Business Research Methods

The two types of discourse

Discourse is a tool to convey the meaning of what a person wants to say. There are two major types of discourse such as exposition and argument (Cooper & Schindler, 2014). Exposition comprises statements that describe events or concepts and does not provide any explanations. Argument, in turn, allows explanation, interpretation, defence, and exploration of meaning. Discourse analysis can be used, for example, in the investigation of case studies that provide useful facts for business development (Ellis & Rod, 2014). One of the possible applications of discourse as a whole and argument in particular is business reporting. In fact, argument as type of discourse is a tool that allows influencing audiences (Brennan & Merkl-Davies, 2014). Moreover, it can be combined with rhetoric to achieve better results. Speaking about business reporting, argument is more applicable than exposition because it provides reasons and explanations of the concepts under discussion. Also, discourse can be used in business research. In this case, both exposition and argument are useful. Thus, exposition allows presenting the obtained data and argument can be used to explain the findings and the factors that led to this result. Consequently, both types of discourse are useful if applied properly to the suitable material and have a potential to empower business research.

The two types of argument

The most important types of argument that are frequently used in research are deduction and induction. Deduction is considered to be “a form of argument that purports to be conclusive” (Cooper & Schindler, 2014, p. 66). Moreover, this conclusion is an obligatory component that follows the provided reasons. The major goal of reasons is to represent a proof and lead to a conclusion. It is important to ensure that reasons (premises) are true. In this case, the conclusion that follows them is valid. Deductive reasoning in the business context is used in advertising due to its ability to persuade clients to select and purchase a product. For example, a company that produces household cleaning products assumes that homemakers do not want to waste time cleaning but still want a clean house. This supposition can be proved by a survey based on interviews. Hence, the company expects that homemakers will be eager to purchase a product that helps to clean the house quickly and save time for more pleasant activities. As a result, they create an advertisement with a plot grounded on the following deductive reasoning: homemakers hate cleaning for long hours; product X cleans the house in a couple of minutes; the conclusion is that homemakers are likely to buy product X to make their life easier.

In turn, inductive argument is completely different. In inductive reasoning, the relationship between reasons and a conclusion is less strong if compared to deductive one (Cooper & Schindler, 2014). Inductive argument is built upon one or more particular facts that are explained by a conclusion, and these facts support the conclusion. As applied to the business environment, inductive argument can be used to reveal the reasons for some events. For example, a sales department in a company did not perform well last year. The possible reasons that contribute to inductive argument are that the head of this department lacks professional skills, the managers are poorly trained or not motivated, the target audience was not identified properly, or that the pricing policy is not effective.


Brennan, N., & Merkl-Davies, D. (2014). Rhetoric and argument in social and environmental reporting: The Dirty Laundry case. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 27(4), 602-633. Web.

Cooper, D. R., & Schindler, P. S. (2014). Business research methods (12th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Ellis, N., & Rod, M. (2014). Using discourse analysis in case study research in business-to-business contexts. In A. G. Woodside, H. M. Pattinson, & R. Marshall (Eds.), Field guide to case study research in business-to-business marketing and purchasing (pp.77-99). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.