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


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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