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Comparing Weber's and Durkheim's Methodological Contributions to Sociology

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Comparing Weber's and Durkheim's Methodological Contributions to Sociology


This essay will be examining the methodological contributions both
Durkheim and Weber have provided to sociology. It will briefly observe
what Positivists are and how their methodologies influence and affect
their research. It will also consider what interpretative sociology
is, and why their type of methodology is used when carrying out
research. It will analyse both Durkheim's study of Suicide and also
Webers study of The Protestant work ethic, and hopefully establish how
each methodology was used for each particular piece of research, and
why.

Emile Durkhiem, in sociology terminology is considered to be a
Functionalist, in addition to also being a Positivist, however,
strictly speaking, Durkheim was not a Positivist. This is because he
did not follow the positivist rule that states that sociological study
should be confined to observable or directly measurable phenomena.

Functionalists believe that in order for society to function
correctly, there need to be shared values to help maintain social
order. Society is viewed as a stable, orderly system. This stable
system is in equilibrium and reflects societal consensus where the
majority of members share a common set of values, beliefs, and social
expectations. Functionalists also believe that society consists of
interrelated parts; each part serves a function and contributes to the
stability of the society.

Positivists believe that as a science, sociology can be objective and
value-free. Disinterested scientific observers shouldn't and don't
necessarily introduce bias into the research process. ...


... middle of paper ...


...our different types of suicide, and
that most suicides can fall into one of those categories. Although
sociologists like J.D. Douglas would question the reliability of the
statistics, due to the coroners decision being final, most
sociologists would agree that Durkheim's study into suicide was
successful, and indeed many have tried to develop and improve on his
theory. Overall, this essay has shown that one type of methodology may
not always be suitable for the particular research carried out. Both
Interpretative sociology and the Positivist approach equally show that
they are valid methods for carrying out research, but like everything,
nothing is one hundred percent accurate. Therefore, there is always
room for flaw, but in the study of Sociology, there is always room for
more ways of obtaining and interpreting data.


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