Social Theory And Empirical Research Essay

1525 Words Oct 5th, 2015 null Page
Throughout sociological history a series of theories and coinciding research have been used in order to better understand the social realm. This paper will attempt to outline the importance of social theory and empirical research in the understanding of society and social behaviour, through the presentation of a range of examples. Within this paper a multitude of key points will be made, including a discussion of the importance of social theory and empirical research within sociology and the relevance of theory and research in the explanation of social phenomena and behaviour. Furthermore, a review of popular theoretical approaches, namely micro, macro, qualitative and quantitative methodologies, will be included. Lastly, this paper will explain both the strengths and limitations of each of the above-mentioned approaches.

Put simply, social theory and empirical research are irreversibly connected, that is, theory seeks to understand and explain the social world and uses research to substantiate possible claims. Kant (cited in Bourdieu 1988, p. 774) states, “that theory without empirical research is empty, empirical research without theory is blind”. This quote encapsulates the relevance and importance of both theory and research. Fawcett (1978, p. 49) substantiates Kant’s claims stating that the use of either theory or empirical research alone condemns findings to be “trivial”. Furthermore, Fawcett (1978, p. 49) explains that only when theory and empirical research are…

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