Soxciology for Dummies (2)   no comments

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What sociologists do

1)      Empirical Research: using data collected by the various methods we described before sociologists use statistical analysis to draw conclusions about social class, gender inequality etc.

2)      Theorists:  these sociologists try to develop an understanding and context for the empirical research.  To theorise qualitative methods of research are employed and the social theorists paints a picture which explains why the world is the way it is.

3)      Critics:  this type of sociologist criticise common sense views of the world and carefully dissect social norms which are taken for granted.

4)      Educators: they provide students, governments, corporations with information and advice about human interaction, in particular these types of sociologists are found in the media and they try to drive change.

There are several other roles which a sociologist might take and they often assume different combinations of the four roles described above.

Limitations of Sociology

Sociology is the study of human interaction and society, but human interactions and society are part of a changing evolving world.  Furthermore a sociologist studies a moving target, any finding as part of some empirical research or a theory may only be relevant for a limited time. 

Also, however hard they try; sociologists cannot look on the world objectively.  Part of the study of the social is the study of you, thus it is hard to part with the preconceptions about society which we are born with.  For example, on a very basic level, it is unlikely for a Chinese and an American sociologist to share a similar theoretical approach.

Another limitation is that social knowledge or theory is fed back into society and then will affect that society.  For example, evidence that crime rates are soaring makes the population more aware of crime so they report more crimes; a recursive process.

Written by dm1x07 on November 22nd, 2011

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