Three Ways of Doing Sociology

Topics: Sociology, Social sciences, Psychology Pages: 2 (586 words) Published: September 21, 2010
Essay Question #1 (Chapter 2 #2)

There are three ways to do sociology, the first being positivist sociology which is “the study of society based on systematic observation of social behavior” (Macionis 31). The second is interpretive sociology which is “the study of society that focuses on the meanings people attach to their social world” (Macionis 36). The third way to do sociology is critical sociology this is “the study of society the focuses on the need for social change” (Macionis 36). They all focus on the main idea of studying society but differ in the way they go about studying it.

The approach Durkheim used most often was positivist sociology. This sociology is used based on the fact that there is an objective reality that exists. This method likes to have things to actually measure and usually done in a lab. They have to define the concepts for their experiments and out into place what variables and controls they will use. Most sociologists that use this method go for the cause and effect aspect of society. These sociologists try putting aside their beliefs and attitudes to keep them from interfering with their results which is called objectivity (34). The limitations to this method are: 1. Human behavior is too complex for sociologists to predict any individual’s actions precisely. 2. Because humans respond to their surroundings, the presence of a researcher may affect the behavior being studied. 3. Social patterns vary; what is true in one time or place may not hold true to another. 4. Because sociologists are a part of the social world they study, they can never be 100 percent value-free when conducting social research. (Macionis 35) This method is still used widely in current day society and sociologists use replication to try to limit these issues from happening too often.

The approach that best describes Weber’s work in the study of sociology is the interpretive sociology. This method is based on people’s understandings of...

Cited: Macionis, John J. Sociology. 13th Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall. 2010.
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