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What is the definition of inductive reasoning?

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Inductive reasoning is a process that uses specific observations to formulate a broad generalization. Although inductive reasoning is used in science, it can often lead to making a false conclusion or one that is not logically valid all the time. An example of reaching a false conclusion with inductive reasoning is "Mary is a grandmother and has gray hair; therefore, all grandmothers must have gray hair."

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A researcher uses the specific fact that a grandmother has gray hair to come to a generalized statement that all grandmothers must have gray hair, which is not always true. Although inductive reasoning may be useful in science to formulate a hypothesis or theory, deductive reasoning, which is the opposite of inductive reasoning, is also important.

Deductive reasons works in the opposite fashion, where a researcher begins with general information or observations and studies them to reach a specific conclusion.

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