Discuss the view that sociology is more than just common sense.
Sociology is one of a group of subjects known as the social sciences. Sociologists focus on the study of certain aspects of human behaviour and create theories to explain the workings and patterns found in society. Yet human behaviour is something we all have experience and at least some knowledge about. In our daily lives, we rely on common sense to get us through many different situations, however while sometimes accurate, it is not reliable, as it’s based on beliefs and theories rather than statistics, evidence and facts.
Evidence of sociology has been found from as early as the 14th century in medieval Islam as well as ...view middle of the document...
Sociology is an evidence based subject which studies behaviour which can also be carried out by observation and experiments. The hypothetico-deductive method compares hypotheses against empirical evidence. However, any hypothesis can be proved false by just a single observation. For example; ‘strawberries are red’. Seeing just one black one proves the hypotheses wrong. ‘For knowledge to be scientific it must be able to be falsified by empirical testing and experimentation.’ Therefore the longer a theory has stood up to researches without being falsified, the more likely it is true.
Positivism applies the logic, methods and procedures of the natural sciences to the study of society with very little alteration. However, sociology does not always produce results that are as accurate and repeatable as those produced by natural scientists because sociologists are unable to control the variables in the circumstances they study but natural scientists are able to do so within their laboratories. Although many sociologists argue the procedures of the natural sciences can be applied to society as people are natural beings, showing that behaviour in social world is governed by laws in the same way as behaviour in a natural world. Durkheim suggests that a law is a social fact which shapes the way people act however, he argued that social facts such as customs, belief systems and social institutions should be considered as ‘things’ in a similar way as objects and events in the natural world. Also, people cannot do exactly as they wish without coming up against a range of social sanctions which limit the opportunities for antisocial behaviour.
Positivists use the hypothetico-deductive method as they believe human behaviour is a response to observable social situations and that social behaviour is determined and can be explained in terms of cause and effect relationships. They use the methodology of science as they base their results on direct observation, statistics and quantitative methods of data collection to study society. Sociologists focus on the causes of events in society. For example, Durkheim tried to find out the social reasons behind suicide in 1897. Positivists believe this can lead to a discovery of laws of human behaviour.
Interpretivists argue that the methods of natural sciences are unsuitable or insufficient for the study...