Abductive reasoning in logistics research

Gyöngyi Kovács*, Karen M. Spens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

349 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - To construct a framework for exploring and discussing the use of different research approaches - deductive, inductive and abductive - in logistics. Design/methodology/approach - A review of research articles in three major logistics journals (International Journal of Logistics Management, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management and Journal of Business Logistics) from 1998 to 2002. Findings - Recognizes the dominance of deductive research in logistics, and the need for more inductive and, in particular, abductive research for theory development. Discusses the use of the abductive research approach in logistics. Research limitations/ implications - Keywords searches led to a small sample size; more thorough content analysis is needed to apply the findings from the constructed framework. Practical implications - Useful source of information on the three different research approaches, their possibilities and implications for research. Originality/value - The abductive research approach has not yet been discussed in logistics.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalInternational Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)132-144
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2005
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Distribution management
  • Literature
  • Research


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