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Data which is presented as statistical data or numerical is described as  being a Quantitative method . Sociologist, among others will contend that  quantitative method , like questionnaire and others would better be suited to  undergo the rigours of sociological research. This is so because of the  advantages that they hold. However, in contrast sociologist would disagree  with this statement.                 Quantitative methods , such as questionnaires, structured interviews and  official statistics has advantages that would prove to be more efficient. In  sociology, for a research to be valid r carried out effectively, the data  collected must be objective. This view is supported by the positivist, Emile  Durkheim and auguste Comte. Quantitative methods collect empirical data which  further means that data being collected is objective. Empirical data is  statistical, anything dealing with numbers and if the data being collected is  numerical it suggest that the method used was unbiased. Also quantitative  methods are nothing cognitive, as cognitive information cannot be measured or  understood. Also cognitive data would be studying the perception and not  exactly what is happening.                 It is argued that in quantitative methods , the researcher is detached from  the study and is not influenced by his personal belief. Therefore the  information would not be flawed, because the researcher would just say  what’s happening and would not have his personal views. This would have  resulted from the empirical data collected. For example, a researcher who is  doing a research on: why are students in Jane brown High school prone to  violence. The research her would practice observable phenomena and report  what she sees and not what she thinks the individual is thinking.                 Furthermore, quantitative research methods are easily replicable. This  means that the data/information collected will always be the same years after  the research was conducted. However, new information or knowledge can be  added to what is already there because it is accumulative. No matter how long  the research was conducted it will always remain the same because numbers  cannot change, but an explanation can. This makes quantitative methods one of  the preferred methods . In coherence, quantitative research methods   facilitates theory formulation, this is so as a large amount of data is  collected that the researcher is used to formulate theories that seek to  explain social phenomena.                 Other reasons why quantitative methods would be better suited is that it  saves the researcher time and money, which means that the researcher would  not have to spend a lot of time on the research as it will directly get to  the point.                 Nevertheless, some sociologist would disagree with the fact that  quantitative methods would be best suited because no method in sociology,  they say can be objective. One disadvantage of using quantitative method is  that there is no indication about the respondents’ personal state of mind,  for example, mood, attitude or feelings. Weber in his theory contend that in  sociology, any research being conducted the researcher must practice  verstehen. Verstehen is subjective, this, there is no objectivity in  sociology researchers. This would therefore mean that quantitative methods   are not best suited for sociological research. Weber contends that a  researcher must be attached to the research such that verstehen is practiced;  this would involve the placing of oneself in the respondents’ shoes. He  further states that through thus process, the researcher will be able to  understand the actions and the meaning behind them.                 Additionally, Atkinson and Cicourel believe that other methods such as  qualitative research methods would have a better advantage over quantitative  methods . This is so because they also believe like Weber that there is no  objectivity in any sociological research. Atkinson and Cicourel posit this  view because even with the statistical data collected through the  quantitative method the information gathered id subjective. The statistical  data is influence by the perception of the person collating and analyzing the  data.                 Qualitative methods would be best suited for sociological researches  because they provide explanation and look beyond the numbers. The  interpretive theorist believe that the study of humans is complex, because  humans have consciousness and consciousness fluctuates and will not always  remain in the same manner to external stimuli, and the is no universal law of  human behaviour.                 Analyzing the statement from both views, quantitative methods would be best  suited to undergo the rigours of sociological research to an extent and then  there is the other view that qualitative methods would be better because of  its subjectivity which is best for sociological researches.

Sociology is a discipline that has been the subject of debate within the social sciences about whether it can be considered a science or not. While some scholars argue that sociology is a science due to its use of empirical evidence and scientific methods to study social phenomena, others argue that it is not a science because social phenomena are inherently complex and difficult to measure. This essay will evaluate the major positions in this debate, providing a more detailed definition of science, exploring the limitations and challenges of using scientific methods in sociology, and using a wider range of academic sources to support the arguments.

One of the main arguments for sociology as a science is its use of empirical evidence and scientific methods. The positivist perspective, which sees sociology as a hard science like physics or chemistry, argues that sociology should use the same methods as natural sciences, such as experiments and quantitative surveys, to generate reliable and valid data. For example, Durkheim's study of suicide used statistical methods to demonstrate the relationship between social factors and suicide rates. However, critics argue that such methods are limited in their ability to capture the complexity of social phenomena, and may be subject to issues of reliability, validity, and generalizability.

