This essay sample on Sociology Assignment Sample provides all necessary basic information on this matter, including the most common “for and against” arguments. Below are the introduction, body and conclusion parts of this essay.
1. Summarize the contributions of Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, and Karl Marx to the field of sociology. Be sure to note any theoretical differences they may have had with one another.Emile Durkheim reinforced the social method and asserted that the social reality/environment can be studied objectively and empirically.
Durkheim through his social facts was able to lay down the foundation for empirical sociology; not to mention his assertion of collective consciousness which is termed as culture.Max Weber is considered to be one of the most influential figures in establishing sociology as an academic discipline. He advocated the need for objectivity in the methodology of analyzing the social world which he saw as multi-layered and whose relations are interdependent. He introduced the concept of ideal types as a basis for the comparative analysis of societies.
Karl Marx placed an emphasis on the economic and materialistic view of history and the structure of society. He grounded his ideas on the assertion that economic institutions are prevailing structures from which the rest of society is built on (superstructure). Weber opposed this Marxian conception of history which attempted to put into center the position of economics as the cause and mover.2. Explain the similarities and difference between the three major sociological perspectives of structural functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism.
Identify which perspectives use a macro-level and a micro-level of analysis.Structural functionalism centers on the structural form of the society by further analyzing the social functions that govern/cause these structures in place. Given its focus and the emphasis on the normative and social systems; it conducts itself in the macro-level of analysis.Conflict theory on the other hand sees individuals in society as promoting their own self-interest and advantage thus leading to a clash with others. It is a theory grounded on seeing human being as competitive and it is the latter that causes social change. We could view this as following from the dialectic established by Marx. The Conflict theory operates too in the macro-level.Symbolic Interactionism values and studies the self and how the individual creates meanings in social relations. It is far more qualitative in approach and belongs in the micro-level of analysis. It takes into account the interactions and the interpretations of former mentioned by the actual participants.Structural functionalism and Conflict theory are somewhat opposing poles, perhaps due to the fact that both renders perspective at a macro-level of analysis. Durkheim is taken to be one of the influences of Structural functionalism thus it comes as no surprise that the consensus and collective agreement of functions arise. Marxian thought laid the premise from which the conflict theory operates. As such one sees society as building on function that blends and works—people have roles, and play the parts available in a particular society. Conflict theory disagrees with this and sees social groups and classes as opposing each other that makes a society evolve.Describe what C. Wright Mills meant by the term sociological imagination.C. Wright Mills explicated the term ‘sociological imagination’ to refer to the capacity of individuals to connect their seemingly personal lives and issues at a social level including the historical forces as influential in their personhood and experiences even if these factors are seemingly remote/alien (Mills, 1959). They connect the private with the public in such a way that one’s dilemma is viewed within the domain of society itself. A poor man sees himself as not alone but as part of a poverty stricken group and could point at social institution as the source of their plights.4. Discuss what separates sociology from common sense. Be sure to give examples of how sociological research might dispel commonly accepted views.Commonly accepted views lack empirical groundings and are often opinion driven. There is always the higher probability of resorting to hasty generalization and being flawed in one’s assumptions if we only rely on common sense. Sociology studies the social reality and the phenomena that constitute it and may affirm validly or disprove entirely common sense beliefs and notions of how the social world works.One may take for example a particular held belief regarding the media, employing a sociological approach we don’t make mere guesses and everyday assumptions that put into objective scrutiny the influences of the media and/or if our belief is correct. Another point would be the misunderstanding of western states regarding certain tribal practices, west scholars have been quick to judge in the past that these tribes are unstructured and uncivilized albeit, after sociological approaches have been furthered there is a perspective that exist viewing the difference of culture as an important factor and both valid world-views.5. Describe the similarities and differences between conflict theory and the feminist perspective.The Conflict Theory and Feminist perspective shares in common the view of society as having opposing groups. Although it must be noted that feminists would utilize the conflict theory into various strands that results to a variation as to what constitutes the groups in conflict. A Marxist feminist would share the most similarities with the social conflict theory in the sense that it accepts the root of gender oppression as economic and the clash of the proletariat and bourgeoisie towards a revolution is necessary in order to liberate women. In the generic sense feminist perspective may see the battle of two sexes as a conflict, but can also view the conflict as an opposition of a patriarchal system vs. the person specifically the woman.6. Define the term scientific method and the five basic steps used in the scientific method.The scientific method is used as a form of investigation regarding a scientific (social/natural) problem in an empirical manner (Scientific method, 2007). It is a method employed by scientist in order to warrant objectivity and validity. It is most basic sense the scientific method has five steps of inquiry: 1.) identify the problem, 2.) formulating the hypothesis; 3.) observation and data gathering 4.) Testing the hypothesis and data availed and 5.) analysis and conclusion. It must be noted that the scientific method is far easier to employ in the natural sciences compared to the social sciences.7. Describe the various types of research designs and discuss the strengths and weakness of each design. Which type of research design is most commonly used by researchers, and which type of research design is the least reliable?The Survey design uses a usually random pen-paper. Question and answer method that is usually employed by sociologists. It aims as objectively gathering data that pertains to how a particular group would view something or how relations are deemed by participants. There are critiques to its capacity to be truly objective plus the issue of being cost and time inefficient. There is also the problem of complex behaviors as not being captured in surveys. The strength of survey design would be its dealing with actual conditions.The field study design constitutes direct participation and observation of the researcher within the environment and with the subjects. There are strengths in terms of external validity; there is better probability of getting natural and unconditioned responses. It is criticized in terms of internal validity as well as the tendency for subjectivity.Historical research is the least reliable in the sense that it attempts to root its approach in original data and patterns. Sociologists themselves are critical regarding utilizing this design. The experimental design sets various conditions artificially and the sociologist less uses it as a method due to its control over variables. The latter is preferred by psychologists.8. Discuss how a researcher might select a random sample of subjects for a research study. Which sample selection methods should researchers use and which methods should be avoided?A researcher may employ probability sampling that includes assuring that each group in the environment studied would be included in the selection in order to guarantee equal representation. Another random form of sampling is the simple form wherein a researcher would literally randomly pick a subject belonging in the social phenomena. As much as possible researchers should avoid picking subjects that are belonging to a particular group alone in order to guarantee objectivity,9. Discuss the issue of ethics and social research. Give examples to support how research could be harmful to human life.The ethical aspect of social research is raised whenever researchers employ the use of deception in order to guarantee the objectivity of the study. There is also the problem of social research left unchecked that becomes the basis for oppressing a particular set of members with in a society. It would be harmful if for example a gay man is unknowingly subjected to social research that would to a certain extent put him in a bad light. Invasion of privacy can also be an issue.10. Describe how the internet can be used to conduct social research. Is the Internet a good or bad place to conduct social research?The internet could be a potential place for conducting random surveys, via email or through an actual site. However, there is always the danger if the participant is being truthful since it is somewhat difficult to verify his/her identity. It would be convenient but possibly dubitable in terms of results.