DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOCIOLOGY AND COMMON SENSE It is useful to consider the definitions of sociology and common sense to better understand the differences between the two, as sociology and common sense are slightly incomparable. However, some people hold the view or criticize sociology for being merely common sense and its nothing but the simple application of common sense. To this regard, many people mistakenly believe that sociology is the study of the obvious. But equaling any science with simple common sense could not be further from the truth. The most basic definition of sociology is that it’s the scientific study of society and of people and their behavior.
Sociology is in one way or another related to science and common sense but it is also in many ways distinct from the two. Early sociologists like Comte Durkheim tried to link sociology with the natural sciences as they argued that human beings and social activity could be studied rationally and objectively producing anticipated results. However this is only true to a certain extent, because as we know people are not atoms or identical particles, their existence consists of feelings and attitudes and their social realm is shaped and created through meaning and interpretation. Sociology is not a science but it isscientific. The
However the main difference is that structured interviews involved social interaction between the interviewer and the interviewee, whereas questionnaires have no involvement with the researcher. Structured interviews are favoured by positivist, they believe that society can be studied like science; therefore they try to establish a cause and effect relationship. Positivists argue that structured interviews produce representative and generalisable findings. They believe they are reliable, objective and a detached method of producing quantitative data and testing hypothesis. On the other hand interpretivists do not agree with positivists.
They criticise naturalistic field experiments for reducing control over variables. Interpretivists reject lab experiments because it fails to achieve their main goal of validity. It’s an artificial situation producing unnatural behaviour, and they favour more naturalistic field experiments. Field experiments have two features with make them different from lab experiments, which are it takes place in the subject’s natural surroundings for example a school, and the people who are involved generally aren’t aware that they’re the subjects of an experiment. A practical strength of field
WHY--not natural settings, impractical , want to look at meanings in the context of social settings. Field experiments- these are observations in a natural setting, people are usually not aware that they are being studied. If people know they are being studied it may cause the Hawthorne effect. Comparative method- this is where events that have happened are compared by the sociologist. t identifies two groups that are similar and comparisons are made- it seeks to discover cause and effect, avoids artificiality, can be used to study past events, no ethical problems .
When Durkheim said that, he was saying that sociologists study sociology just like how a biologist studies photosynthesis. One colossal issue Interpretivists have with the way Positivists study sociology is that Interpretivists believe that when studying sociology, one needs to use values and beliefs. They believe that once one removes values from the equation, then the way society truly functions will never be found. Positivists think that by removing one’s values or bias from the observation, then it allows for a pure result, not a result that has been tampered with by the sociologist’s beliefs. Positivists believe that by obtaining these pure and precise results, it leads to a vast and in-depth understanding of society.
However, not all agree that sociology is a science. The scientific philosophers Popper and Kuhn are sceptical of sociology’s scientific status. Moreover, interpretivist sociologists believe that whether sociology is a science or not is an irrelevant debate. They argue that validity is the key to understanding society and social problems and that positivists waste too much time and effort weighing up the scientific merits of sociological research. Positivists believe that sociology should base its logic and methods on the natural sciences such as chemistry, biology and physics.
OBSERVATIONAL RESEARCH Overview Observational research is type of correlational (i.e., nonexperimental) research in which a researcher observes ongoing behavior. There are a variety of types of observational research, each of which has both strengths and weaknesses. These types are organized below by the extent to which an experimenter intrudes upon or controls the environment. Naturalistic Observation Naturalistic observation, also known as nonparticipant observation, has no intervention by a researcher. It is simply studying behaviors that occur naturally in natural contexts, unlike the artificial environment of a controlled laboratory setting.
Similarly society is an objective reality – a real thing made up of social facts out there and independent to individuals. Positivists argue reality is not random but patterned and can be observed empirically. It’s the job of the sociologist to observe, identify, measure and record patterns and then to explain them. Durkheim argues laws are discoverable and will explain patterns. Sociologists can discover laws that determine how society works; this is called induction or inductive reasoning.
6. People are too different from the subjects of natural scientific research. So many of the advantages of the scientific method are not applicable to the traditional scientific approach - for example, replication and control. Conclusion Generally, the methods of traditional science have either been radically adapted by sociologists so that they can still be used - the comparative method, structured questionnaires, or totally rejected - interpretive Sociology. Scientific research has been important in generating debate in Sociology as to how