Distinguishing Deductive from Inductive Reasoning

Deductive arguments are top-down, working from general principles to specific cases. Inductive reasoning, on the other hand, is bottom-up, working from specific observations and looking for patterns that lead to a general conclusion. Your career path in healthcare and health-related fields will present many problems that will require critical reasoning. Think about potential issues or even issues you have already encountered. Determine what type of critical reasoning – inductive or deductive – best suits the situation – or do you need both? If you are short on ideas, use one of these scenarios as a starting point:

Suppose you are on a committee that has to decide whether to cut nursing staff or social services staff. How would you approach the problem?
Suppose your hospital suddenly sees an enormous increase in emergency room patients, and you are on a committee to investigate the problem and relieve pressure on the ER. How would you approach the problem?

Sample Solution