Another argument for sociology as a science is its ability to generate testable hypotheses and theories. According to the falsificationist perspective, sociology should generate hypotheses that can be tested through empirical evidence, with theories that have been falsified by data being discarded. For example, Merton's strain theory of deviance was based on the hypothesis that individuals who experience strain are more likely to engage in deviant behavior. However, critics argue that such an approach neglects the role of interpretation and subjectivity in social research, and may overlook important aspects of social life that cannot be easily quantified.

On the other hand, some scholars argue that sociology is not a science because social phenomena are inherently complex and difficult to measure. The interpretive perspective, for example, argues that sociology should use qualitative methods such as participant observation and interviews to understand the meanings that individuals attach to their experiences. For example, Bourdieu's study of cultural capital demonstrated how social class and cultural background can influence an individual's taste in art and culture. However, critics argue that such methods may lack objectivity and reliability, and may be subject to the researcher's biases and interpretations.

Despite these debates, it is important to recognize that both quantitative and qualitative methods have their strengths and weaknesses. For example, Hochschild's study of emotion management in airline flight attendants used a mixed-methods approach to explore the complex and often contradictory emotions that attendants experienced on the job. By using both quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews, Hochschild was able to capture both the objective and subjective aspects of the attendants' experiences. This demonstrates that a mixed-methods approach can provide a more comprehensive understanding of the social world.

In conclusion, while the debate surrounding sociology as a science is ongoing, it is clear that there are both strengths and limitations to using scientific methods in sociology. While sociology may not be a hard science like physics or chemistry, it is still a valuable tool for understanding society and making informed decisions about social policies. Therefore, it is important to continue the debate surrounding the nature of sociology and to develop new research methods that can address the complexities of the social world. By doing so, we can continue to advance our understanding of society and contribute to the development of more effective social policies.

Discuss the similarities and differences between Conflict/Marxist theories and Functionalist theories in sociology. [25 marks] 2004


Sociology is a field of study that attempts to understand human society and social behavior. It is a broad discipline with several theoretical perspectives, two of which are Conflict/Marxist theories and Functionalist theories. These two theories attempt to explain social phenomena, but they differ in their assumptions and explanations. This essay discusses the similarities and differences between Conflict/Marxist theories and Functionalist theories in sociology.

Similarities between Conflict/Marxist theories and Functionalist theories

Both Conflict/Marxist theories and Functionalist theories recognize the importance of social structures in shaping society. They acknowledge that institutions, such as the family, government, education, and the economy, play a crucial role in creating and maintaining social order. Additionally, both theories attempt to explain the dynamics of social order and change. They are concerned with how societies maintain stability and the factors that lead to social change.

Differences between Conflict/Marxist theories and Functionalist theories

Conflict/Marxist theories focus on social inequality and the struggle for power and resources. They argue that society is divided into classes, and the struggle for power and resources between these classes is the primary cause of social change. Functionalist theories, on the other hand, emphasize social harmony and the maintenance of social order. They argue that society is like a biological organism, with different parts working together to maintain stability and equilibrium.

Conflict/Marxist theories view society as inherently unstable and in constant conflict, while Functionalist theories view society as stable and well-functioning. Conflict/Marxist theories are critical of the status quo and focus on the ways in which society is unequal and oppressive. Functionalist theories, however, are more accepting of the status quo and view social inequality as a necessary component of society.

Examples of Conflict/Marxist and Functionalist theories in action

An example of Conflict/Marxist theory in action is the struggle for workers' rights. Conflict/Marxist theorists argue that workers are oppressed by capitalists who control the means of production and exploit their labor. The workers' struggle for better wages and working conditions is a response to this oppression. An example of Functionalist theory in action is the importance of social norms in maintaining order. Functionalist theorists argue that social norms, such as laws and customs, are necessary for social order and that individuals who violate these norms are punished to maintain social stability.

