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What is the difference between Inductive and deductive reports?

I was asked by some students this week about their assignment and the difference between inductive and deductive reports.

An inductive report involves moving from the specific issues of the case you are using to general summarised information shown usually in the conclusion and recommendations at the end.

In an inductive report you move from the specific to the general and the structure of the report looks like:

  • Introduction
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • Recommendations
  • References

These reports are best for a reader who will read the whole report – from beginning to end. If the findings can be disputed or are controversial then you need to lay out a clear path from your propositions and arguments to the conclusion – the recommendations following from the conclusion are meant to be acted upon.

In a deductive report you move from the general to the specific and the structure of the report looks like::

  • Introduction
  • Conclusions
  • Recommendations
  • Discussion
  • References

This order is aimed at an audience who may not read the entire document but need to review just the conclusions and recommendations and then the discussion if further enlightenment is needed. These reports generally are best used for non controversial subjects.

The report asked for in a management report is an amalgamation of the two approaches above. In effect the Executive Summary of 1 to 2 pages is the deductive part of the report and the main body an inductive component.

So the structure of a management report is:

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • Recommendations
  • References

Hope this helps clarify this issue

Roy



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