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Inductive and Deductive Method in the Process of Theory in Social Sciences

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Theory as a Means for Facts Based Explanation of Social Reality:

A. Introduction

Theories especially are based on the empirical research. Empirical research symbolizes the process of drawing conclusion with logical analysis based on the observation of field and generation of realistic data. Therefore, the research through this process helps to understand location of events, relation of events with society, growing process of events etc. as in the holistic form. This further helps to the explanation and analysis of social reality regarding to why and how such types of events happened? Why this types of events happen in this particular society? etc. are analyzed and tested through the scientific research. The theories formulated through this process basically contain the capacity to explain and analyze social reality.

Sociological and anthropological theories are out of the base of hypothetical assumptions and explanation from one sided point of view. This types of theories are based on the particular method, process and values. For example - while studying the African community and data collection and their logical explanation and analysis for the better conclusion. Therefore, the theories represents and analyzes the social reality.

The following points can be mentioned to prove theory as a medium of social reality explanation.
  1. Theories are based on the scientific analysis.
  2. Theory emerge by the combination of real facts and it is based on facts.
  3. Cause effect relationship has been kept in theory on logical way. 
  4. Theory represents relatively emerged in the society because theory itself is the combined form of this types of social realities. 
  5. Theory can do the empirical generalization of events.
Therefore, theory is always essential to be based on scientific method, process, techniques and analysis. Theory needs observation collection, explanation and analysis of events of location by following empirical way. The explanation of it is essential to be logical and scientific. The theory is based on social event and explains events with the base of why and how the events happened there, because of which it can be said that theories are factual.

Also read: Concept in Sociology: Characteristics, Functions, Social Theory, Difference, Relationship

B. Inductive and Deductive Method in the Process of Theory Building:

To understand theory as based on facts is essential to understand the process of the theory formulation. In social research, the theory is formulated through the analysis of social events. Some rules are formulated to follow. In this context, the collection of data is done received from research. The conclusion is drawn through the base of collected facts and applying different methods. It is called the findings of research. The process can be followed by two ways. First is related to the justification of theory which is prevalent in the society, for this the help of different methods is also taken. Next is related to the justification of social events which is happened in the society. This is called the inductive and deductive method of theory building. Both of these are the ways of formulation of theory. Being the base of these concepts, we can find out the cause effect relationship of each and every event, theoretical values can be accepted or rejected. These two methods are mentioned below as separate titles. Which explain the process of theory building?

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1. Inductive Method:

Inductive method is a method of study where the study is done to collect individual scattered facts, condition or process to develop a research norms or values. Inductive method is an important method in social research, where this method, scientifically the facts are proved in order. According to this method, the events are tested regarding to their reality and factualness based on the direct observed and experienced events. The observed facts are emerged from the relation of variables which can be generalized and declared after the detail study of variables and the relationship of variables, other similar type of context, the condition of cause effect relationship etc. The generalization process needs the comparison of events of one place to the another, facts, nature of events etc, if these are of similar types of then only generalization and declaration of become possible. In short inductive method is a process of generalization where generally available individual event and condition. For example, two crows which are round of us are black. The cows which are around the neighbors are also black, from these two events or conditions the generalization is made as crows are black. The theory built by this process becomes factual.

Also read: Theory in Sociology and Social Science: Elements, Functions, Utility, Types, Problems

In this method, to justify the general statements or conditions research is conducted. The theory can be built if observed and empirical condition proves as similar to the similar types of facts, nature, condition etc. If not so then that remains as a general event. Because to get the theoretical concept, university accepted rules are essential to be applied. But in social research because of the difficulty on attitude, impact, complexity of research, the development of university accepted values and relation becomes as difficult as the complexity of research. 

Inductive method is the form of example we can present as A is like B, A2 is also like B, A3 is also like B, now it can be generalized as A is like B. In this context P.V. Young clearly says "That is the process of reasoning from particular cases to a whole group of cases from concrete facts to generalization from individual instance to the universal."

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In this research method, study of the field, collection of facts from observation, scientific observation over individual units through study of the filed etc. remain as the process of empirical generalization from individual units. In this context, a common example can be interpreted for the better understanding such as; individual cases like Jack seems mortal, Rock also seems mortal, ultimately I will die, we are all humans. So, humans are mortal. Here the individual cases are taken as the case of study so the conclusion is drawn as human is mortal. In this process, the study has to be done of different places. This method of study from particular to general is taken as very important because individual cases, conditions etc. as seen and experienced emerge a sort of curiosity for human being and to justify the curiosity and generalize the fact research has been done. By the process of research reformation and development of theory can be done:
The characteristics of inductive method can be mentioned as:
  1. This method is scientific.
  2. This helps to build theory.
  3. The process form particular to general prioritizes the study of events as these are happened and possible to happen in general/public life. 
  4. It represent the reality. 
  5. This method is searching and nature of creative of events. 
  6. No duality occurs while generalization of conclusion. 
  7. Universally accepted.
  8. Formulation of different logic. 
  9. This is an experimental. 
  10. Cause effect relation can clearly be shown. 
  11. Possible to study changing context of situation. 
  12. This method remains as the complementary method of deductive method. 
In some condition, it is very difficult to make study limited and draw conclusion from the research of social subjects. This process remains as long in terms of time, resource and biasness. It becomes very difficult to find out the appropriate method of research and aspects of emphasis because of the disparity among the variables which impact to social context. Although the scientific research without the use of events scattered in the society, trend of events and activities with certain values.

