Glossary of Scientific Explanations Using Logic and Evidence Terms and Terminology

  • Deductive reasoning: The ability to come to a conclusion as based on a premise; deductive reasoning arrives at deductions that a deduced as based on a premise.
  • Inductive reasoning: The ability to draw a generalization from a set of facts; inductive reasoning arrives at inferences that are inferred from a set of facts or observation.
  • Abductive reasoning: Reasoning that is a type of inference that moves from observations and data to a hypothesis.
  • Divergent thinking: This thinking focuses on the generation of multiple, creative solutions, rather than one "right" solution or answer to the problem, issue or concern. It is often referred to as "thinking out of the box" and inductive thinking.
  • Convergent thinking: This thinking aims for a single, "correct" solution to a problem. It is not creative, but instead, this thinking is based on an established rule or principle. Convergent thinking is similar to analytical or deductive thinking with the left, or analytical, side of the brain.
  • Critical thinking: Deep reasoning that facilitates the best decisions and to solve complex issues and problems
  • Data: Pieces of information
  • Empirical data: Data that is collected with one or more of the senses; data that is seen, heard, smelled, touched and/or tasted.
  • Bias: An error in research that occurs as the result of some faulty research design, some faulty sampling technique or some faulty measurement. Bias is NOT intentional; it is an inadvertent error that has to be prevented to the greatest extent possible.
  • Sample selection bias: A type of basis that which includes the inclusion or exclusion of some subjects in the sample
  • Measurement bias: A type of basis which occurs when the researcher uses a measurement tool that is not consistent with the research question or hypothesis and/or the researcher inaccurately collects data
  • Interviewer or researcher bias: A type of basis which occurs when the researcher inadvertently creates bias when they inject their own opinions, values, beliefs and even very subtle, nonverbal body language cues into the interview process.
  • Design bias: A type of basis that occurs when the design of the study has inherent bias
  • Response bias: A type of basis that occurs when the subjects of the research study answer a questionnaire or interview questions, for example, according to what they think the researcher wants to hear, rather than their own true beliefs and opinions
  • Reporting bias can occur when the researcher errs in terms of how the results of the research are disseminated to others
  • Conclusion: An inference or deduction
  • Experiment: Scientific inquiry with the manipulation of a variable

Logic Types of Thinking

There are many ways of knowing including logical reasoning and alternative ways of knowing like intuition.

In this section, you will learn about logical thinking and NOT alternative ways of knowing.

Some of the logical ways of thinking and reasoning are:

  • Deductive reasoning
  • Inductive reasoning
  • Convergent thinking
  • Divergent thinking
  • Critical thinking

Deductive Reasoning

Deductive reasoning, simply stated, is the use of our ability to come to a conclusion as based on a premise, fact or truth; deductive reasoning moves from the general to the specific or cause to effect. Deduction, or deductive reasoning, is accurate and highly useful when the facts, truths, or premises that it is based on are accurate and true. Faulty deduction occurs when one or more of the premises, truths and/or facts are faulty, inaccurate and/or not true.

For example, a person may accurately conclude that it will rain when they hear thunder in their immediate geographic area and they see a black sky over head or when they conclude that their child is sick when their skin is warm, they have a temperature and they are sleepy.

On the other hand, these conclusions would not be accurate when their eyeglasses are dirty and this makes the sky above look black when it is not and when the thermometer is broken and not taking an accurate temperature. Again, deductive reasoning is accurate and highly useful when the facts, truths, or premises that it is based on are accurate and true; and faulty deduction occurs when one or more of the premises, truths and/or facts are faulty, inaccurate and/or not true.

Inductive Reasoning

Inductive reasoning, in contrast to deductive reasoning, is the use of our ability to draw a generalization and inferences from a set of facts. Inductive reasoning moves from the specific to the general and this type of reasoning is used when a person is looking at, or observing, a problem, or phenomenon to determine why this problem or phenomenon is occurring. For example, if you repeatedly observe that your infant is crying incessantly despite all of your efforts like feeding and changing the infant, you will want to discover why this infant continues to cry. You may conclude that, for some reason, the infant may possibly be in pain.

Abductive Reasoning

Abductive reasoning is a type of inference that moves from observations and data to a hypothesis.

Divergent thinking is the opposite of convergent thinking. Divergent thinking concentrates on the development of multiple, creative solutions, rather than one "right" solution or answer to the problem, issue or concern, and which is the focus of convergent thinking. Divergent thinking is often referred to as "thinking out of the box" and as inductive thinking because inductive reasoning is often used for divergent thinking. Divergent thinking uses the right, or creative, side of the brain.

Convergent Thinking

Convergent thinking aims for a single, "correct" solution to a problem. It is not creative, but instead, this thinking is based on an established rule, conventional thought or principle. Convergent thinking is the opposite of divergent thinking. Convergent thinking is used with deductive reasoning and it uses the left, or analytical side, of the brain.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is best described as deep contemplation and thought that is often needed to solve complex issues and problems. Critical thinking entails lots of questioning with ‘why', ‘how', ‘what-else', and ‘what-if' questions to explore options and solutions to these complex and difficult problems and issues.

Logic and Reasoning

Logical reasoning uses the intellect to examine statements and arguments to arrive at some conclusion which is using deductive reasoning, rather than inductive reasoning.

Abductive reasoning, very different from deductive reasoning and somewhat different from inductive reasoning is a type of inference that moves from observations and data to a hypothesis.

Data

Simply stated, data is information. Data is collected and analyzed for scientific experiments and other research.

Data is often classified as empirical data. Empirical data is data that is collected using one of the senses which include the sense of:

  • Sight
  • Hearing
  • Smell
  • Taste
  • Touch

Bias

Bias is an error in research that occurs as the result of some faulty research design, some faulty sampling technique or some faulty measurement. Bias is NOT intentional; it is an inadvertent error that has to be prevented to the greatest extent possible.

The types of bias are:

  • Sample selection bias which includes the inclusion or exclusion of some subjects in the sample
  • Measurement bias which occurs when the researcher uses a measurement tool that is not consistent with the research question or hypothesis and/or the researcher inaccurately collects data
  • Interviewer or researcher bias which occurs when the researcher inadvertently creates bias when they inject their own opinions, values, beliefs and even very subtle, nonverbal body language cues into the interview process. Blind research design helps to avoid this bias
  • Design bias occurs when the design of the study has inherent bias
  • Response bias occurs when the subjects of the research study answer a questionnaire or interview questions, for example, according to what they think the researcher wants to hear, rather than their own true beliefs and opinions
  • Reporting bias can occur when the researcher errs in terms of how the results of the research are disseminated to others

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