Sociology and Science

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What is science?
A method; Falsifiable; Value Free; Quantitative Data; Objective Research; Hypothetico Deductive Model; Paradigm; Cause and Effect Relationships
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How do Positivists view sociology?
Sociology is a science and should be studied through scientific methods
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What does Comte argue?
Sociology is Queen of the Sciences. Society is an objective factual reality that can be studied scientifically through observation and measurement. Sociologists can use inductive reasoning and gather evidence. They aim to produce casual explanations
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What is verification?
The process of establishing how society works
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What does Durkheim believe?
They are social facts. Sociology should take the natural science experimental method to test a hypothesis in a controlled way using quantitative data. Methods give max. objectivity, value freedom and detachment
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What did Durkheim study using quantitative, statistical research methods?
The topic of suicide
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How do interpretivists view sociology?
Sociology is not a science and society cannot be studied through scientific methods
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What does Weber argue?
There is a difference between the subject matter of science and sociology. Sociology studies people who have consciousness, free will and choice. Individuals are autonomous beings so qualitative data is needed to uncover these meanings (verstehen)
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How does Douglas criticise Durkheim's suicide study?
It is impossble to study something as personal and private as suicide using statistics.
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What do postmodernists argue?
Science is a meta-narrative and is no more valid than any other belief system
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What does Popper argue?
He rejects the view science is based on verification because a single piece of evidence can destroy the whole theory. What makes science unique is falsification
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What is falsification?
The idea that a statement is scientific if it is capable of being proved wrong by evidence
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What is Popper's view of sociology?
Sociology is unscientific because its theories can never be proved false. However, sociological ideas can be scientific because they may become falsifiable at a later date
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What is Kuhn's paradigm?
A knowledge framework shared by all members of the scientific community i.e a set of scientific norms and values. A paradigm defines what science is and scientists are socialised into the paradigm and come to accept it as true
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What is the paradigm shift?
Normal science: The paradigm goes unquestioned. Anomalies: Scientists find contrary evidence and confidence in the paradigm declines. Crisis: Scientists formulate new paradigms. Revolution: Normal science resumes within a new paradigm
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How does Kuhn's paradigm apply to sociology?
Sociology is currently pre-paradigmatic because there are competing perspectives and thus pre-scientific
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Card 2


How do Positivists view sociology?


Sociology is a science and should be studied through scientific methods

Card 3


What does Comte argue?


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Card 4


What is verification?


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Card 5


What does Durkheim believe?


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