Analytic induction entails creating and testing hypotheses concerning each subsequent example or occurrence of the phenomenon. Analytic induction is an interpretative method that looks for general explanations of the phenomenon in question. It was first popularized by Florian Znaniecki and published in 1934.
Qualitative research aims to draw generalizations by conducting a thorough, methodical analysis of a limited number of examples.
The stages of analytic induction, according to Donald Cressey, who uses the logic in his 1953 book “Other People’s Money,” are:
- defining the field
- positing an explanation
- examining one case to see if it matches the facts
- revising the hypothesis or the definitions in light of this
- reviewing additional cases
Cressey writes in Analytic Induction that “this technique of evaluating examples, redefining the phenomenon, and reformulating the hypothesis is repeated until a universal connection is formed.”
Analytic induction refers to an analytical technique used frequently in qualitative sociology. It is a data gathering and analysis research technique that expressly starts with the aberrant case to test models or ideas that have been formed via research. It may be described as a method of systematic event interpretation that entails both the creation and testing of hypotheses. Analyzing the exception or the case that deviates from the hypothesis is its vital tool.
After developing a basic theory (hypothesis, pattern, or model), Znaniecki proposed the method of searching for and analyzing aberrant examples in 1934. Analytic induction primarily focuses on assessing ideas and knowledge through analyzing or integrating negative situations. The steps in the process are as follows:
- A general definition of the phenomenon to be explained is developed.
- A hypothetical explanation of the phenomenon is formulated.
- A case is examined in the context of this hypothesis to determine whether the hypothesis corresponds to the facts in this case.
- If the hypothesis is incorrect, either it is reformulated or the phenomenon to be explained is redefined in a way that excludes this case.
The researcher then looks for instances that might refute the theory, model, or typology. After a limited number of examples have been researched, practical certainty is attained; nevertheless, the discovery of every negative case by the researcher or another researcher invalidates the explanation and necessitates its reformulation. Redefining ideas and reformulating assumptions in response to each negative occurrence is necessary. Until a universal relation is established, more instances are researched, the phenomenon is redefined, and the hypotheses are reconstructed.
Enumerative reasoning is not the foundation of analytic induction. It is an authentically qualitative method of evaluating the stability and constraints of research findings since it concentrates on a single deviant instance to assess a more or less universal model. It goes beyond the creation of grounded theory because of its focus on testing hypotheses. Analytic induction yields three sorts of findings:
- forms of activities (how something is often done)
- accounts of self-awareness and explanations
- analyses and presentations of the motivational and other factors behind particular behaviors
Analytic induction doesn’t begin with the traditional definitions or models of the subject being investigated. It is a method for improving interpretive inferences drawn from data since it implicitly accepts that hypotheses, theories, and models are not always accurate. It is a tactic to establish their boundaries and to make clear under what time, local, and social conditions they are not viable by looking for adverse situations and evaluating models and ideas against them. Analytic induction is a method for generalizing and defining case-based, qualitative conclusions.
Analytic induction has received criticism since it does not, as Znaniecki originally meant, offer a way to create causal rules and universals. The generalizations of case studies and external validity are both under scrutiny. Analytic induction, however, has its significance as a method for evaluating and improving studies through the use of adverse situations.