Sociology studies society and social behavior

Sociology studies society and social behavior

Sociology studies society and social behavior through many different methods. The most popular methods are cross-cultural, survey, observational, experimental, case study and correlation. The survey method is the interviewing or giving questionnaires to a mass number of people. This data is then analyzed to learn about similarities, differences and trends among the selected group. This analysis can then be used to predict trends in the population. The philosophical justification for questionnaires is that it offers information that is the result of the subjects’ opinions of their reality.

The results of these surveys are used to gather data that is objective, discernible and measurable. The supporters of this research method believe that any information resulting from any other means must be forgone due to its inaccuracy (“Write Essay 3 Pages”, 2012). Advantages to this method include the convenience for the population, being able to reach a large group relatively inexpensively, as well as guaranteeing anonymity and encouraging truthful responses when mail-in surveys are used.

Disadvantages can include bias on both the part of the interviewer as well as the person being interviewed. Interviewers may inadvertently project their feelings on to the person they are interviewing. The people that are willing to be interviewed may respond differently than the people that are not willing to be interviewed. Another disadvantage is that people may distort their answers, or respond untruthfully. Cross-cultural research is formatted to show variations among different groups of people.

Most of this research involves direct observation, participant observation as well as surveys. Participant observation involves an observer to become part of their subjects’ community. A big advantage to this method is the ability to study the immunity fully and then analyze the information as it pertains to the social, religious, political and economic structure of the community. This research shows that what may be acceptable or normal in one society may not be in another (“Sociological Research: Designs, Methods”, 2014).

Cultural anthropology is the study of cultural variations among different groups of people. There are multiple methods involved in this study; including participatory, participatory action, life histories, reflexivity, participant observation, interviews and questionnaires, as well as observational methods. Life history is the collection of a person’s entire life experience, starting at childhood and moving through to the present. This is helpful so that the researcher can get a picture of the person’s life to study their personal experiences in the setting of their society.

By collecting multiple life histories the researcher can achieve a better understanding of the culture they are studying. Participatory action research requires a community to commit to a change. This occurs through a five step process; education on the process, collective investigation, collective interpretation, collective action and transformation. This research is performed by members of the community. It is usually instigated by some situation that has arisen in the community. They are motivated to work on the situation and already have a significant connection to the community.

This process allows constant reevaluation and change to occur. The community can then develop healthy patterns without outside interference (“Cultural Anthropology/ Anthropological Methods, 2014”). The philosophical justification for this method is that the community is participating, analyzing and working to fix their own community without help from outsiders. Sociology is the scientific study of humanity using statistics and graphs with quantitative results while anthropology looks more for predominant themes between cultures.

There are many similarities between research methods for sociological and anthropological research. The study of life history is similar to the sociological study using surveys and questionnaires in the way that they are asking people to answer questions about their lives, and values to determine how their community has helped shaped them. They’re different in the way that the life histories are much more in depth, and in the surveys here is more room for deception as well as influence from the interviewer among the answers.

Cross culture research and participatory action approach are similar in that they both study the culture from an inside perspective. Though in cross culture research the researcher becomes involved in the community to gather the information; whereas in the participatory action approach it is a member of the community doing the analyzing for a specific reason.

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