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The Three Main

Sociological
Approaches
Angie Andriot
Lecture 3
Last Time
We:
1. Defined what a social problem is
2. Described the sociological
approach to social problems
3. Identified the main methods and
designs used to study social
problems
Key Terms
Were:
Social Problem
Objective Condition
Subjective Concern
Sociological Research
Survey
Experiment
Interview
Document
Participant Observation
Today We:
1.Finish up the methods by
examining the types of
survey questions
2.Identify the 3 main
sociological frameworks
Types of survey questions and their best uses.

Type of question... Best Used for...


Open-ended When respondents' own words are
important; when the surveyor doesn't
know all the possible answers.
Closed-ended when all response choices are known;
when quantitative statistical results
are desired.
Likert-scale To assess a person's feelings about
something.
Multiple-choice When there are a finite number of
options
Ordinal To rate things in relation to other
things.
Categorical When the answers are categories, and
each respondent must fall into exactly
one of them.
Numerical For real numbers, like age, number of
months, etc.
This Week’s
Concepts:
Theory
Functionalism
Function versus dysfunction
Manifest versus latent function
Structure
Conflict Theory
capitalism
Symbolic interactionism
Symbol
Social construction of reality
Sociological
Research
based on the use of
EMPIRICAL data to
substantiate concepts and
theories and to test
hypotheses.
Facts that we observe, measure, and verify
An educated guess with our senses.
or proposition
about the A simple, abstract construct (idea) that
relationship represents some aspect of the world.
between two or A formal statement that attempts to explain a
more phenomena phenomenon by attributing it to particular
that is stated in relationships among a group of concepts.
testable form.
3
Perspectives:
"There is no society known
where a more or less developed
criminality is not found under
different forms. No people
exists whose morality is not
daily infringed upon. We must
therefore call crime necessary
and declare that it cannot be
non-existent, that the
fundamental conditions of
social organization, as they
are understood, logically imply
it.”

–Emile Durkheim
Functionalism
a THEORETICAL perspective

Society is a self-adjusting
MACHINE that is composed of
many parts
Each part exists in order to serve a function. If
that part fails, the machine can suffer.
Function
Dysfunction Social problems are failures of
Structure some part of the system that
Manifest interfere with society’s smooth
Latent functioning.
"The history of all
hitherto existing
society is the history
of class struggles."

–Karl Marx
Conflict Theory
a THEORETICAL perspective
Society is a self-adjusting
MACHINE that is composed of
many parts, each competing
with one another for scarce
resources
Those who control the means of production
also control the power.
Capitalism
Social problems are the natural
and inevitable outcome of social
struggle.
“If [people] define
their situations as
real, they are real in
their consequences."

–Thomas Theorem
Symbolic
Interactionism
a THEORETICAL perspective
People CREATE, NEGOTIATE,
and CHANGE social meaning
through the process of
INTERACTION
Individual Perception The purpose or significance of something, as
determined by how we respond to and make
use of it

Social acts that depend on and


emerge though processes of
communication and interpretation

Social Organization
An
Overview: