• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Theory and methods

Extracts from this document...


What can sociology contribute to an understanding of suicide? Sociology is the science of society; its techniques were created and developed by Comte and Durkheim. Sociology techniques have been applied to the social issue of suicide to try to find out the reasons behind certain groups and types of people commit suicide. The leading person into research about suicide is Emile Durkheim, he took Comte theoretic ideas about applying the natural science methods to find a positive science of society and create rules that he tested in his research into suicide around the world. Emile Durkheim performed a world-recognised piece of research into suicide in the late 18th century; in this research he applied the methods and rules of sociology that he developed in his first book 'The Rules of Sociology Methods'. The method he used to research into suicide was statistical secondary data in the form of official public statistics from around the world. This data suggested that suicide rates were influence by certain social factors and when an individual is exposed to them the end result maybe a death. Durkheim found that suicides rates variety from time to time and place to place. ...read more.


Sainbury found significant correlations between the London Boroughs suicide rates and certain characteristics, these characteristics are similar and can be viewed as the same two of the types of suicide identified by Durkheim in his suicide research. The first characteristic Sainbury found that contributes to a person attempting suicide was 'social isolation', which Sainbury measured by the proportion of people living alone and in boarding houses. This characteristic is similar to Durkheim second view on a type of people who commit suicide; Durkheim would use the term 'egoistic' to describe a person who is 'social isolation'. The second characteristic Sainbury found that contributes to a person attempting suicide was 'geographical and social mobility' he measured this by the turn of the proportion of immigrants. Durkheim would use the term 'anomic' to describe developments in geographical and social mobility. The third characteristic Sainbury found that contributes to a person attempting suicide was 'social disorganisation' he measured this disorganisation by looking into secondary data sources of rates of divorce and legitimacy. Durkheim would use the term 'anomic' to describe diversity and choice in society. Jack Douglas is a critic of Durkheim suicide research he claims that his suicide research was based on a variation in suicide rates. ...read more.


Taylor disagrees with the phenomenology claim that suicide is caused by social causes, but take the position of a realist and claims that to study and explain suicide rates research needs to be underlying, observable structures or causable process In 2004 Taylor criticised his own research method in his suicide research and claimed that case studies don't provide a representative sample of the whole society, and that when he was perform the examinations into these case studies he failed to investigate the movement from the immediate suicide to the immediate situation of the wider social contexts. Where Taylor believed he might have found the wider levels of causality of these suicides, and claims that his work was not sufficiently realist. In conclusion sociology methods can be used to find answers into issues that are usually difficult to research into, due to the high level of emotions involved in these cases. The leading researcher into suicide is that of the positivist Emile Durkheim, he was the first research to apply sociology methods to research into suicide. Durkheim uses of secondary public statistics has been widely criticised by fellow positivists, phenomenology and realist researchers, due their view that the 19 century statistics are unreliable and just assumptions made by the social powerful. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Positivism: "Love, Order, Progress" - Auguste Comte (1795 - 1857) and Emile Durkheim (1858 ...

    That is, we put the facts into some kind of temporal order and we also group the data according to its external characteristics. Comte seems to suggest that this is not that difficult but, in the case of this methodological prescription about resemblances, it is quite difficult.

  2. Sociology Investigation

    Pauline Wilson and Allan Kidd, Sociology for GCSE AIM: Do students of different age groups, who think that they are labelled, develop lower self esteem as a result of a given label? The research has shown that depending on the age and maturity of students their confidence increases or decreases.

  1. evaluation of methods

    certain factors but do not for others, but given the answer was YES. Therefore it means that these results are not very accurate. Nevertheless according to all my questions I think my results are good enough to prove/disprove my hypothesis and answer my questions in my aims.

  2. The following essay will use the ideas of Durkheim to construct my social biography ...

    Durkheim argued that society makes us who we are. He saw social change due to division of labour. Durkheim argued that in pre-industrial societies, strong tradition was the main societal influence (Kirby. 2000). He added that this tradition bound people together and termed this collective conscience. From this he concluded that people of the same social beliefs are part of mechanical solidarity.

  1. How successful was Durkheim in using the "Scientific method". In hindsight would you have ...

    He was impressed by the stability of suicide rates among different groups and in different places over time; if suicide was only about individual decisions, the pattern should be random (Discovering Suicide 1987 chapter 2 pg12). To prove his case, he collected statistics from several countries, and compared the incidence

  2. Are practical pressures the only factor shaping our choice of methods?

    They called this 'expectational advantage'. The same sorts of pressures occur in field experiments as observations. Ethical issues will often be raised; e.g., the teacher's effect on those pupils could influence the rest of the educational attainment which is very unfair to the unknowing pupil, but Rosenthal and Jacobson would

  1. Durkheim and the study of suicide

    He argues that to understand suicide sociologically we should examine the meaning of suicide for the participants-using diaries, suicide notes, psychiatrists notes and biographies.

  2. Systems of Sociology Theory based in the French Revolution era when Napoleon was defeated ...

    Moral order of society is intrinsically tied to two central aspects of society : SOLIDARITY (the achievement of cohesiveness and integration) and REGULATION (restraint above the pursuit of self interest).

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work