Criticisms of Conflict/Marxist and Functionalist theories

Critics of Conflict/Marxist theories argue that they oversimplify complex social phenomena and do not pay enough attention to individual agency. Critics of Functionalist theories argue that they fail to account for social inequality and the inability to explain social change adequately.

In conclusion, Conflict/Marxist theories and Functionalist theories are two different theoretical perspectives in sociology. Although they share some similarities, they differ in their assumptions and explanations. Conflict/Marxist theories focus on social inequality and the struggle for power and resources, while Functionalist theories emphasize social harmony and the maintenance of social order. These theories provide a framework for understanding society and social behavior, but they also have their limitations and criticisms. Nonetheless, they remain relevant and continue to shape sociological research and thinking.

Question: Assess the extent to which a longitudinal approach is useful for the study of either HIV/AIDS or teenage pregnancy in the Caribbean. Unit & Module: Unit 1 Module 1 - Sociology, Culture & Identity Year: 2009 Essay: A longitudinal design is the study of one group over a period of time noting change and continuity. In this essay, the writer shall discuss the practicality of the longitudinal design in studying HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean. Longitudinal designs or approaches aim to study a particular group and monitor it over a specific period of time. The goal is to notice and document any changes, developments or actions which continuously occur. This approach would be appropriate for studying HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean. The target group in this study would be persons who have either virus, paying attention to how the virus progresses and affects them and their bodies. HIV/AIDS are viruses who attack the human body. Persons who contract these viruses usually start off with a cold/flu virus which eventually transforms into more than that. After that stage, the virus then attacks the immune system of the host. These viruses are initially mild and further progress into a life-threatening illness. Therefore, because of the nature of a longitudinal design, it would be the perfect approach in carrying out a study like this. In using this design, the researcher should monitor the hosts of the viruses as they go through each stage. Longitudinal designs also aim to give information on cause and effect relationships. So, this approach could pay much attention to the effects on the body caused by the virus, for example, deterioration in the condition and of the body itself. Overall, this approach is the most appropriate to investigate such a study. A longitudinal design is not the only data collection method that can be utilized but can arguably be the best one. This study could be conducted with the use of a questionnaire distributed to persons who have contracted the viruses but it could be more time consuming and less cost-effective to do such. The study could also be conducted using interviews but if conducted using that method, it could take extremely long. A longitudinal design unlike a questionnaire or an interview can study the entire target group at one time thus making the research process less tedious. In conclusion, a longitudinal approach can be seen as the most useful data collection method to carry out a study on HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean due to its characteristics and process. It is more cost-effective and less time consuming than a questionnaire or interviews would be in this study.

