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SOCIOLOGICAL INQUIRY

Intended to provide an understanding of our observable world, and to increase our understanding of
ourselves and our groups.
Its ultimate goal is the acquisition of scientific knowledge to describe reality or the scientific truths.
Directed towards a search for more valid, more reliable and precise knowledge about the nature of
human being and society.
According to Bernard Barber (1952:20), science hence sociological inquiry is the collection and
ordering of facts in terms of a conceptual-theoretical model.
Fundamental Procedures in Sociological Inquiry
1.

Defines the problem


locating and evaluating what is already known about the prospective area of inquiry
delimit the scope and breadth of the problem and to define the phenomena to focus on.
The first step of the scientific method is to ask a question, describe a problem, and identify the
specific area of interest. The topic should be narrow enough to study within the context of a
particular test but also broad enough to have a more general practical or theoretical merit.
Operational definitions and empirical referents need to be developed to better identify facts that are
pertinent to the inquiry.
Concept
general term that refers to all cases of a particular class of objects, events, persons, relationships,
process and ideas.
a unit of meaning, symbolizing r labeling a particular segment of reality.
Hypothesis
a proposition or assumption stating what is t be resolved.
states the relationship between two or more social problems.
it can be proven to be true or false by facts.
among the sources are common sense, ideas, folk knowledge, personal and social experiences,
values and even theory.
Theory

is the statement of the logical relationships between the facts.


set of interconnected concepts and propositions presenting a systematic view of phenomena.
Provides direction of research (Timasheff 1967:9 10)
it is proved or disproved my hypothesis and can be rarely used as hypothesis.

Major Theoretical Perspectives:


The Evolution Theory proposes that societies, like biological organisms, develop through
concept phases of increasing complexity and interdependent with their environments. Along
with other theorists, Herbert Spencer argued that evolution was progressive and that natural
selection resulted in the survival of the fittest, enabling strong societies to survive and the
weak ones to perish. Current evolutionists, however, believed that evolution does not
necessarily result in changes for the better and that while societies increase in complexity,
good as well as bad effects may arise.
Structural Function Theory Durkheim, Weber, Cooley, Thomas and Pareto were the early
advocates of structural functionalism although Parsons and Merton are credited for further
expounding on the theory Also known as social system theory, equilibrium theory or
functionalism. Social structures exist in society for the functions they have to carry out.

Proponents of this theory focus on order and stability to the neglect of the processes of
change.
Conflict Theory Karl Marxs works initiated the conflict theory shared by recent scholars C.
Wright Mills, Lewis Coser and Ralph Dahrendorf, who proposed that society is best studied
through conflict and power struggle. Conflict is a constant aspect of social life; need not to
be equated with widespread debacles and with the destruction or breakdown of society. It
has integrative and constructive features that bring about social change.
Symbolic Interaction Theory Mead, Thomas and Cooley of the Chicago School dealt on the
more microsociological orientation. The core of this theory is the idea of how society affects
individuals and vice-versa. Society is reflected in every socialized individual and its external
forms and structures are likewise reflected through the social interactions occurring among
individuals at the symbolic level. Language consists of symbols representing physical objects
and abstract ideas and is used for communication. Social interaction with others enables
individuals to acquire the beliefs, values and language of society to which they belng and to
learn what is appropriate or inappropriate, what is right or wrong, who is significant, or
what is beautiful in society.
Exchange Theory Its basic orientation is that life is a continual occurrence of rewards and
costs exchanges. George Homans and Peter Blau both believe that what is significant in
exchange is the mutual expectation that equal reciprocation occurs. Homans call it
distributive justice while Blau fair exchange. If exchange is unequal, where one is
controlled and taken advantage of, it may result to the termination of the relationship. Social
life is looked upon as a continuing process of bargaining and negotiation, compromising or
arbitration involving trust and mutual interests.

2.

Gathering of Data
providing a simulation or model that can be shown to correspond to certain principles, a sample
of the total population to represent the whole as accurately as possible in order to meet the
fundamental aim or sociological inquiry.
researcher chooses techniques to identify and record data to be studies

3.

