If I learned nothing else in debate, I learned it was a cheap shot to start with a definition, so here is the definition of inductive reasoning:
“Inductive reasoning aims at developing a theory while deductive reasoning aims at testing an existing theory.” Seems simple, right? Inductive reasoning allows you to induce the existence of forest when you see hundreds of trees. I can look at a thousand trees and never induce the existence of a forest.
Curse you inductive reasoning my old nemesis. I have never been successful at inducing. It’s been a weakness since college. It was particularly difficult during my years as a technology journalist. You were supposed to attend a trade show with hundreds of booths, then write a story about the trend that tied them together. I was worse at this than my colleagues and competitors. So I sniffed around the consultants and trade show staff until someone offered me a plausible theory to which the facts could be twisted.
I thought of this as I read a column by Mick La Salle of the San Francisco Chronicle. He and I both have the same information available; the number of women starring in Hollywood movies. Of course, he had precise numbers, since that is an obsession of his, whereas I had only an impression, but he was able to find an overall theory about the increasing number of starring roles for women, through the process of inductive reasoning, where all I saw was a more women in films.
That I know of, there is no training course or seminar to improve your inductive reasoning, and, at 70, I don’t expect much call for it. Still… I don’t have a lot of writing weaknesses, so this one irks me. No writers’ block, ever. As many words as you want. I write better than anyone who writes faster and faster than anyone who writes better. My grammar is excellent thanks to my English teacher mother. My spelling is . adequate; my typing speed is good enough (for a guy who hunts and pecks. Real typists weep when they watch me type). I write good newspaper-style stories and acceptable magazine-style stories.