- Pages: 6
- Word count: 1353
- Category: Sociology
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It has been a long time debate of whether sociology should be considered as a science or not. Before I go into any discussion, I will briefly define sociology and its origin and science for purposes of a better understanding.
Sociology is the systematic study of human in the society. It gives us evidence and explanation of how the society works the actions of individuals as social actors and agents operating in the social world trying to understand how the world operates through investigating how social structures and relationships develop, how they persist and how they change. Sociology hence is too complex and no wonders there are conflicts of views amongst sociologists. Natural science by contrasts tries to bury controversy and implies its orthodox explanation. It deals with scientific ways of dealing with individuals.
Sociology originated or has its roots in the works of political and social philosophers of classical Europe like Russell Hobbes, john Lockle, J.J. Rosseul and the enlightenment period of 8th century. Enlightenment period was an intellectual movement developed within 1869 English revolution and 1789 French revolution.
Science is a branch of study that is concerned with discoveries and organizing principles, facts and methods. Natural sciences thus include physics, biology, and astronomy studies. So with the above introduction, I consider sociology to be a science which normally is referred to by sociologists as a natural science.
Sociology has its recent origin in the intellectual aspirations and social upheavals of the 19th century. This foundation is attributed to Auguste Conte 1798-1857 who termed sociology to mean the scientific study of the society. He felt that a since based on experimentation and open testing was the only form of human knowledge hence devoted sociology as the study of social facts.
In sociology, human minds give up the search for absolute causes and try to study laws that govern natural phenomena. Sociology is also based on the idea of natural evolution law and all aspects of the universe are subjects to the laws of evolution.
Sociology involves various disciplines considered as sciences. For instance, economics is the discipline that that deals with the consumption, production and distribution of goods and services both material and non material having an exchange value. Therefore, it is concerned with inputs of land, labour, capital, and managerial skills into a system.
In the political science field, politicians have been concerned with the government that is with formal origins of power. Power here is a dimension in any human relationship, so political scientists may investigate informal and non-legal in their power aspects in the family through business relationships, recreation and religious activities.
Sociology knowledge is limited when it comes to public issues and it does not always yield the correct information and a lot of assumptions are under taken during a research. In our study case where a questionnaire is used and it has its own limits of yielding the actual facts.
This is because sociologists believe that reality consists of issues that are connected to each other and which can only be established through observing and recording them. In addition a sociologist’ believes that man has conscious and he constructs meaning to a given situation with him as an actor. This lacks scientific basis though in our case study the only basis for the results delivered is the students’ perceptions where the checklist was used. The attitude of the participants towards the sexual acts is the one that determined the kind of data that was collected.
That was direct observation here in the case study because a questionnaire was used. On a section of students. This problem is sociology knowledge when it comes to collecting public issues. A case study is used to generalize findings beyond the single case. This is negative point because a problem like this one in this study might be rampant in one area and rare in another.
Sociological knowledge varies with situations, some of the results arrived at can be manipulated by the present situation for psychological reason. Sometimes the person may lie or fail to understand the questionnaire well and end up giving incorrect answers. In another case, it can involve a sociologist getting involved in an activity such a traditional life under study with a view of understanding it. This has made some discovery that it is not amenable to standardization of its methods and therefore it is less reliable and less valid.
At times sociologists have tried to combine various method in order to get the required data in a public issue for instance in our case study here there is a questionnaire as well as an interview so as to dig more information from the participants. This makes it time consuming as the sociologists use various ways to search for information from the participants. Even though these two, techniques are related and applicable in the survey method.
Sociological knowledge lacks a specified hypothesis on variables which makes clear its own perceptions towards a given problem.
In our case study here even though the figures reached at do not vary much, the case variables used could be limiting in establishing the scope of unwanted sexual behaviour depending on the perceptions of a particular society. Generalizing the findings creates a problem because public opinions on given topic differs from one society to another.
If being said to be a gay or lesbian in one society is unwanted sexual behaviour, it may not necessarily mean it is not applicable across the findings because this is not unwanted sexual behaviour in a gay or lesbian community. Also personal interpretations about certain behaviour is showing a problem in the sociological knowledge in interpreting what is wrong or right in a given public issue.
Sociologists have to pick the mode of research carefully to counter this problem. The purpose for which a research is undertaken can be the basis for classification. These are four types:
- Descriptive studies research: it can be used on a study that sets out to describe a phenomenon or describe its attributes and characteristics. It has limiting problem in that it can only work for the immediate subject and cannot go beyond it.
- Analytical studies research: it is applied where the researcher intends to establish causes or associations between one event or one variable and another. for instance in our case study analytical research is applied where there is variables of unwanted served behaviour is used against the level of the attitude of the students. It involves making a lot of assumptions because the sociologist relies on the opinion of the participant.
- Exploratory studies research: it is a research that attempts to find out or establish certain facts relating to a phenomenon or an event and it seeks to establish preliminary information about an object.
These three studies do not make a conclusive research on a public issue and so interviews do accompany them in addition to questionnaires. Sociologists also combine several modes of study which do not contradict each other in an effort to solve this problem.
Sociologists not only face limits in their work due to the knowledge they have regarding their subjects but also due to other external hindrances like having information being withheld from them or getting the wrong information from the interviewees.
This is also because at times sociology knowledge against the social frameworks who feel threatened by the sociology concepts.
Also the society is the major field of study by the sociologist but it changes too often. It is too radical and the sociologists’ studies on the public issues are affected by this.
Dr Robert Cialdini, (2003), “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”
Kevin Hogan, (1998), “The Psychology of Persuasion: How to Persuade Others to Your Way of Thinking”
Dr. William Rogers, (2000), “Persuasion: Messages, Receivers, and Contexts”
Dr. Garth et al, (2004), “Propaganda and Persuasion (4th edition)”
Daniel O’Keefe, (2006), “Persuasion: Theory and Research”