Roshni signed up for a five-day course to improve her communication skills. On the first two days, she logged in exactly at 9 a.m. but the class didn’t start on time.
So, on the third day, Roshni took it easy. She relied on a pattern in the past to decide the future. She logged in later than 9 a.m. on the third day even though the class could have started on time.
Like Roshni, many of us make decisions based on our observations that may be incomplete. This is an everyday example of the inductive method at work.
What leads us to use inductive thinking and what is the meaning of inductive reasoning? Let’s find out.
What Is Inductive Reasoning?
Inductive reasoning is often confused with deductive reasoning. While the two aren’t mutually exclusive, the inductive method is the opposite of the deductive method. At the core of inductive thinking lies the logic of moving from specific observations to general conclusions. Put simply, inductive reasoning is a type of logical reasoning that involves generalizations based on particular observations.
Inductive thinking is an analytical foundational skill. Individuals with inductive reasoning skills can identify patterns or trends in various situations. These are highly valued skills in the workplace. The inductive method helps develop strategies, policies or proposals more efficiently. Your conclusions may not be completely true as in the case of deductive arguments but they will be based on logical evidence.
Examples Of Inductive Reasoning At The Workplace
Let us look at some examples of inductive reasoning at the workplace:
- Example 1: During the placement season, recruiters often study the background of candidates. If they observe that the majority of candidates are being selected from a certain set of colleges, they focus future recruiting efforts on those educational institutes.
- Example 2: If a manager notices that with flexible timing, his employees perform better compared to working under strict timelines, he may ask employees to set a realistic and achievable timeline instead of setting it for them.
How To Improve Your Inductive Reasoning
Logical reasoning, particularly the inductive method, is fairly intuitive. However, it can be developed and improved with practice. Here are a few things that can help sharpen your inductive reasoning abilities:
The process of inductive thinking encourages you to approach situations differently, and you shouldn’t be afraid of thinking outside the box. Approach the problem in multiple ways, if needed, and think about the possible solutions. Then narrow down to the best choice.
Pay attention to details:
It’s important to be detail-oriented in order to be able to reach better conclusions. You can build broader inferences by paying attention to the specifics of a situation. Your conclusions may turn out to be fruitless if there are discrepancies in your observations.
Those who have strong pattern-recognition capabilities can predict certain outcomes. Inductive reasoning is based on how effectively you can study recurring trends and apply that knowledge to make decisions. Carrying your raincoat because it rained the previous day or implementing a plan that was successful in the past are examples of inductive reasoning through pattern recognition.
Sharpen your memory:
Inductive reasoning is a type of cognitive skill that can be improved over time. Since the inductive method requires you to remember trends from the past, it’s crucial that you have a sharp memory. Indulge in brain teasers or riddles in your free time to keep practicing your cognitive skills.
Use emotional intelligence:
Decisions aren’t always fact-based. Sometimes we let our emotions affect them. This is why the emotional intelligence (EI) of an individual is as crucial as logical reasoning. If you can take into account the emotions behind people’s actions, you’ll learn how to make decisions more confidently.
So, work on your inductive reasoning skills and keep learning from your daily life. Be attentive, proactive and observe the little things around you. Canadian author Joe Novarro sums it up, “Observation is like a muscle. Exercise your observation muscle and you will become the most powerful decoder of the world around you.”
Harappa Education’s Reasoning Logically course will help you learn how to tackle workplace problems with logical solutions. You’ll learn how to present objective arguments that are fact-based and bias-free. Sign up now and make logical decisions for success at work.
Explore topics such as the Cognitive Abilities, What is Logical Reasoning, Types of Reasoning, Deductive Reasoning & difference between Inductive and Deductive Reasoning from our Harappa Diaries blog section.