Nature is a huge non-empty space that harbours both real and imaginary components. Theologists and Scientists differ much on the existence of these components. While theology accepts both, Science focuses on the real nature owing to the fact that it can test its existence. Of interest for Scientists is the methods employed to deal with a problem, which range from inductive to deductive.
Nature can tempt one to conclude that he/she is conversant with a thing while the opposite is the case. Scientific methods provide a solution for this. Though contradicting, the two methods are practically differently. For instance, for induction, a system is examined first followed by an inference based on the observations. Deduction takes the reverse. Although they share a lot and yield a solution, inductive method is quite open-ended as compared to deductive.
A problem forms the basis of any scientific method, inductive or deductive. It triggers scientists into developing criteria that fights the problem whether simple or complicated. “Solution of problems…is achieved by long strings of mixed inductive and deductive inferences…” (Pirsig Para. 9). It is importance to state the problem right otherwise whichever method used, it will never yield a valid solution.
Hypothesis follows the question immediately. It provides a tentative answer to the aforementioned problem before further research. It may be one, two, or three as desired by the researcher. If more than two, the experiment should be set to test their validity in relation to the problem. This reduces them to at least two usually referred to as the null (H0) and the alternative (H1). According to Fischer, it is the hypothesis that illustrates what is expected in a research (43).
Experimentation is a very crucial level. This is why scientists agree only on what experiments have proved. This step distinguishes Science from other disciplines.
Box says that the majority’s view of science as all about experiments is a mere thought (134). It is from the experiment that data arises that is used to prove wrong or right the null hypothesis. The experiment can fail or succeed. Robert says that failure occurs only when the experiment does not prove the cited hypothesis but not the predicted outcomes.
Before computing the results from the already collected data, predictions are made. This part of induction fosters confidence level of the researcher. It shows how the validity of the hypothesis will be illustrated. Lindley says that once developed, this prediction need not be changed even if it contradicts the experimental findings (56). This is in accordance with Robert’s illustrations in the handout. A wrong guess is not an indicator of a “discontent” but a source of new ideas brought by the experiment.
As part of scientific methods, observation of the experimental findings follows. It occurs both in inductive and deductive methods. These observations are compared with the predicted outcomes. It calls for a lot of practice and scientific computation before one declares the null hypothesis true or false. According to Schervish, the observations will be significant if they did not occur by mistake but through the experiment (218).
The idea behind science is to clear doubts about the existing theories. The destination of any scientific method is the verification level or simply the conclusion. This proves whether the problem on study is solved or not. Possible improvements can be suggested after this confirmation level. Regardless of size of the problem solved, this stage curbs what scientists reject most: assumptions.
The inductive and deductive approaches to problem solving play a major role in the scientific world. The ever-increasing theories have driven scientists into the task of proving or disapproving them. This explains why they prefer the deductive to the inductive approach. It begins with the theory and ends with its confirmation.
Box, Joan. “The Life of a Scientist.” New York: Wiley. 1978, p. 134.
Fisher, Richard. “Statistical Methods for Research Workers.” Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1925, p.43.
Lindley, David. “Making Decisions.” (2nd Ed.). John Wiley & Sons. 1985.
Pirsig, Robert. “Induction, Deduction and the Scientific Method.” N.d. Web. 23, Sept. 2010.
Schervish, Michael. “Theory of Statistics.” Springer: 1995. p.218.