Abduction, deduction and induction sounds like a process that a religious cult would use in order to gain new recruits. In fact, they are all are research methods used in qualitative research. The aim of this blog post is to order my thoughts and understandings of the terms and to produce a coherent (at least to me) piece on the three terms.
Research methods are linked to theory and how theory is formulated and tested. Mason (2010) states there are at least models which show how theory relates to research.
- Theory is primary. Research and analysis is utilised to rest the theory.
- Theory comes last and is generated through data and analysis.
- Theory, data collection and analysis occurs concurrently.
Each of these approaches can be linked to different research philosophies. Deductive reasoning is linked to the theory is primary approach (Blaikie, 2000). Inductive reasoning points to a theory comes last philosophy and abductive reasoning is linked to a more dialectical process of theory, data collection and analysis (Blaikie, 2000 and Mason, 2010).
Abduction is concerned with understanding human behaviour within the social situation which it takes place and as such cannot be undertaken in an experimental situation (Reichertz, 2004). The aim is for the researcher to understand the behaviour and situation as well as the social actors themselves would.
Challenges include becoming too close to the research subjects and appearing to empathise with their position (Bryman, 2012).
It has been a difficult summer for me. I have found it hard to read and write any more than a few sentences. It is a hard thing to admit that my chosen path is anything but a bed of roses, but I want this blog to be honest and truly reflect my PhD experience. I have found the going tough as other things have been taking priority in my life. As a family we have experienced bereavement and other upheavals. Some of my relationships (both personal and professional) have changed. This is not necessarily a negative thing, a very good friend has moved to Spain in order to further his career, which is great, but also means I have one less person to meet for coffee in Starbucks (which will put a strain on those who have to meet me instead) and as my friends know, I need a lot of coffee. One of my supervisors has moved from the University of Southampton, a great career for him, but undoubtedly means there will be changes in my working environment. No more nipping upstairs to ask for advice, it all has to be done on email. Again, not negative, just a change.
I have had some success. I have successfully scraped data from Facebook using python and facepy. This has been amazing and very rewarding. Watch this space to see what happens with this data.
It does feel as if I coming out of this negativity. I am writing again, and have plans to do get some much needed publications completed. As always, I feel like I am behind the rest of my cohort and always playing catch up.
Hopefully my next blog post will be full of happiness and academic success.