Sociology is a sciene

  • Created by: Darblu07
  • Created on: 08-09-16 16:32

Popper (1959, 1963)

  • Falsification - proving the hypothesis wrong.
  • The idea is, if you can't prove a hypothesis, it is 100% correct.
  • " ' All swans are white' isnt proved correct by seeing one flock of white swans".
  • Popper believed that it wasnt possible to know 'absolute truth' = can't prove things are correct.
  • Criticisms
  • Later philosephers of science points out experimental results that disagrees with hypothesis because of experiment errors. 
  • It doesn't mean you're proved wrong = means there was a mistake made.
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Kuhn (1962)

  • Kuhn agrees with logical positivists and Popper.
  • Paradigm refers to framework of accepted ideas in which scientist operate. 
  • The paradigm / theories are challene theories within. 
  • Paradigm shift = safe to not safe. An evolution. The normal science is disproved by revolutionary science. 


  • Kuhn argues that scientists tend to work within the paradigm - as strong as to trigger a paradigm shift. 
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Feyerabend (1975)

  • He claimed that there weren't no rules in scientific methods.
  • Argued that scientists make tweaks to theorist to make them work.
  • Theories influence the way scientist actually observes facts.
  • He disagreed with the idea that science tests hypotheses according to whether they fit observed fatcs.
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Disagreement whether Sociology is scientific

Comte (1798-1857)

  • He thought of it as a science = should be used to develop a rational theory of society.


  • Said that some sociological concepts weren't scientific as they couldn't possibly be proved wrong. 
  • Sociology can only be a science if it made hypothesis which could be falsified. 


  • Argues that sociology doesn't have a paradigm - there isnt a consensus as to what its about and how its done. 
  • In his view, it doesn't count as a science.
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Sociology is more subjective than traditional scie

  • Objective knowledge is the same no matter what your point of view. 
  • Objective research is also value-free and doesnt have any bias. 
  • Subjective knowledge depends on your point of view. 
  • Sociology is more subjective than the physical sciences, but aims to be at least partly objective.

Lyotard (1984)

  • Claim that its impossibl to be objective at all. He sees knowledge as something that people construct not something that people discover. 
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Positivist Sociology tries to be as objective as p

  • Positivists think socioloigy should be scientific and analyse social facts. 
  • Positivists look for correlations in data, cause and effect relationships using quantitative methods such as questionnaires, official statistics which are objective and reliable. 
  • Interpretivist sociologists believe sociology does not suit scientific methods as they try and understand and empathise with human behaviour and social interaction. 
  • Humans cannot be measured using numbers.
  • Weber - 'Verstehen' - the iea research must use empathy.
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Gomm (1982)

  • Argues that theories scientists produce are in part a product of their social context. 
  • Scientists tend to try and prove rather than falsify their theories. 
  • Gomm gave the example of Darwin and his theory of evolution. 
  • Gomm emphasised the importance of placing 'science' in its social context. 
  • Scientific knowledge can be atleast in part as socially constructed. 
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Lynch (1983)

  • Argues that science is far less objective than scientists claim. 
  • He studied scientists experimenting on lab rats and concluded that the scientists were more influenced by their existing theores than may have been expected. 
  • When anomalies occured - the scientists often put them down to errors in the photographs. 
  • They were studying, rather than seeing them as evidence towards a new thoery or hypothesis.
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Key terms

Free market 

  • No restriction posed on the compaties by the government so they can charge exactly what they want for the product they are selling to the consumers. 


  • People are free to pursue business freely to make gains for themselves and not the government. The American Dream, anyone can be anything. 

Multivariate analysis 

  • Any statistical technique used to analyze data that arises from more than one variable.
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