Three Ways of doing Sociology

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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 their actions and surroundings not on what they do. Reality is subjective in this method. Sociologists that use this method find it more important to base their results on interacting with others and making sense of their everyday life (36). Marx’s work is best described as the critical sociology way of exploring society. In this approach sociologists focus on the social need for change (36). They ask moral and political questions and try to change society to fit into their mold of what it should be. They do not use the objectivity rule as much in this approach. It is always trying to show how society should be improved and changed to match their beliefs and morals (37). A similarity in all three is that they are studying how society works and why it works the way it does. I honestly have looked at society from all three points view since studying this more. I personally tend to gravitate towards the interpretive approach as most of us do I am sure. It is so easy to look at society and depending on their actions show the meanings people attach to their world. To reiterate the three ways to approach sociology are positivist, interpretive and critical. They each have their strong points and their faults it really depends on what you really want to study about society and peoples social behavior on which you choose to use. Works Cited Macionis, John J. Sociology. 13th Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall. 2010. Three

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