Inductive vs. Deductive Reasoning: Differences & Examples

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Devin Kowalczyk

Devin has taught psychology and has a master's degree in clinical forensic psychology. He is working on his PhD.

Inductive reasoning makes use of evidence to come to a conclusion whereas deductive reasoning finds evidence to support a conclusion. Study the differences and examples of inductive and deductive reasoning that are used to understand science. Updated: 09/23/2021

Understanding Science

Science is not about thoughts, feelings, wishes, and fantasy. Scientists don't attribute their findings to numerologists, psychics or forces beyond human understanding (although quantum physics has some funky stuff). Science is about examining reality in an objective way, drawing conclusions from evidence or observation.

When scientists conduct experiments, they use different methods to understand a problem. For instance, a scientist could use inductive reasoning, which is drawing conclusions from evidence, or deductive reasoning, which is finding evidence to support or disprove conclusions. Let's make this a little more clear with some examples.

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Research Variables: Dependent, Independent, Control, Extraneous & Moderator

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:06 Understanding Science
  • 0:48 Inductive Reasoning
  • 2:14 Deductive Reasoning
  • 4:02 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed Speed

Inductive Reasoning

Inductive reasoning is the more common way that scientists conduct experiments. Scientists have an idea of something to study more in depth. Then they go and collect data through experiments, observations, or surveys. With all of the data in hand, they analyze it to draw out conclusions.

Inductive reasoning is about collecting data and seeing what patterns or meaning can be extracted. A researcher, let's say you in this example, was taking a test and noticed that this fly kept buzzing around. It buzzed around your head and it was distracting you. So you wonder if noise distraction has any effect on test taking. You will then set up an experiment involving 100 people taking a test with some noisemaker in the background. The people will be divided into five groups of 20, and each group will have a different level of noise, from quiet to obnoxiously loud.

After all five groups have completed the tests you will compare their different scores to see if there was a difference. If the scores typically grew steadily worse as the noise increased, then you could draw a conclusion that as distractions increase, test scores will generally decrease. If, on the other hand, the majority of their scores increased with the noise, then you would make the correlation that as distraction increases, test scores will generally increase. To reiterate, inductive reasoning draws conclusions from evidence.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it now
Create an account to start this course today
Used by over 30 million students worldwide
Create an account