Also read: Theory of Origin of Anthropology and Development of Anthropological Theory 

2. Deductive Method:

In the process of formulations of theory through social research, just opposite method of inductive method is deductive method where the generalization goes from general to particular. It means to say that deduction method makes the base of general established rules and goes from general to particular to test individual units. In this method, the processes such as formulation of hypothesis, analysis, data collection and analysis are followed. In this process, test of hypothesis and accept and reject of it, logical values etc. are developed to justify the existed theory. In this method, individual units are reached through the general rules, and theory or values which are reached through the general rules, and theory or values which prove the reality, by this process the main value is experimented.

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This research method is used to make valid of rules as prevalent in the society, theoretical values or philosophy with logical form. Suppose, if there is prevalent value, theoretical value or philosophical value as A is like B, then to prove it. A of every place need to be examined with research. At the end it all. As proved as B then we can say that A is like B. If there is prevalent value that smoking causes cancer then it needs to study each smoker with certain values then only it proves as smoking causes cancer. If cancer is found to each and every who smoke then the study of it and theoretical value becomes much more reliable and valid too suppose. Crows are back it is the prevalent value, if it has to prove then we should examine the crows of each and every place as in the individual form then only it can be proved as crows are black. In this method, the study of individual units may prove the theoretical value or generalized rule of may not be proved, the possibility remains as an equal. If theoretical value or generalized value is not accepted by the study of individual units then the reliability of theory decline. It cannot be taken as valied.

On the basis of above mentioned analysis we can discuss the following characteristics of inductive method.
  1. In this method, supreme, logic value, concept or from theory individual events are focused, and established values or test and retest of theory is done. 
  2. This method is out of biasness and out of control. 
  3. Conclusion can be generalized. 
  4. This is a continuous process from which the theories based on social, cultural changes need to be re-examined.  
  5. This method is much more confined.
  6. Simplicity is also there in this method. 
  7. Established as scientific and well managed method. 
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According to the commentators, this method is highly confined which cannot realize several events or conditions which happen in day to day life. This method is not sovereign too, only genius class use this method as in the convenience way and use their genuineness and they fail to examine the real trend of real world. Therefore, some scientists have given name for this method as intellectual doll.

C. Generalization:

The meaning of theory represents facts is the meaning of conclusion of facts can be generalized. Each and every research contains the value of generalization. The implication or conclusion of research is confined to the generalization which is made from facts received from research. In the process of research; identification of problem, study of references, formulation of hypothesis, collection of facts through different scientific methods and analysis of received facts remain as the processes of generalization from conclusion of research.
In the filed of social research, the research is conducted in specific time, specific society and specific subject matter which becomes as a research by scientific method. In research, the variables which are confined to events, their interrelationship and the condition of impacts of these variables are found through the analysis. The conclusion of such research which is applicable to the other society and culture or which is real in the context of society can be developed as a theory, this called generalization in the process of research. For example human is mortal, if it is the drawn conclusion then it can be taken as generalization that human is mortal in every society and each period of time. This has taken the value of theory of form of rule. In the context of generalization Arun Kumar Singh says "The term generalization means that what is true for the sample is also true for the whole population". The essence of this saying symbolizes that the conclusion of samples which is applicable to represent whole population is called generalization. The selection of sample should be right or correct or representative for the conclusion and generalization of it. The fact or reality contained by the units of samples which are applicable to the whole and the process of presentation of it, is generalization.

The task of generalization is very difficult because the researches are done in any specific place and conclusion is drawn these are generalized to the other societies. The values, norms, religion, culture, attitude, social change etc. prevalent factors of the society influence to the vents and factors of events. Therefore, the conclusion of research which is taken as in the form of rule after generalization. This may not get the external validity. The generalization that we can draw to a specific society and culture is called taken as internal validity. Most of the social research contain the internal validity rather than external validity, means the external validity is difficult because of the complexity of society.

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In conclusion we can say that the generalization is a form of scientific value, which claims the application of the condition of events received from field work study by a researcher of a particular place to the next. For this the conclusion received from research is essential to be objective. The use if scientific analysis method and data which are clear to analysis make the generalization more reliable. The researcher while he/she is in the process of research should forward the research by searching either I am related to the subject matter or not? Is the related method of study is used for the research is is conducted? Other conditions? etc questions are essential to search and research has to be conducted.

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The researcher who is conducted research is the social events has to do the observation of events by following different types and ways. Only the analysis of social events from secondary information the facts may not be generalized. Before the generalization of conclusion of research researcher should test and retest again and again the reliability. The test of hypothesis and the condition of it need to be analyzed researcher himself was independent or not it should be evaluated the reliability of the research methods, implication of it and utility of it in day to day life also be reexamined. If the researcher has taken the support of any theory then he should understand the condition of theory regarding to either it reexamined or not. After the evaluation of these conditions the conclusion of research should be generalization. As far as possible, the researcher needs to mention the society and culture on which the conclusion of research is generalization and declaration of it should be done accordingly. 

In conclusion about generalization the following points can be mentioned as:
  1. Generalization is the conclusion/summary of various events, attitudes, conditions, behaviors etc which becomes regardable in the form of rules, processes and methodologically. 
  2. Generalization is the statement related to the study conducted to samples and valid of the conclusion to the universe. 
  3. Generalization is the concrete conclusion and achievement of research. 
  4. By following inductive and deductive both methods generalization can be done of events and conditions. 
  5. In social research internal validity remains higher but lower the external validity. 
  6. The conclusions of social research generalization once change according to the lapse of time. But this condition doesn't remain in pure science. 
  7. In each type of research the main objective of generalization of condition of events or nature of events has been remained. 
  8. Generalization is based on logic. 
  9. Generalization itself is the process of theorizing. 
 In the process of theory formulation through the inductive and deductive method the above mentioned processes are followed to explain and analyze the facts. On the basis of it, the conclusion received from such events are generalization. Therefore the social theory represents social reality.  

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