Comment on the three types of sociological theories, explain and argue, based on
your library or Internet research, which type of theory is the most appropriate
theory for sociology to adopt.
The three general types of sociological theory are positivistic, interpretive and
critical theory. In determining which theory is the most appropriate for sociology to
adopt, a basic understanding of each theory's strengths and weaknesses is necessary. In
defining each of these theories, it is important to determine the ontological basis or the
theory's basis for determining what is knowable; the epistemological basis or the theory's
relationship between the knower and the knowable; and, finally, the methodological basis
or the theory's method for gathering data and obtaining knowledge.
The positivistic theory is based on an ontology of being a realist. The realistic
slant of positivism is also known as determinism. The positivist knows that a reality is
'out there' to be defined and categorized. The hard sciences from the time of Newton
and Decartes have traditionally relied on the positivistic approach. The positivist hopes to
be able to approximate 'reality' in a detailed generalization or theory on how reality
operates. The theories of a positivist generally take the form of cause and effect laws
describing the outside reality. Robert Merton defined these theorems as 'clear verifiable
statements of the relationships between specified variables.'
Positivism relies on an objective epistemology. The observer remains distant and
does not interact with the observation or experiment. Values and any other factors that
might lead to bias are to be carefully removed so that the cold, monological gaze of
science can be used to analyze the data. The positivist is an objectivist.
The methodology of positivism...