Is sociology a science? - Positivism

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  • Created by: Megan
  • Created on: 07-05-15 20:48
What to positivists believe?
It is possible to apply the the logic and methods of the natural sciences to the study of society. Doing so will bring us true objective knowledge and will provide a basis for solving social problems.
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What is a key feature of the positivist approach? (belief)
The belief that reality exists outside and independently of the human mind.
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What is inductive reasoning?
It involves accumulating data about the world through careful observation and measurement. As our knowledge grows, we begin to see general patterns.
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What is verificationism?
Inductive reasoning through its observations claims to have discovered the truth or general law, it verifies this theory meaning it proves it is true
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How can the patterns we observe in society be explained by positivists?
By finding the facts that cause them e.g. explaining the social fact of education failure in terms of another social fact such as material deprivation
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What do positivists aim to do?
Discover the causes of the patterns they observe and produce general laws about how society works. These can then be used to predict future events or guide social policies. e.g mat. deprivation caused ed. failure -develop policies to tackle it
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Macro or Micro theory?
MACRO - macro theories see society and its structures as social facts that exist and shape our behaviour patterns
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Quantitative or Qualitative ? Why?
Quantitative - it allows them to uncover and measure patterns of behaviour thus meaning they can produce precise statements about the relationship between the facts they're investigating
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What sort of research methods would Positivists use? (5)
1)experiments, questionnaires, structured interviews, structured non-participant observation and official statistics
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Give an example of some positivist research
Durkheims study into suicide, he established that it was a social fact that people who are less integrated into society are more likely to commit suicide
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What is a key feature of the positivist approach? (belief)

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The belief that reality exists outside and independently of the human mind.

Card 3

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What is inductive reasoning?

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Card 4

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What is verificationism?

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Card 5

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How can the patterns we observe in society be explained by positivists?

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