Tag Archives: positivism

Scientific Quantitative Methodology in Sociology

Positivists prefer to the limit themselves the study of objective ‘social facts’ and use statistical data and the comparative method to find correlations, and multivariate analysis to uncover statistically significant ‘causal’ relationships between variables and thus derive the laws of human behaviour. This … Continue reading

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Qualitative Data – Strengths and Limitations

Qualitative data includes…. Open question questionnaires Unstructured interviews Participant observation Public and private documents such as newspapers and letters. Theoretical strengths Better validity than for quantitative data More insight (Verstehen) More in-depth data More respondent-led, avoids the imposition problem. Good … Continue reading

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Assess the Usefulness of Positivist Approaches to Social Research (30)

Just a few thoughts on how you might go about answering this question… if it comes up on paper 3 of the A level sociology exam  Paragraph one – outline the key ideas of Positivism Positivists believe that sociology can … Continue reading

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Assess the View that Theoretical Factors are the most Important Factor Influencing Choice of Research Method (30)

Just a few thoughts on how you might answer this in the exam.  Introduction – A variety of factors influence a Sociologist’s decision as to what research method they use: the nature of topic, theoretical, practical and ethical factors. Theoretical … Continue reading

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Outline and explain two reasons why Positivists generally prefer to use quantitative methods (10)

The theory and methods 10 mark question appears as a special treat at the end of paper 1 (Education, Methods in Context and Theory and Methods), you’ll also get a big 30 mark essay question at the end of paper … Continue reading

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Theory and Methods for A Level Sociology: The Basics

An overview of theory and methods for second year A level sociology – a very brief overview covering the bare-bones of (1) Positivism and Interpretivism, (2) Is sociology a sicence?, (3) Sociology and value freedom, (4) Functionalism, (5) Marxism, (6) … Continue reading

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Is Sociology A Science?

This post contrasts the Positivist view that sociology can be an objective science with the Interpretivist view that we need an interpretive understanding of human action; it then looks at Bruno Latour’s view that scientific knowledge is socially constructed, Thomas … Continue reading

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What are ‘Social Facts’ ?

Social Facts are one of Emile Durkheim’s most significant contributions to sociology. Social facts are things such as institutions, norms and values which exist external to the individual and constrain the individual. The University of Colorado lists as examples of … Continue reading

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Social Surveys – Advantages and Disadvantages

Social Surveys are a quantitative, positivist research method consisting of structured questionnaires and interviews. This post considers the theoretical, practical and ethical advantages and disadvantages of using social surveys in social research.  The Theoretical Advantages of Social Surveys Detachment, Objectivity … Continue reading

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Official Statistics on Educational Achievement in the U.K. – Strengths and Limitations

How useful are official statistics for understanding differences in educational achievement by social class, gender and ethnicity? How do GCSE results vary by social class, gender and ethnicity? The data below is taken from the Department for Education’s document – … Continue reading

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