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Encouraging innovative PhD research

Induction and deduction are commonly recognised enquiry approaches. 19th Century philosopher Charles Peirce identified a third approach - abduction.

The role of abduction in the research process is generally unacknowledged in the documentation of research, and thus leaves a large part of the process hidden and unexamined. More particularly by so doing it tends to neglect the important innovative or creative component within the research process.

What is abduction?

Abduction provides a hypothesis to explain a surprising observation. The subsequent research process then involves confirming or denying the hypothesis.

Abduction is innovative in that it describes "the moment of creative inspiration when a researcher conceives of a hypothetical explanation for some empirical fact" (Charles Peirce).

This project will determine barriers to innovative study and identify pathways that increase innovation in ECU research.

Research questions

  • What are the knowledge pathways in existing and proposed PhD research?
  • To what extent has abduction played a role in the research using these pathways?
  • What strategies would encourage innovative practice for these pathways?

Research methods

  • Qualitative Analysis involving semi-structured interviews.



April 2012 - August 2014

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