# What Is Deductive Reasoning? | Explanation & Examples

Deductive reasoning is a logical approach where you progress from general ideas to specific conclusions. It’s often contrasted with inductive reasoning, where you start with specific observations and form general conclusions.

Deductive reasoning is also called deductive logic or top-down reasoning.

## What is deductive reasoning?

In deductive reasoning, you’ll often make an argument for a certain idea. You make an inference, or come to a conclusion, by applying different premises.

A premise is a generally accepted idea, fact, or rule, and it’s a statement that lays the groundwork for a theory or general idea. Conclusions are statements supported by premises.

### Deductive logic arguments

In a simple deductive logic argument, you’ll often begin with a premise, and add another premise. Then, you form a conclusion based on these two premises. This format is called “premise-premise-conclusion.”

## Validity and soundness

Validity and soundness are two criteria for assessing deductive reasoning arguments.

### Validity

In this context, validity is about the way the premises relate to each other and the conclusion. This is a different concept from research validity.

An argument is valid if the premises logically support and relate to the conclusion. But the premises don’t need to be true for an argument to be valid.

In an invalid argument, your premises can be true but that doesn’t guarantee a true conclusion. Your conclusion may inadvertently be true, but your argument can still be invalid because your conclusion doesn’t logically follow from the relationship between the statements.

### Soundness

An argument is sound only if it’s valid and the premises are true. All invalid arguments are unsound.

If you begin with true premises and a valid argument, you’re bound to come to a true conclusion.

## Deductive reasoning in research

Deductive reasoning is commonly used in scientific research, and it’s especially associated with quantitative research.

In research, you might have come across something called the hypothetico-deductive method. It’s the scientific method of testing hypotheses to check whether your predictions are substantiated by real-world data.

Here are the general steps for deductive research:

1. Select a research problem and create a problem statement.
2. Develop falsifiable hypotheses.
3. Collect your data with appropriate measures.
4. Analyze and test your data.
5. Decide whether to reject your null hypothesis.

Importantly, your hypotheses should be falsifiable. If they aren’t, you won’t be able to determine whether your results support them or not.

## Deductive vs. inductive reasoning

Deductive reasoning is a top-down approach, while inductive reasoning is a bottom-up approach.

In deductive reasoning, you start with general ideas and work toward specific conclusions through inferences. Based on theories, you form a hypothesis. Using empirical observations, you test that hypothesis using inferential statistics and form a conclusion.

Inductive reasoning is also called a hypothesis-generating approach, because you start with specific observations and build toward a theory. It’s an exploratory method that’s often applied before deductive research.

In practice, most research projects involve both inductive and deductive methods.

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## Other interesting articles

If you want to know more about statistics, methodology, or research bias, make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

What is deductive reasoning?

Deductive reasoning is a logical approach where you progress from general ideas to specific conclusions. It’s often contrasted with inductive reasoning, where you start with specific observations and form general conclusions.

Deductive reasoning is also called deductive logic.

How do you use deductive reasoning in research?

Deductive reasoning is commonly used in scientific research, and it’s especially associated with quantitative research.

In research, you might have come across something called the hypothetico-deductive method. It’s the scientific method of testing hypotheses to check whether your predictions are substantiated by real-world data.

What’s the difference between inductive and deductive reasoning?

Inductive reasoning is a bottom-up approach, while deductive reasoning is top-down.

Inductive reasoning takes you from the specific to the general, while in deductive reasoning, you make inferences by going from general premises to specific conclusions.

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