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Outline and evaluate the usefulness of adopting a scientific approach to the study of sociology.

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Introduction

David Rowley Outline and evaluate the usefulness of adopting a scientific approach to the study of sociology First we need to now what science is: science is having a theory. And be collecting data through empirical means and being able to test it, while being objective. From that you would think that adopting a scientific approach to the study of sociology would be useful, while anti-positivists would argue that it is useful, but impossible. Anti-positivists/ Interpretivists reject the scientific method and believe it is impossible to use it on human society because it is impossible to avoid using values. Scientific approaches are also used in natural sciences like chemistry, biology, and they use the hypothetico-deductive method, and so it was used by Comte and Durkheim because it was the fashion of the time, but they altered this because they realised humans can not be studied in laboratories. So Durkheim can up with the comparative method, which involved collecting secondary data and dismissing laboratory experiments. Early sociologists such as Comte and Durkheim believed sociology should be a science of society and a lot of modern theories are based on adopting a scientific approach to sociology, such as Durkheim demonstrated on his work on suicide. ...read more.

Middle

Which would suggest science is not a useful approach to sociology because science does not fundamentally prove anything, but just comes across important pieces of research. More evidence to show that adopting a scientific approach to sociology doesn't work is research by scientists such as Darwin, who ignored gaps in fossil evidence on evolution. Sir Cyril Burt who was the psychologist responsible for the idea that children can be selected at 11 for particular types of education- has been accused of falsifying his research. So the scientific approach can not even be objective so how can it be value free, and sociology needs objective and value free research if it going to make assumptions about society. Realists such as Bhasker and Sayer suggest that both natural and social science is possible. They believe that scientists have a job to uncover and explain they believe careful methodology is the answer. An alternative approach to sociology could be through the methodology, rather than using scientific approaches such as questionnaires. You could use the interpertivist approach of research such as observation, interviews. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is generally accepted that the values and subjectivity are an unavoidable part of the research process. Merely to choose a topic to study is to attach importance to it. But recognising the influence of subjectivity does not mean we must abandon objectivity. This remains an ideal which sociologists strive for in a variety of ways- either by adopting scientific procedures, by declaring one's own values, or treating the world as an alien might. Once published, however, any piece of sociological research becomes property of scrutiny for many years. So by adopting a scientific approach to the study of sociology. We can get an alternative approach to the anti-positivist study of sociology, therefore positivists can collect empirical data that can easily be tested and concluded from. And these studies can easily be re-tested or manipulated in different ways to see how it affects the out-come, and are more reliable than non-scientific approaches. And so adopting a scientific approach to sociology can be useful. Although it can be heavily criticised for not being value free or objective, but as long as sociologist scientists strive towards being value free and being objective their work can not be ignored. ...read more.

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