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Flashcards in Sociology And Science Deck (31)
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What do positivists believe about patterns?

They believe that reality is not random or chaotic but patterned which means we can observe, identify, measure and explain patterns by finding the facts that cause them

1

Do positivists favour a macro or micro perspective of social phenomena?

Macro

2

What sort of research do positivists favour to uncover and measure patterns of behaviour?

Objective, quantitative data

3

Which positivist studied suicide to show that sociology could be a science and how did he do it?

Emile Durkheim, used quantitative data from official statistics

4

What did Durkheim discover from his research into suicide?

He found patterns in suicide rates and he claims to have discovered a 'real law' that integration and regulation affect the rates of suicide

5

What do interpretivists believe about the subject matter of sociology?

They believe that the subject matter of sociology is meaningful social action and that we can only understand it through understanding meanings

6

What distinction do interpretivists make between sociology and the natural sciences?

Interactionists believe that natural sciences study matter and can be explained in a straightforward manner, whereas sociology studies people who do have consciousness which means they are not just puppets and cannot have facts made about them

7

What does verstehen mean according to interpretivists and why do they favour qualitative data?

Interactionists believe that we must put ourselves in the place of the actor so they favour qualitative data because of this

8

What are the two types of interpretivists?

Interactionists and Phenomonologists and Ethnomethodologists

9

What do interactionists believe?

They believe that we can have causal explanations

10

What do phenomenologists and ethnomethodologists believe about society?

They argue that society is not an external force but only exists in consciousness

11

Why do postmodernists reject sociology as a science?

Because science sees itself as a meta-narrative

12

Why do feminists reject sociology as a science?

They argue that a quest for one theory excludes many groups of women

13

What theorist believes in the fallacy of induction, falsificationism?

Karl Popper

14

What is the Fallacy of induction, according to Karl Popper? What example did he give

Popper rejects the view that science lies in inductive reasoning and uses the example of swans. We cannot prove all swans are white. So we cannot prove a theory is true simply by producing more observations of it

15

What does Karl popper believe about scientific statements?

That they are capable of being falsified or proved wrong and we must be able to say what evidence would count against it if we put it to the test

16

According to Popper, which two features makes a good theory?

Can be falsified but stands up to any attempts
and...
If it is bold - explains a great deal and makes big generalisations

17

What are Karl Poppers beliefs about sociology as a science?

Popper believes that sociology is unscientific. For example, Marxism is unfalsifiable

18

What theorist believes in the idea of paradigms, normal science and scientific revolutions?

Thomas Kuhn

19

What is a paradigm?

A basic framework of assumptions, principles, methods and techniques within which members work. It is a world view

20

What does Kuhn argue about the importance of shared paradigms?

He believes that science cannot exist without a shared paradigm

21

How does Kuhn describe 'normal science'?

In a 'normal science' Kuhn says that the paradigms go unquestioned and working in it is like working with a jigsaw

22

According to Kuhn, what is a scientific revolution, and how does it occur?

A scientific revolution occurs when not all the puzzle solving goes right and they find something contrary to the paradigm and science enters a period of crisis. A paradigm eventually wins out and becomes accepted by the scientific community

23

What are Thomas Kuhn's beliefs about sociology as a science?

Kuhn believes that sociology could only become scientific if basic disagreements were resolved and a single, shared paradigm was established

24

What do postmodernists believe about paradigms?

Postmodernists argue that a paradigm would not be desirable as it sounds like meta narrative

25

What does Atkinson argue about social facts?

He rejects the idea that social facts determine behaviour and argues that statistics are socially constructed

26

What do realists such as Keats and Urry stress the similarities between?

Sociology and the natural sciences such as the degree of control for the researcher

27

What do Keats and Urry distinguish between?

Closed and open systems

28

What are closed systems?

Closed systems are where the researcher can control and measure all the relevant variables and can make precise predictions

29

What are open systems?

Those where the researcher can’t control and measure relevant variables and thus cannot make precise predictions