The inductive method consists of the scientific method by which a series of conclusions or answers is obtained, from a set of particular or specific premises. Its elements include the observation , study , classification and registration of the premises so that it can be correct or fruitful.
What is the inductive method?
In philosophy and epistemology , the inductive method is that instrument that seeks to obtain far-reaching conclusions through the particular case . It goes from the particular to the universal . It is the most widely used method in scientific research , as it seeks to draw general conclusions from the individual or specific phenomena studied.
- Inductive method definition
- Inductive method characteristics
- Importance of the inductive method
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Inductive method definition
The philosophy has many ways and methods to approach the knowledge . These ways are, in turn, used by the different disciplines that humanity has to address its problems. We have the legal profession , medicine , engineering , psychology , sociology , among many others, and each one does its own way to get to the truth about some fact or phenomenon.
Science has a method that is particularly used for this purpose. This is the inductive method , of course. His approaches are very simple. It would be that method that seeks to extract sentences of a high level of abstraction and generality based on particular facts or phenomena . The ” inductivist “ (let’s call it that) observes and studies an object, with the ultimate aim of extracting from it universal laws or principles that serve him for the study of other phenomena. Next, we will discuss in more detail in relation to this concept.
Inductive method characteristics
Among the characteristics to highlight in this way of reaching knowledge, we can name:
- It is a research method widely used by scientific disciplines.
- Part of concrete facts to reach generalizable conclusions .
- Its foundation is, therefore, doomed to experience .
- It is considered flexible to some extent.
- It is perceived as open to experimentation .
- Its purpose lies in the elaboration of theories or hypotheses of a certain level of abstraction.
Although it is a way of reaching the knowledge that finds its roots in Greek thought and its conception of ” induction “ , the inductive finds a voice and vote within philosophy with Francis Bacon . According to his thought , Bacon considers that the axioms must be reached starting from the observed of the particular facts. All this, in some way, lays the foundations of empiricism ; not for nothing, he is considered as the father of it.
Some of the procedures or techniques that perhaps we can highlight in this way of reaching knowledge would be:
The researcher is dedicated to paying attention to some phenomenon or object. Regardless of their materiality or immateriality, the researcher will try to make a detailed record of these, as they are revealed in reality.
The researcher will try to reproduce a phenomenon, placing the most suitable conditions that allow its appearance.
The researcher will proceed through the interpretation of isolated data, in order to know, from the same, the logical conditions that produced them.
That is, to use cases or examples that allow others to illustrate or make known about some phenomenon.
It is about the process of separating or isolating some phenomenon or element from the rest, in order to subject it to its study from its singularity .
In order to arrive at the results that are intended to be achieved through the inductive method , we have the following steps that must be followed:
- Observation , that is, the capture and recording of the phenomena or events to be studied.
- List and submit the phenomena in question to classification processes .
- Construction of hypotheses and theories consistent with the observed facts.
- Experimentation of what has been proposed, in order to check the validity of the theory so far developed.
Importance of the inductive method
As one of the most applied methods in scientific disciplines , the inductive method ranks as one of the most widely used ways of reaching knowledge in hard and soft sciences. Due to its own characteristics, it is a method that allows the elaboration of theoretical models of different levels of abstraction , and their corresponding contrasting and verification through experience.
Although there is no record of his naming it that way, in Socrates we can detect an antecedent of the inductive method in his ” Socratic dialogue .” This consisted of a form of conversation in which its members seek, through the exchange of coalescent or contradictory ideas , to arrive at a certain degree of ” truth “ . All this sought to be achieved through the ironic and the maieutic .
Let’s look at the following example, in order to find a practical way to understand this methodology:
- 1st Premise : At 1:30 pm a black fly was seen.
- 2nd Premise : At 2:00 pm a black fly was seen.
- 3rd Premise : At 5:00 pm a black fly was seen.
Conclusion : All flies are black.