WHAT IS INDUCTIVE REASONING While deductive reasoning begins with a premise that is proven through observations, inductive reasoning extracts a likely (but not certain) premise from specific and limited observations. There is data, and then conclusions are drawn from the data; this is called inductive logic, according to the University of Illinois in Springfield. "In inductive inference, we go from the specific to the general. We make many observations, discern a pattern, make a generalization, and infer an explanation or a theory," Wassertheil-Smoller told Live Science. "In science, there is a constant interplay between inductive inference (based on observations) and deductive inference (based on theory), until we get closer and closer to the 'truth,' which we can only approach but not ascertain with complete certainty." In other words, the reliability of a conclusion made by test takers with inductive logic depends on the completeness of the observations. For instance, let's say that you have a bag of coins; you pull three coins from the bag, and each coin is a penny. Using inductive logic, you might then propose that all of the coins in the bag are pennies."Even though all of the initial observations — that each coin taken from the bag was a penny — are correct, inductive reasoning does not guarantee that the conclusion will be true. Here's another example: "Penguins are birds. Penguins can't fly. Therefore, all birds can't fly." The conclusion does not follow logically from the statements. Nevertheless, inductive reasoning has its place in the scientific method, and scientists use it to form hypotheses and theories. Deductive reasoning then allows them to apply the theories to specific situations.