The first method is called positivist sociology, which is based on scientific study of human behavior. Researchers in this field discover facts through use of science, and base their findings on empirical evidence, which is information acquired by experimentation. Rather than interacting with subjects and forming connections, scientists who chose this practice focus more on observational experiments, observing behavior and gathering data based off of what they see. Rather than trying to find a meaning or trying to change the world, this focuses on more surface level facts and statistics, such as how the societal system operates. They don’t assign value to the people or things they are studying, but rather try to develop logical knowledge that they can put into practice from what they observe. Positivist sociologists believe that an objective reality exists, and use science to assess and criticize society in an un-biased experimental way.
The second method is ...
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...itical, or wants to focus more on scientific data may prefer positivism. All three methods are unique in the ways that the sociologist collects and applies the information they discover, but each approach is useful, depending on one’s goal as a sociologist.
It’s important for sociologists conducting research, and students of sociology especially, to understand all three approaches for learning about the social world, because a key component to sociology is not limiting one’s perspective. How can one have a complete, unbiased knowledge of sociology without experiencing, or at least learning about each research orientation? Sociologists may prefer one over the other due to their personal research goals and ways of life, however, a well-rounded perspective is key to grasping a full familiarity, and wider understanding of sociological research and sociology as a whole.
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