Question: It is becoming evidently clear that the family is no longer in the main agent of socialization in society. Discuss. Unit & Module: Unit 1 Module 1 - Sociology, Culture & Identity Year: N/A Essay: Socialization is the process of learning the culture of one’s society. Giddens stated that it is through the process of socialization that people become members of society, thereby learning acceptable behaviors and becoming skilled in the ways of their culture. Durkheim believes that socialization is important as it lets individuals know what is expected of them and it also constrains behaviour. Maconis (2007) states that socialization is an important ingredient for personality development. This can be seen in Davis’ case with Anna and Isabelle, who were isolated from the rest of society, from birth to age six. Upon being found, they were unable to speak, unresponsive and incapable of functioning properly. Socialization thus aids in forming our personalities and also avoids punishment in society. Socialization first begins with the family. This is referred to as primary socialization. This essay will discuss the role of the family in socialization, highlighting the reasons why family is no longer the main agent of socialization and identifying other agents of socialization. To begin, the family was essentially the main agent of socialization. They contribute to primary socialization, which takes place from birth, teaching individuals the culture of society. In our early life, the family is very important in shaping our ideas, beliefs, and behaviour. According to Murdock, the family plays important roles in society. These roles include, socializing children into the culture of society, reproducing the next generation, providing the basic needs and aiding in companionship and gratification. In addition, functionalism sees that the family is a universal social institution in society that takes care of the needs of society. Hubert Spencer suggests that society is just like an organism. The organism consists of different parts, which contribute to equilibrium and the wellbeing of this organism. Similarly, the family is the “different parts” in society, that maintain order in society. Each part function to meet Parson’s functional prerequisites. The integration of the various parts, that is, the different roles in the family, provides consensus and patterned relationships. Additionally, although the family is seen as “the cornerstone in society” and provides the means of primary socialization, there are various factors contributing to its decline as the main agent. Through primary socialization, individuals have developed negative attitudes. This is evident as social issues are usually traced back to the family as the source. This is because family is portrayed as the “building blocks” of society. The family has also broken down due to job opportunities. This has led to mothers, whose traditional role was to socialize the children, now working and staying longer periods, away from the home. Due to the lack of the family as the agent of primary socialization, individuals now utilize other agents as they interact with new groups, thus promoting, secondary socialization. Furthermore, solutions for the decline of the family as the main agent includes; the use of new agents, anticipatory socialization and resocialization. Other agents of socialization include school, religious institutions, peers, the media and the community. These agents contribute to secondary socialization, as the individuals interact with other groups, apart from the family. These agents also aid in the resocialization of individuals, where they reinforce the values and beliefs of society. These agents may also play a role in anticipatory socialization, where individuals deliberately seek help to socialize them into the expected behaviour. Religious intuitions are an example of an agent who contributes to anticipatory socialization. However, it must be noted that just like the family, all agents are flawed. For example, religious institutions portray certain activities like adultery in a negative manner to “boost family values”. Therefore, various agents which are not flawless, aid in secondary and anticipatory socialization, as well as resocialization of individuals. To conclude, the family was considered the main agent of socialization. According to functionalism, the family played numerous roles to ensure the transmission of values, norms, and beliefs in society, in an attempt to maintain consensus and stability in society. However, due to numerous factors such as interactions with new groups, the creation of alternatives and job opportunities, the family is no longer the main agent, and there are now other agents who contribute to secondary socialization. These agents include school, religious institutions, peers, the media and the community. These agents although they have flaws, also play an important role in the socialization of individuals.

Question: Within the social sciences, there is a debate about whether sociology is a science or not. Evaluate the major positions in this debate.

A popular debate in sociology concerns whether sociology should be studied as a science or not. Science is defined as the use of systematic methods of research and investigation and the logical analysis of arguments in order to develop an understanding of a particular subject matter. The sociologists that claim it is a science are known as positivists. Those that dispute their viewpoint are known as interpretivists, who suggest that society cannot be measured and oversimplified into a mere thing to be studied. Within this essay, the major arguments made for each viewpoint will be discussed as well as an evaluation of each position on this debate. Positivism is a sociological tradition stating that human behaviour within society can be studied using the same procedures and methods employed in studying natural sciences. Those methods include observation and multivariate analysis as noted by Nasser Mustapha 2009. This tradition was founded by French sociologist Auguste Comte. Comte advanced his theory of positivism by furthering his belief that human behaviour was controlled in the same way that matter was constricted. Positivists adhere to their claim that sociology possesses certain features that allows it to be identified as a science. They make the claim that sociology is theoretical, meaning that data is obtained by research and utilized in formulating theories. This can be seen as sociologists may employ different approaches in order to study the same phenomena and can be related to scientists also utilizing various approaches in order to study the same matter. Sociology can be said to have both a cumulative and a value free nature. Sociology’s cumulative nature means that sociologists are able to develop and refine the older theories established by their predecessors. For example, Emile Durkheim expanded on Herbert Spencer’s idea that society can be viewed as an organism. This concept is similar to that of scientific studies which over time has disputed and modified theories as time has developed. Positivists also hold the view that similar to studying natural sciences; sociology is value-free, meaning it is merely reported without any of the researcher’s moral conclusions on social life. Due to their beliefs, positivists utilize quantitative methods in acquiring information. Quantitative research methods involve statistics and numerical data which ensure that it is easy to quantify and is a reliable source of data. Max Weber, a German sociologist, opposed Comte’s theory that sociology should and can be studied as a natural science. This perspective is known as Interpretivism and is the other tradition of the study of sociology as noted by Mustapha. Interpretivists mainly oppose positivism as it simplifies society to be studied as a single thing. They view human behaviour as something that cannot be measured because it is based on emotions and feelings. Human behaviour also will differ depending on who they are interacting with. Interpretivists are also critical of their view that human behaviour is controlled and contained by the laws and norms of society. Due to this view, they adopt humanistic and subjective research methods referred to as qualitative methods in order to obtain data. Not all sociologists have agreed that sociology is a science and have made very strong cases to support their claims. Their main argument is that human behaviour changes based on several factors which include who exactly they are interacting with. Due to human behaviour being rather subjective (personal) makes it very difficult to study it as a being objective (detached). Alternatively, positivists have made a very strong argument for studying sociology as a natural science. They have linked many of its characteristics which make it very suitable to be considered a science.

