Discuss the Relationships Between Social Theory and Empirical Research in Relation to One Published Study (Article 1)

Topics: Sociology, Research, Scientific method Pages: 6 (1886 words) Published: April 19, 2011
Discuss the relationships between social theory and empirical research in relation to one published study (ARTICLE 1) This essay will be examining the relationship between social theory and empirical research, in doing so we will be using the article written by D’Ovidio, R., Mitman, T. Et al. (2009). To do so we must firstly explain what is meant by sociological theory. Sociological theory is something that is tested and proven;it attempts to make sense of scientific data or empirical observations collected on human societies. Sociological theory relies on scientific method and is objective it does not presume to judge society.Theory is used for the interpretation of empirical research it is an ‘explanation of observed regularities and helps us understand‘(Alan Bryman, 2088, p6). These theories are ideas that allow knowledge of the social world. Symbolic interactionism, critical theory, functionalism, poststructuralism are examples of some sociological theories. Empirical research involves testing and is done is such a way that it can be replicated. That means that every procedure is documented so that other researchers can duplicate the study. If other researchers wind up with the same findings, it can be pretty sure that the original study was conclusive at a high level of confidence. Good empirical research involves good sampling methods, well written documentation, and solid analysis of the results. Often, statistical methods are used to determine the degree of confidence that we have in our conclusions. When researching we embark on empirical and collect data which we then enables us to understand or explain our findings. One must consider a general picture of social life and then research a particular aspect so that we can test the strength of the theory, this is called deduction. According to (Alan Bryman, 2008, p.9) ‘Deductive theory represents the commonest view the nature of the relationship between theory and social research’ research then functions to produce empirical evidence to test or refute theories. However when research comes before the theory we call this induction, this is when we seek to generate theoretical propositions on social life from our data. The research conducted by D’Ovidio, R., Mitman, T. et al. (2009) have used a few theories to carry out the research Differential Association theory, social learning theory and Techniques of neutralization.

Differential Association theory states that criminal behaviour is learned behaviour and learned via social interaction with others. In the research it looks at adult-child sex advocacy websites ‘where interested parties can learn criminal behaviour’.To see if after going on these website if it has influenced those who go on them.In order to do so, the online communities are checked to see if there users are being exposed to ‘rationalization’ for the crimes which include the sexual exploitation of children. Social learning theory which suggest that people learn behaviours from their observation of behaviours of others (haralambos& Holborn 2008). This theory explains the role of social influence from the media, peers and parents covers a wider range of explanations such as the importance of cognitive factors rather than suggesting we have no control. This theory is relevant because as it explains that the behaviour of those that entered these sites can only be blamed social learning, not by biological or hormonal factors. The article analyses 64 websites that ‘that promote, advocate, and convey information in support of sexual relationships between adults and children’. It aims to show if these sites are made so adults can learn of ways to exploit children, ‘According to Sutherland (1947/1974), learning crime begins with the process of differential association, which involves interactions with people who favor criminal behavior.’ Now that the World Wide Web is easier accessed like chat rooms, instant messengers and message boards and amongst...

Bibliography: Crow, G., Wiles, R., Heath S., & Vikki Charles ‘Research Ethics and Data Quality: The Implications of Informed Consent’, Vol. 9, No. 2, pp. 83–95
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