Sociology as Science Essay

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Assess the Extent to which sociology could be seen as a science (25 marks) Science by its definition is the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world. It aims to make sense of the world around us, and is seen as different from other bodies of knowledge such as science, religion and philosophy. This is mainly due to its five components. These are as follows. Empirical means we can count and measure information and testable is defined as experiments being able to be repeated and retested, therefore seen as more reliable. The theoretical means science seeks out causal relationships and doesn’t rely on descriptions but also to explain. Cumulative means it builds on previous knowledge and moves our understanding of the world forwards. Lastly, the objective details that personal feelings, prejudices etc have no place in science. It basically has to be unbiased. It is debated as to whether sociology fits into this definition, with strong divides in the for and against. Sociology is often referred to as a social science, placed in the same category as politics and economics. It is still not regarded as a natural science such as chemistry or physics, which involve explanations and reason. However, one argument presented as to why sociology is a science comes from Positivists, and the reason given is due to the methods used. Positivists use quantitative data and methods such as questionnaires in order to distinguish any trends, patterns or correlations in an investigation. By adopting the methods of natural sciences they establish sociology as a real science. Comte, who invented the term sociology, argued that it should be based on the methodology of the natural sciences. This would then result in a positive science of society which would in turn reveal the invariable laws. This is

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