Tips for Writing Deductive Essays

The deductive writing style is a vital mechanism for assessing the knowledge levels of students across virtually all disciplines.

The art of deductive reasoning is rooted in the concept that, given a set of premises i.e. clues or circumstances, the writer can draw reasonable conclusions about a given situation. Or, put in simple terms, an individual can solve a conundrum or puzzle or discover a person’s identify if they are provided with sufficient information.

More particularly, reasoning of the deductive variety takes account of individual facts or factors, weighs these against current knowledge in a relevant field, and then adds everything together to arrive at conclusions. Deductive reasoning has three essential parts. Premise is the first of these. Premises are basic beliefs or facts used to come to conclusions. An argument may have a number of premises. Evidence is the second essential part. This is any information the writer has in front to them, be it something they have seen or a story they are analyzing. The conclusion is the last essential part. This is the writer’s final analysis or view of a particular situation. Conclusions are arrived at by balancing the premises with the available evidence.

The following is a simple example:

  • The premise is: Apes are primates
  • The evidence is: Charlie is an ape
  • The conclusion is: Charlie is a primate.

While this deductive example is not complex, it is correct.

Deductive reasoning is used a lot in daily life. Say, for instance, you can see the pavement is wet outside. You might interpret this fact in a number of ways. It may be that a water-filled truck has driven by and wet the area. You might even think the water sprung up through the ground i.e. there is a leak somewhere. However, the most likely conclusion you will come to is that there has been some rain. Judging all possible factors and drawing on your experience of life, it is most logical to conclude that rain has caused the wetness. There may well be other factors that could have caused outside wetness, but rain is the most logical option. However, if you were certain that no rain had fallen, or you know there was street washing activity going on, you would change your deduction accordingly. Deduction uses the most likely and reasonable option, but is not an absolute certainty. Certain fields of work and study use deductive reasoning – e.g. it is used in the work that police do, when reporting on investigations, in the sciences e.g. medicine, in legal circles, and, strangely, when analyzing literature.

The main ingredients of an effective deductive essay are focus and clarity. Every paragraph should be focused on a specific point or aspect of the topic and the writer should use examples and detail to arrive at a particular conclusion. The most critical factor is the support a writer provides for their conclusion. Put another way, a conclusion will sound feeble or weak if it is not supported.  

The following are a few examples of popular deductive essay topics:

  • Communism versus democracy
  • Web-based courses and degree courses
  • Love versus habit
  • Freedom and international immigrants
  • How truth can sometimes be more harmful than lies.