Modern research activities use a variety of approaches, including inductive and deductive reasoning. While both methods are valid and capable of bringing results, there is a distinct difference between them. Inductive reasoning implies that researchers begin by making specific observations and, based on them, move on to broader conclusions. In contrast, the deductive method relies on general statements and attempts to apply them to particular situations. Liew et al. (2018) provide useful insight, but its results may not reflect the general situation due to a relatively narrow research scope.
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The article in question aims at comparing deductive and inductive thinking in individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Liew et al. (2018) studied twenty-five people with OCD and 25 non-clinical controls. The respondents were asked to make inductive and deductive judgments on a common range of arguments. The research showed no variation in deductive reasoning between the two groups, but both “saw that the amount of positive evidence supporting a conclusion was an important guide for evaluating inductive arguments” (Liew et al., 2018, p. 79). Liew et al. (2018) concluded that OCD-diagnosed patients have their deductive reasoning intact, whereas their inductive reasoning is partially impaired when diverse evidence is used. On the other hand, this study raises several questions in terms of limitations.
The researchers discussed an interesting issue concerning individuals with OCD and their cognitive functions. Nevertheless, the study by Liew et al. (2018) presented significant results but was limited in terms of its scope. They studied the cases of fifty people in total, but the topic might require a more in-depth analysis of a broader range of participants for the results to be more objective. Moreover, Liew et al. (2018) mention that the absence of a clinical control group makes it difficult to tell whether the observed tendency is OCD-exclusive, which serves as another limitation. In addition, the research begins with a hypothesis that it examines throughout the article, which means that the authors used deductive reasoning.
In conclusion, both research methods can be used in today’s scientific community and bring satisfactory results. In some cases, researchers start by examining the statement or the hypothesis they analyze. At the same time, other papers aim at making practical observations before moving to more significant assumptions. Overall, the deductive method may seem like the one that is used in the majority of cases, but inductive reasoning remains a powerful research instrument.
Liew, J., Grisham, J. R., & Hayes, B. K. (2018). Inductive and deductive reasoning in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 59, 79–86.