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Research Approach
Research approach can be divided into three types:

1. Deductive research approach (

2. Inductive research approach (
3. Abductive research approach (

The relevance of hypotheses to the study is the main distinctive point between deductive and
inductive approaches. Deductive approach tests the validity of assumptions (or
theories/hypotheses) in hand, whereas inductive approach contributes to the emergence of new
theories and generalizations. Abductive research, on the other hand, starts with surprising facts
or puzzles and the research process is devoted their explanation.[1]

The following table illustrates the major differences between deductive, inductive and abductive
research approaches in terms of logic, generalizability, use of data and theory.[2]

Deduction Induction
(https://research- (https://research-
methodology/research- methodology/research-
approach/deductive- approach/inductive-
approach-2/) approach-2/)

In a deductive inference, In an inductive inference, In an abductive inference,

when the premises are known premises are used
Logic premises are used to
true, the conclusion must to generate untested generate testable
also be true conclusions conclusions

Generalising from the

Generalising from the Generalising from the
Generalizability interactions between the
general to the specific specific to the general
specific and the general

Data collection is used to

Data collection is used to explore a phenomenon,
explore a phenomenon,
Data collection is used to identify themes and
explore a phenomenon,
evaluate propositions or patterns, locate these in a
Use of data identify themes and conceptual framework
hypotheses related to an
existing theory patterns and create a and test this through
conceptual framework subsequent data collection
and so forth

Theory generation or
incorporating existing
Theory falsification or Theory generation and theory where
verification building
appropriate, to build new
theory or modify existing

Discussion of research approach is a vital part of any scientific study regardless of the research
area. Within the methodology chapter of your dissertation to you need to explain the main
differences between inductive, deductive and abductive approaches and specify the approach you
have adopted for your research by breaking down your arguments into several points.

Lets illustrate the application of each research approach for a following study:

Effects of labour migration within the EU on the formation of multicultural teams in UK


Deductive Research Approach

If you have formulated a set of hypotheses for your dissertation that need to be confirmed or
rejected during the research process you would be following a deductive approach. In deductive
approach, the effects of labour migration within the EU are assessed by developing hypotheses
that are tested during the research process.

Dissertations with deductive approach follow the following path:


Deductive process

The following hypotheses can be developed in order to assess the effects of labour migration
within the EU on the formation of multicultural teams in UK organizations using a deductive

Hypothesis: Labour migration within the EU contributes to the formation of multicultural

teams in UK
Inductive Research Approach
Alternatively, inductive approach does not involve formulation of hypotheses. It starts with
research questions and aims and objectives that need to be achieved during the research process.

Inductive studies follow the route below:


Inductive process

Referring to the example above, the effects of labour migration within the EU on the formation of
multicultural teams in UK organizations can be accessed via finding answers to the following
research questions:

Research question: How does labour migration within the EU effect the formation of
multicultural teams in UK?

Abductive Research Approach

In abductive approach, the research process is devoted to explanation of incomplete
observations, surprising facts or puzzles specified at the beginning of the study. Referring to
the research topic of the effects of labour migration on the formation of multicultural teams in
the UK discussed above, you may observe that labour migration within the EU was actually
decreasing the extent of cross-cultural differences within teams in the UK.

Then, your study can be devoted to the explanation of this phenomenon by using qualitative and
quantitative methods of data collection and data analysis in an integrated manner

My e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Dissertation in Business Studies: a step by step
assistance ( contains discussions of theory
and application of research approaches. The e-book also explains all stages of the research
process ( starting
from the selection of the research area (
methodology/selecting-research-area/) to writing personal reflection. Important elements of
dissertations such as research philosophy (
philosophy/), research design (
methodology/research-design/), methods of data collection (https://research-, data analysis (https://research- and sampling (https://research- are explained in this e-book in simple

John Dudovskiy


[1] Bryman A. & Bell, E. (2015) Business Research Methods 4th edition, Oxford University
Press, p.27

[2] Source: Saunders, M., Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A. (2012) Research Methods for Business
Students 6th edition, Pearson Education Limited