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Deduction and induction are two epistemological approaches towards research in sociology. Inductive research involves search for the pattern from a set of observations and ultimately concluding the outcomes as theories. On the contrary the deductive research starts with the theory derived through common sense, literature etc. itself and then moves towards observations. Inductive approach is taken when we know very less about the social issue at the hand. Hence exploratory research is always inductive.
Deductive approach is used when there is already an existing knowledge base. Confirmatory research is generally deductive. Qualitative or interpretivist sociologists more frequently use inductive reasoning where an investigator takes time to make repeated observations of the phenomena under study to get a better understanding of the phenomenon under observation. Scientific method may use any of these two approaches for social research.