test your theory and if your answer is yes, then kindly explain how.
  • Any explanations that you may want to explore
  • Does it have both a dependent and independent variable?
  • Are you able to manipulate the variable without interfering with the ethical standards?

These questions will guide you when creating a concrete hypothesis. You will also be able to notice any weaknesses and do revisions when need be.

You will get to learn more and develop various skills that you can employ elsewhere. The inductive approach is qualitative and it requires the student to focus more on developing a theory from the observation and patterns they will have come up with.

It requires one to be extensive with the type of methods they use. One needs to test various theories before one can apply them. You can use inductive theory when you need to understand specific aspects. It is possible to combine the inductive approach with other approaches, such as the deductive approach. The aim will be to come up with a conclusion in a large study.

Inductive: Definition

This simply is a type of reasoning that moves from specific to general. You first come up with observations and theories that you shall use to come up with a conclusion for your research.

Inductive research approach

There are different approaches that you use when making data analysis. These approaches will offer you the most suitable theoretical orientation you could use. You should always highlight the type of approach you use in the literature review section.

In this type of approach, you will have to move your findings from specific to a more general way. In the inductive approach, you have the chance to explore, go through different theories until you find a suitable one, use various methods of data collection until you come up with your findings.

When finalising your research, you come up with different conclusions of your findings. The methodologies you shall use in the inductive approach will help you build a substantive conclusion for your research.

Stages in an inductive approach

The inductive approach requires that you do a qualitative research on the subject matter. You will need to study different patterns and theories that are relevant to your research work. Here you will study behavioural patterns of your subject before you can come up with a conclusion of how they operate and how their survival is like.

Inductive Observation


If you are studying the culture of a certain community, you first need to earn to learn through observation before you can use other methods. Examples of observation include the following:

  • The morning class was postponed
  • Cat A and B love milk
  • Lions love to eat meat
Inductive Observation pattern

Observation pattern

  • Seven morning classes were postponed
  • All observed cats love milk
  • All observed lions love meat
Inductive Develop a theory

Develop a theory

  • All morning classes are usually postponed
  • All cats love milk
  • All lions love meat
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Limitations of the inductive approach

Just like any research method, this type of approach has its limitations. They include the following:

  • You cannot be able to draw a conclusion on the basis of an inductive approach. This is because it will not have any proof. However, you can invalidate it. For instance, when you observe all morning classes in one month. All of them were postponed, from your theory. However, you cannot prove that the following month, the first morning class was postponed. But still, if your dataset is large, your conclusion will be more reliable.
  • An inductive approach is time consuming since you will need to conduct plenty of researches to get your findings.
  • An inductive study requires one to have enough resources since a times the methods of data collection can be very demanding.
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In a Nutshell

This type study is a good type of research for college students as it improves their research skill. It broadens their knowledge as one needs to study and analyse various theories to use in the body of the research. It also equips learns with desire to want to learn more about the topic at hand.