Essay submitted by user shanique hayden General Comments on Essay:

1. The writer demonstrated a very good understanding to the subject matter - quatitative research methods vs qualitative research methods.

2. Good use of language and expression.

3. The writer did not cite sociologists, in the discussion/analysis phase of the essay, although their arguments/points of views on the strenghts of the quantitative research method was stated.

Mark out of 25

Knowledge & Understanding 6

Interpretation & Analysis 7

Synthesis and Evaluation 7

Total 20/25 Quantitative methods are better suited to undergo the rigours of sociological research. Discuss.     Quantitative research methods can be described as those methods employing the use of more scientific and numerical data. Quantitative research methods are predominantly used in the positivist approach to research and it was the method adopted by Emile Durkheim in his study on suicide. This research method is also deemed as reliable and practical.      Emile Durkheim did his study on suicide in nineteenth century. In conducting his study, he used the positivist approach which warrants the use of social facts, statistical data, correlations, causation, multivariate analysis and laws of human behaviour. Durkheim's research methodology was therefore quantitative. His quantitative method allowed him to make very good use of the statistical data available to him which helped to propel his theory. He used this statistical data to explain why the suicide rates among Roman Catholics and Protestants were either higher or lower than those of other groups. This data also enabled him to make a correlation between the suicide rates and the group with which it is associated. After making his correlations, he used multivariate analysis, which involves trying to isolate the effects of a particular independent variable upon the dependent variables, to isolate the most important variables and also to determine if there was a genuine causal relationship between these factors and suicide. The quantitative method proves to be better suite d in this situation as it would be difficult to obtain the information for the study using other means such as the qualitative method of research. This is due to the fact that the persons under study are d e ad and so would not be able to provide the information needed for the research. Therefore due to the method used it was easy for conclusions to be drawn about the situation based on data such as statistics that were available.      Quantitative research methods are deemed to be reliable. Reliability means that the study done can be replicated and the same results will be produced. Quantitative methods usually produce standardized data in a statistical form which makes it easy for the results to be repeated and checked.  On the other hand qualitative methods are seen as failing to meet the standards of reliability because the procedures used to collect data are often unsystematic, the results are hardly ever quantified and so there is no way that a qualitative study can be replicated and the reliability of the findings checked.      Practicality alludes to efficiency of the time and effort associated with the study. Quantitative methods are generally less time consuming and require less personal commitment when compared to the qualitative method. It is also possible to study larger and more representative samples which could provide a better understanding of the population under study. Qualitative methods however are less practical as they require a lot of time and most times the study has to be confined to a small group thus at times making the sample non-representative of the population under study and so accurate generalizations cannot be made.    To conclude qualitative method of research provides the research with the use of statistical data thus making it easier to study phenomenon where the direct individuals under study are not available for interviews, for example suicide victims. This research method is also reliable and so other persons in the field of study can improve on the study or use the study to assist in another. The research method is also very practical which becomes useful when there is not a lot of time or resources and when the population size is quite large, thus requiring a large representative sample. However it must be noted that while quantitative methods are better suited for conducting some research in sociology, it is not suited for all and so the writer would like to conclude that quantitative methods are better suited to undergo some rigours of sociological research but not all.

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  1. Sociology Essays

    Example essay. Last modified: 12th Oct 2021. So our first solution is to see people as more complex, allowing us to better connect and empathize with others. This mindset could hopefully result in a more accepting attitude across political, social, and generational lines, mitigating the risk of one group's definition of the good old days acting ...

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    Unit & Module: Unit 1 Module 1 - Sociology, Culture & Identity Year: 2009 Essay: A longitudinal design is the study of one group over a period of time noting change and continuity. In this essay, the writer shall discuss the practicality of the longitudinal design in studying HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean.