An Overview about the Inductive Method of Research

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This methodology is originally associated with the work of scientific knowledge, from observing the phenomena or facts of reality to the universal law that contains them. Summing up the words of Mill (1973), scientific investigations would begin with the observation of the facts, in a free and unprejudiced way, and later – and by inference – universal laws are formulated on the facts and by induction would obtain even more general affirmations. They are called theories. Francis Bacon at the beginning of the 17th century, in very general terms, it consists of establishing certain universal statements based on experience that is, ascending logically through.

According to this method, it is admitted that each set of facts of the same nature is governed by a Universal Law. The scientific objective is to enunciate that Universal Law based on the observation of the facts.

Considering its content, those who postulate this research method distinguish several types of statements:

Individuals, if they refer to a specific fact.
Universal, those derived from the research process and empirically tested.
Observational, refers to an obvious fact.

Emphasizing the empiricist nature of this methodology, the sequence followed in this research process can be summarized in the following points.

1. A stage of observation and recording of the facts must be carried out.
2. Then proceed to the analysis of the observed, establishing as a consequence clear definitions of each of the concepts analyzed.
3. Subsequently, the classification of the previous elements will be carried out.
4. The last stage of this method is dedicated to the formulation of scientific propositions or universal statements, inferred from the research process that has been carried out.

According to these classical empiricists, scientific theories should be considered those formed by sets of empirically tested statements that either describe firm facts or are inductive generalizations of those. The theory is not accepted until it has been proven. In this way, we see in these empiricists a frontal rejection towards all theoretical speculation about fields of knowledge in which an empirical test cannot be made.

This inductive approach of science began to collapse gradually in the second half of the nineteenth century under the influence of the writings of Match, Poincare and Duhem, at the beginning of our century began to take a virtually opposite view in the works of the Vienna Circle. Some contemporary authors have harshly criticized this methodology (Hempel, 1966, pp. 11-12, Medawar, 1969, p.40) arguing a series of questions that question its effectiveness, such as the impossibility of compiling all the facts related to the phenomenon in which we are interested or the fact that experimentation is only used as a simple procedure to generate information.

On the other hand, the so-called “induction problem “it is a subject that presents certain implications even for those who do not subscribe to the inductivity methodology. The question arises in the face of doubt whether inductive evidence can be used to predict future events; consequently, the problem of induction arises from our inability to provide rational elements that can be used to explain something beyond the evidence available.