Explain Concepts of Interpretivist and Positivist

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Explain concepts of Interpretivist and Positivism This essay will broadly define the concepts of interpretive and positivist paradigms in social theory. These two differing perspectives often use different approaches to the study of social life, which broadly defined, can be explained as quantitative and qualitative, looking at contrasts, comparatives and criticisms. Positivists believe that it is possible to create a science of society, based upon the same principals and procedures as the natural sciences, such as biology. Further, using methods adopted by the natural sciences would prove that behaviour was governed by principals of cause and effect. Social facts, positivists argue, can be observed, measured, and quantified, (hence why positivism is also known as Quantitative) producing data/statistics which, when analysed can reveal correlations, patterns of behaviour, causes (cause and effect), and ultimately, laws of human behaviour. By creating data through research methods such as structured interviews, questionnaires, and social surveys using a deductive approach to the relationship between theory and results, the emphasis is placed on the testing of theories. They also believe that it is important to examine society as a whole, using a large scale (macro) methodology, and consider social facts (institutions, beliefs, norms &values of society) to have an external existence to a person, but having an influence on behaviour, and the way a person acts. Therefore, it could be said that human beings essentially are directed by social facts, by norms, values and beliefs, and are part of wider society. Durkheim’s study of suicide being an example of this, he gathered data on suicide (social fact) and members of different religious beliefs (set), by analysis of such data and found a link between Protestantism and a high rate of suicide. He believed that
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