The Functionalist Perspective.
The structural-functional-or, moresimply, functionalist-perspective sees society as a system.Functionalists identify the structural characteristics and
of institutions, and distinguish between
Functionalists also typically assumethat most members of a society share a consensus regarding theircore beliefs and values.
The Conflict Perspective.
The conflict approach draws much of itsinspiration from the work of Karl Marx and argues that the structure of society and the nature of social relationships are the result of past andongoing conflicts.
The Interactionist Perspective.
Symbolic interactionists contend that society is possible becausehuman beings have the ability to communicate with one another bymeans of symbols. They say that we act toward people, objects, andevents on the basis of the meanings we impart to them. Consequently,we experience the world as
constructed reality.Conducting Research
The Logic of Science.
Sociology is a social science. Science assumesthat every event or action results from an antecedent cause-that is,cause-and-effect relationships prevail in the universe. These causesand effects can be observed and measured, and sociologists look for
as a way of doing so.
How Do Sociologists Collect Data?
Four major techniques of data collection are available to sociologists:experiments, surveys, observation, and archival research. In the
researchers work with an
to test the effects of an
Interviewing and questionnaires constitute theprimary techniques used in
Observation can take the form of
Other techniques include
and feminist methodology.
Steps in the Scientific Method: A Close-up Look.
The scientificmethod includes selecting a researchable problem, reviewing theliterature, formulating a
choosing a research design, collecting the data, analyzingthe data, and stating conclusions.
It is important that sociologists observe the ethicsof their discipline in carrying out research. They have an obligation notto expose their subjects to substantial risk or personal harm in theresearch process and to protect the rights and dignity of their subjects.