Social Research Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2012-20, Social Research Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 19 December, 2019 , © Lee Harvey 2012–2020.


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core definition

Logic is a structure or set of procedures for presenting a rational argument.

explanatory context

Logic, in its broadest sense, refers to the structure and principles of reasoning. It requires the ascription of truth or falsity to premises in an argument and thereby derives the truth or falsity of the conclusion.


There are basic two approaches to logical argument, deductive and inductive. Logic is not about how people actually do argue but about the theoretical structure of argument.


Logical analysis (described further below) is concerned with clarifying language prior to establishing a line of argument.

analytical review

Aftab (2008) stated:

Logical Analysis emerged as an important philosophy in the early 20th century and is still the dominant school of philosophy in most universities of the English speaking world. Logical analysis attempts to resolve philosophical disputes by clarifying language and analysing the expressed in ordinary assertions. Restating a philosophical problem in precise logical terminology, instead of everyday language, is likely to reveal its possible solution. Hence, it aims to resolve problems which emerge as a result of linguistic confusion. This philosophical movement has emerged along two lines of development. One is the advancement in mathematical logic, particularly with the development of symbolic logic by Russell and Frege in contrast to Aristotelian logic. The second line is an increasing concern towards the philosophy of linguistics, the ways in which misuse of language leads to philosophical problems.


New World Encyclopedia contributors (2014): most often said to be the study of criteria for the evaluation of arguments, although the exact definition of logic is a matter of controversy among philosophers. However the subject is grounded, the task of the logician is the same: to advance an account of valid and fallacious inference, in order to allow one to distinguish good from bad arguments.

Traditionally, logic is studied as a branch of philosophy. Since the mid-1800s logic has also been commonly studied in mathematics, and, more recently, in set theory and computer science. As a science, logic investigates and classifies the structure of statements and arguments, both through the study of formal systems of inference, often expressed in symbolic or formal language, and through the study of arguments in natural language (a spoken language such as English, Italian, or Japanese). The scope of logic can therefore be very large, ranging from core topics such as the study of fallacies and paradoxes, to specialist analyses of reasoning such as probability, correct reasoning, and arguments involving causality.

associated issues


related areas

See also



Aftab, A., 2008, 'Logical Analysis and Betrand Russell' available at, accessed 11March 2013, still available 9 June 2019.

New World Encyclopedia contributors, 2014, 'Logic', New World Encyclopedia, last updated 13 August2014, available at:, accessed 21 May 2017. Page modified 19 September 2018 and quote not found.

copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2020


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