analytic induction

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A logic of qualitative research which employs a systematic and exhaustive examination of a limited number of cases in order to provide generalizations. Donald Cressey, who employs the logic in his book Other People's Money (1953), suggests the stages of analytic induction are: defining the field; hypothesizing an explanation; studying one case to see if it fits the facts; modifying the hypothesis or the definitions in the light of this; and reviewing further cases. According to Cressey, ‘this procedure of examining cases, re-defining the phenomenon and reformulating the hypothesis is continued until a universal relationship is established’. See also grounded theory; induction; symbolic interactionism.

Subjects: Sociology.

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