Inductive reasoning is the ability to detect generalizations, rules, or regularities1 in a certain context. For example, finding out the commonality among a group of objects, the rule for a number sequence, etc.
It provides a fundamental basis for understanding regularities of knowledge and generating concepts and categories in our daily life2 bearing a close relationship with problem-solving and establishing causal relationships3. When faced with unfamiliar problems, inductive processes are the ones that generate hypothetical rules which will be tested by further actions and observations4.
Inductive reasoning is considered a basic component of thinking, and it is one of the most broadly studied procedures of cognition with very high associations with learning, often being dubbed “learning potential”5. It encompasses the ability to transfer knowledge acquired in one context to new situations. Not surprisingly, inductive reasoning is one of the main factors predicting academic success6.
1 Klauer, K. & Phye, G. (2008). Inductive Reasoning: A Training Approach. Review of Educational Research. 78(1), 85–123.
2 Klauer & Phye, 2008
3 Vo, D & Csapó, B. (2020). Development of inductive reasoning in students across school grade levels. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 37, 100699
4 Perret, P. (2015). Children’s inductive reasoning: Developmental and educational perspectives. Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology, 14(3), 389-408
5 Tissink, Hamers, & van Luit, (1993) cit in Csapó, B. (1997). The Development of Inductive Reasoning: Cross-sectional Assessments in an Educational Context. International journal of behavioral development. 20 (4), 609–626.
6 Vo & Csapó, 2020