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Karl Marx brought forward the Conflict Theory. Conflict theory describes that a society will always have limited resources. While the residents of that society will always remain in a struggle to achieve those resources giving rise to perpetual conflict. Emile Durkheim wrote Social Solidarity Theory. In this theory, Durkheim explains the reason behind what holds a society and its people together. Durkheim said that rural societies are knitted together with shared values and beliefs. While in the urban societies residents are brought together due to interdependence. Max Weber gave the theory of Social Action. In this theory, Weber argues that any action that an individual might conduct will be influenced by the actions of those around them. Georg Simmel brought forward the theory of culture. According to Simmel, individuals in modern societies are mired in social functions chasing material good which results in damaging the human soul. W.E.B Du Bois wrote the theory of double consciousness. This theory explains the internal conflict that any subordinate group might experience within an oppressive society. Double consciousness theory suggests that social divisions exist in American culture.
Sociologists research a wide variety of topics of human behavior. The rationale behind in deciding what to research by the sociologists is following. Sociologists observe what is going in and around in society. What beliefs do the individuals of the society share? What behaviors are exhibited by society? To verify the truthfulness of the belief and behavior, sociologists choose a certain aspect of the behavior and conduct research on it.
The research questions selected by the sociologists need to be answered logically and comprehensively. Therefore, to prove and verify their research through measured and recorded data regarding the research question, sociologists operationalize their research. The difference between independent and dependent variable is that the independent variable is thought to be the cause of any problem and the dependent variable is the effect of the independent variable (Liska, 1990).
A research that is merely exploratory is called qualitative research (Atieno, 2009). It helps grasp any underlying reason and motivations of the research question. On the other hand, quantitative research is used to gather and record numerical data on a certain problem. Later, this data is transformed into useful statistics helping to understand the problem or the research question. Quantitative research is more structured in comparison to qualitative research (Atieno, 2009).
Researchers in sociology use several methods to record and analyze data that relates to their research question. Strengths of survey research are cost-effective, reliable, and diverse. On the other hand, interview research has depth and flexibility as its strengths. The strength of ethnography research method is that it increases cultural understanding of the researchers. The biggest strength of historical-comparative research method is that it enables researchers to create a solid understanding with the history and culture.
For any research to be termed useful by other researchers, it must possess the two characteristics of validity and reliability. Reliability describes that the data and results incorporated in the research are consistent and accurate. On the other hand, validity is important because it tells about the truthfulness of the research.
Atieno, O. P. (2009). An analysis of the strengths and limitation of qualitative and quantitative research paradigms. Problems of Education in the 21st Century, 13(1), 13-38.
Liska, A. E. (1990). The significance of aggregate dependent variables and contextual independent variables for linking macro and micro theories. Social Psychology Quarterly, 292-301.
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