Is sociology a science?

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  • Is sociology a science?
    • Natural sciences
      • Searching for natural laws
      • Investigations lead to theories on objective facts
      • Based on empirical evidence derived from observation and experimentation, logical thought and reasoning
    • Positivists
      • Reality is a separate thing existing outside of the mind, so society can be studied objectively as factual reality
      • Can use scientific methods such as observations to study the patterns of society, in order to discover the laws that determine how society works
        • Can then be used to predict future events and guide social policies made as a result of these predictions and past events
          • Positivists
            • Reality is a separate thing existing outside of the mind, so society can be studied objectively as factual reality
            • Can use scientific methods such as observations to study the patterns of society, in order to discover the laws that determine how society works
              • Can then be used to predict future events and guide social policies made as a result of these predictions and past events
              • Durkheim studied suicide official statistics to investigate what causes a person to commit suicide
              • Durkheim believed that if he could show that there were social patterns and causes applicable to suicide
                • Durkheim studied suicide official statistics to investigate what causes a person to commit suicide
              • Popper
                • Falsification = find evidence to prove theory wrong
                • Longer no falsification, truer it is
                • However, science it defended through verification
              • Quantitative data, such as official statics
              • See natural sciences as verificationalism applied to the study of observable patterns, and they feel that sociology should follow its
        • Durkheim believed that if he could show that there were social patterns and causes applicable to suicide
          • Popper
            • Falsification = find evidence to prove theory wrong
            • Longer no falsification, truer it is
            • However, science it defended through verification
          • Quantitative data, such as official statics
          • See natural sciences as verificationalism applied to the study of observable patterns, and they feel that sociology should follow its
        • Interpretivists
          • Work of  natural sciences cannot be applied to sociology as the studies of people is different
          • Sciences deal with matters that have no consciousness, therefore its behaviour and any effects on it is an automatic reaction to external forces
          • Focus on meanings and people have their own internal reactions given to certain situations
          • Douglas rejected Durkheim’s view that suicide is a social fact
            • Depends on the internal meanings that would lead to the eventual result of a person committing suicide
          • Qualitative data such as personal documents and analysis
          • Sociological theory as a purpose to uncover people’s meanings, by seeing the world through another viewpoint (verstehen)
        • Kuhn
          • Scientific paradigms, a shared framework held by members of any given scientific community
          • Paradigm provides a definition of science and a set of shared ideas, assumptions and methods, allowing them to do productive work. Scientists are socialised into the paradigm by means of education and training
          • Science cannot exist without a shared paradigm as that would indicate rivalling scientific theories, not a unified science
          • Kuhn therefore see’s sociology as pre-paradigmatic and pre-scientific based due to the fact that there are rivalling sociological theories
        • Realism
          • Similarities between certain types of natural science and sociology, such as the degree to which the researcher has control over the variables of which they are researching
          • Both natural and social sciences attempt to explain the causes of events in terms of hidden features by observing their effects

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