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807 Words Feb 13th, 2016 4 Pages
Is Sociology a Science?

Intro: What is Science vs. what is Sociology? The term “science” refers the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.
Objectivity is seen as an important part of the scientific process, and involves value freedom and open-mindedness. Sociology may want to be a science due to modernity and the rise of technology. Scientists may be interested in how individual’s actions are influenced by the rise of technology and the secularisation of religion. Thus they may conclude that the only way in which they can be studied is through observations and experiments, such as lab experiments; which
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Durkheim argues that the aim of sociology should be the study of social facts which in most cases could be measured quantitatively; this means that researchers and results are more likely to be valid. However not all sociological researches measured quantitatively can be reliable although they may be valid. For example crime statistics can be valid but not reliable as not everyone reports a crime that has happened to them and people might lie.
Interpretivists do not believe that sociology is a science as people do not simply respond to external forces. They believe that it’s impossible to predict human behaviour or to establish cause and effect relationships because meanings do not exist independently of people. Moreover, human behaviour is variable and subjective so there can be little to no possibility of prediction. They believe that Verstehen is necessary to understand the meanings which drive people’s behaviour in society.
They may feel that Sociology shouldn’t be a science because they use qualitative data as opposed to quantitative. It may be immoral to quantify people’s emotions and feelings, for they are subjective and therefore cannot have a conclusive quantity assigned to them. Bhaskar (1998) suggests that not all phenomena are material objects or social facts capable of observation and measurement but there can be underlying, unobservable

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