The most basic definition of sociology is that it’s the scientific study of society and of people and their behavior. Getting a little more in depth, it is the study of society and human in groups and how they interact with one another. Sociology like to go or get behind the scenes of what seems to be happening and comes up with a much convincing explanation. Hence sociology deals with the use of scientific method and analysis to observe and measure something objectively. However not every sociological findings is revolutionary.
QUESTION: What does C. Wright Mills mean when he describes sociology as “the intersection of biography and history”? What is the relationship between personal life and larger social structures? Are personal lives determined by social structures? This paper explores the very intelligent critical thought describing sociology through writing. These actions and words are expounded on C. Wright Mills thoughts.
Though this is often difficult as social facts tend to be unnoticeable therefore sociologists must avoid being bias when developing their theories and concepts. Positivist Popper suggested in his theory of falsification that in order for something to be regarded as a valid science it must try to disprove their hypothesis. He believed that science can never have absolute truth, but the longer it can go without being falsified the truer it is. He rejects
Social policy is government principles and legislation designed to deal with social problems like crime and poverty. However opinions from sociologists all vary on this matter because some believe that their research should feed into policy; whereas others are in the opinion that sociologists must find out what is happening, why it is happening and what can be done to solve the problem. There are many things that influence sociology on policy for example globalisation and policy preferences of the government at the time. This essay is going to examine the relationship between sociology and social policy. Positivists and functionalists such as Durkheim and Comte view sociology as a science and they argue that sociology can discover all the social problems.
It was a term coined by one of the founding fathers of classical sociology Comte and it involves: “Knowledge that is disciplined, empirical and scientific free from religious or political bias.” On the other hand as society and the early science of sociology evolved a different approach was seen by many to be the way forward. This anti-positivist thinking or interpretist approach believes that society cannot be studied as a science; this methodological anti-positivism proposed the theory of the human in society as an individual and thus research be directed to human cultural norms, values and symbols. The interpretist will take a more subjective approach were as the positivist tries to look at society objectively. Let us now look to compare and contrast positivism with an interpretist approach. Positivists are of the opinion that society can be studied using a scientific approach comparable to the way scientists study the natural world.
Functionalist, Conflict, and Interaction Theory There are three major theories that depict how sociologists view the world. The theories are functionalist, conflict, and interaction theory. Each of these has its own view points of how people affect society, and how society affects the people. Each theory has its own group of sociologist to go with it. The theory that a sociologist picks to back has an effect on how they do research and how they look at problems.
Basic research helps expand our knowledge and understanding of the causes and consequences of a problem, whereas applied research involves the pursuit of a program application or policy evaluation (Leon-Guerrero, 2011). Since social science relies on scientific methods to investigate societies and their processes, this opens up for several different variables to the outcomes that we have and the statistics that we gain through these types of research methods. Some of the methods used are, survey research, this is where data is collected by means of mailed surveys, group surveys, in-person interviews, or telephone surveys. A qualitative method, this data is collected by observing natural behavior, which could include participant observation, focus groups or intensive interviewing with open-ended questioning. A historical and comparative method, this data is focused on historical events over a specific time period, comparative involves multiple cases.
In the study of sociology, there are three sociological assumptions: argument, evidence, unit of analysis. These arguments differ greatly, but share common ground: assuming exactly what they need to be explaining. When writing a sociological argument, it is important to
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.
Although the scientific method can be assessed in sociological research, the interpretivistic approach in sociology contradicts their beliefs. Interpretivism does not completely abandon scientific thought, but it does not encourage it. They think that the social world is very different from the natural world, thus they cannot be studies the same way. The interpretivism approach derived from the works of Max Weber. They believe that people attach meaning to what they do and it is up the sociologist to attempt to interpret the meaning.