Chapter 1: Introduction to Research Methods

1.7 Deductive Approaches to Research

Researchers taking a deductive approach take the steps described for inductive research and reverse their order. They start with a social theory that they find compelling and then test its implications with data; i.e., they move from a more general level to a more specific one. A deductive approach to research is the one that people typically associate with scientific investigation. The researcher studies what others have done, reads existing theories of whatever phenomenon he or she is studying, and then tests hypotheses that emerge from those theories (see Figure 1.5).


Analyze Data

Hypotheses Supported or Not

Specific level of focus Analysis Specific level of focus

Figure 1.5: Steps involved with a deductive approach to research. DeductiveResearch ©   CCBY-NC-SA(AttributionNonCommercialShareAlike)

Text Attributions

This chapter has been adapted from Chapter2.3inPrinciples of Sociological Inquiry, which was adapted by the Saylor Academy without attribution to the original authors or publisher, as requested by the licensor. © CreativeCommonsAttribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License.