Subject Matter

Sociologists have shown a great concern in man and in the dynamics of society.

The emphasis has been oscillating between man and society. Sociology concentrated heavily on society and its major units and their dynamics.

Sociology seeks to find explanations for three basic questions: How and why societies emerge? How and why societies persist? How and why societies change?

  • Firstly, the major concern of sociology is sociological analysis.
  • Secondly, sociology has given sufficient attention to the study of primary units of social life.
  • Thirdly, sociology has been concerned with the development, structure and function of a wide variety of basic social institutions.
  • Fourthly, no sociologist can afford to ignore the fundamental social processes that play a vital role.
  • Fifthly, sociology has placed high premium on the method of research also.
  • Sixthly, sociologists are concerned with the task of “ formulating concepts, propositions and theories”
  • Finally, in the present era of explosion of knowledge sociologists have ventured to make specializations also.( Social Structure, social institution, social interaction/ relationship, social processes, and social change)

Some Branches of Sociology

  • Historical sociology
  • Industrial sociology
  • Sociology of knowledge
  • Medical sociology/ Sociology of health
  • Sociology of law             
  • Human ecology
  • Sociology of education
  • Political sociology
  • Sociology of economic life
  • Sociology of occupation
  • Sociology of religion
  • Rural sociology
  • Urban sociology

Methods of Sociology

Sociologists use the scientific method. Methods in sociology refer to research procedures for measuring variables and generating and analyzing data of interest to the researcher. Research method is a systematic plan for doing research. There are four commonly used methods of sociological research.

  1. Experiment Method: It is a research method for investigating cause and effect under highly controlled condition. It is typically explanatory, asking not just what happen but also why.
  2. Survey Method: It is a research method in which subject respond to a series of statement or Questionnaire and Interview (survey questionnaire and survey interview).
  3. Participate Observation: It is a research method in which investigators systematically observe people while joining them in their routine activities. It is also called fieldwork.
  4. Use of Existing Data: It is collected by others, specially the widely available data collected by Government agencies, NGOs, INGOs and a historical documentation (secondary data).
  • Qualitative research methods: ( Words: love, belief, Knowledge etc)

             -Interview: Formal and informal interview, Structured and Unstructured Interview

             -Observation: Participant and Non-participant Observation

             -Case study: Individual and Group case study

             -Focus Group Discussion: 6-8, 8-10 or 10-12 members

  • Quantitative research methods: ( Numbers: Age, Income, height, weight etc)

              -Questionnaire: Open-ended and Closed-ended Questionnaire

              -Social Survey: Pilot and main survey

  • Qual-Quan research methods/ Mixed methods:

Interview, Observation, Case study, Questionnaire, Focus Group Study, and Social Survey

Contribution of Founders of Sociology

Auguste Comte (1798- 1857): He was a great French thinker and first sociologist. Founding father of sociology, 1838). He is acclaimed as the” father of sociology.” The theory of “ The Law of Three Stages”:

  1. Theological stage
  2. Metaphysical stage
  3. Positive or Scientific stage

Herbert Spencer (1820- 1903): He was a prominent British social thinker of the 19th Spencer thought of constructing two extremely dissimilar types to classify societies into two categories. He called the types as “Militant societies” and “Industrial societies”.

Emile Durkheim (1858- 1917):He was the most prominent French sociologist of the 19th The concept of social facts (material and non material) assumes importance in Durkheimian sociology. According to him , the primitive society is characterized by “mechanical solidarity” and the advanced society is characterized by “organic solidarity” based on the division of labor

Max Weber (1864- 1920): He was a German sociologist, philosopher and scientific management theorist. According to Weber, bureaucracy is the basis for the systematic formation of any organization and is designed to ensure efficiency and economic effectiveness. For Weber social class is based on three dimensions: Class (economic), Status (social) and Party (political).

Karl Marx (1818-1883): He was one of the most influential social thinkers of the 19th century. His contribution is in many core areas of sociology such as political sociology, economic sociology, economic sociology etc. Marx was focused on the relationship between workers and the economy and began to study society. Mode of Production: means of production (Economic resources) and forces of production( Technology).