Friday, September 30, 2011

The Use of Inductive Reasoning in Science

Reasoning that draws a general conclusion based on a set of examples is called Inductive reasoning.
Basic pattern of Inductive Reasoning
a, b, c, d, e, f, g and h are part of group A.
a, b, c, d, e, f, g and h have property G.
All member of group A have property G.

When in Science it starts with observations looking for the patterns to develop a hypothesis as general description of the observations.
With inductive reasoning general conclusions can be drawn from specific observations and the evidence allowing conclusions based on patterns in that observations and evidence. Having too small of a sample size for a general conclusion is a major risk of inductive reasoning. As a result it can easily be affected by philosophical assumptions and biases. This can occur in the selection of the sample and in the patterns recognized, as well as the conclusions drawn from those patterns. Knowing about these problems helps one avoid them.

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