Abductive reasoning and the formation of scientific knowledge within nursing research


Dr Maj-Britt Råholm, Associate Professor/Head of Research and Development, Faculty of Health, Stord/Haugesund University College, Bjørnsonsgate 45, 5528 Haugesund, Norway. Tel.: + 47 9166 3365; fax: + 47 5270 2601; e-mail: majbritt.raholm@hsh.no


Peirce's notion of abductive reasoning and the way this reasoning can enhance forming of scientific knowledge within nursing research is of great importance. Abduction is the first stage of inquiry within which hypotheses are invented; they are then explicated through deduction and verified through induction. In an abductive model, new ideas emerge by taking various clues and restrictions into account, and by searching and combining existing ideas in novel ways. Thus, abduction can be developed further as a ‘pure’ form of inference and this gives means for analysing and organizing the abductive search explicitly within the research community.