Analysis of Data
involves testing of hypothesis or answering questions or assumptions with facts that have been
gathered.
Test of validity of measurement- Sociologist have to ascertain that what is being measured is actually the
phenomenon in which they are interested. (valid - effective: bringing about the results or ends intended)
Reliable measurement if the measurement taken at different times or by different individuals yields the
same results.
Important things to note on data analysis:
provide coherent information to the readers as much as possible
Introduction should summarize all the main findings expected which are checked against the
originally stated hypotheses.
pictures, tables, charts and graphs can be used as effective aids for easier understanding of the
results
logic should be used for strength and soundness
citation of original sources in footnotes, bibliographic entries and suggested readings are useful
guides for in depth reading.
conclusion may include the studys limitations and point out other areas for further or new
research.

4.

Verification further checking and verification of findings are necessary.

METHODOLOGICAL DESIGNS, TECHNIQUES AND TOOLS IN SOCIOLOGICAL INQUIRY


Certain research method, techniques, tools may be used singly or in varied combinations during one or all of the
procedures.
Commonly used methods in research design:
1. Experimental method a number of variables are used, holding them constant except one, the effect of
which is being tested.
variable a measureable dimension which can vary or change. Ex. age, sex, educational attainment,
occupation, etc.
Two sets of subject:
experimental exposed to experimental conditions/variables
control not exposed
o

One experimental condition is varied at a time, while the others are kept constant so that cause
and effect and other types of relationships can be determines. The result is observed if there will
be any difference between the groups. Should be carried out under carefully controlled
conditions.

2.

Sample Survey Method involves a sample which would closely represent a universe or a particular
population from which it was chosen. A statistician is consulted in setting up sampling techniques and
tools to be used for validity with very small margin of error.

3.

Case Study Method intensive examination of a specific group over a long period of time. It involves
careful recording of significant events and the consequent evaluation of these against original hypotheses
are necessary. Does not necessarily lead to conclusive generalization but rich in fresh and deep insights
for further researches.

Techniques:
Qualitative do not involve intensive use of universal values in the research process. Includes
examination of tools such as historical records, biographies , autobiographies, diaries, speeches, editorials
and videotapes. Researcher must check the reliability of the sources and in drawing generalizations from
them.

NON-PARTICIPATORY

Researcher enters the


situation as a third party as
he/she observes and records
what is being studied.

PARTICIPATORY

Researcher takes part as a


member of the group being
studied

STRUCTURED

Researcher follows a
relatively moe definite order
of questions

NON-STRUCTURED

Researcher leaves the


interviewee
(respondent/informant) to
guide the conversation

Tools:

(1) OBSERVATION

(2) INTERVIEWS

(3) QUESTIONNAIRE another tool for securing answers to questions written down . It may
provide space for respondents written answer or allow him/her to choose and check his/her
response from the listed series of possible answers.

Quantitative involves the classification and enumeration of data, analyses of the quantitative
relationship involves and assignment of numerical values to their relationships.
Tools: census and vital statistics; local, national and international reports; sampling measures of central
tendency the mean, the median, and the mode; measures of variability the negative or positive; the
tests of significance the chi-square and probable error.

PATTERNS OF BEHAVIOR REQUIRED FOR SOCIOLOGICAL INQUIRY


- Sociological inquiry is more rigorous and more systematic than common sense. Sociologists scrutinize the
nature of change taking place within the society.

TRADITIONAL THOUGHTS AND TREATMENT OF DATA


Verstehen

Positivism

(empathic understanding of human behavior)

(emphasizes on empirical observation)

Max Weber believed that objective measurements are


not sufficient and that subjective meanings from the
point of view of others must be included in order to fully
explain social phenomena.

Expounded by Auguste Comte (coined 'Sociology' and


often credited as the 'Father of Sociology'), which claims
that the methods of the physical and biological (or
natural) sciences can be applied to the study of the
human being. Objective knowledge can be accumulated
from the social as well as the natural environment with
the use of scientific techniques and tools

It is important that a researcher is able to keep their observations and conclusions independent of their values and
beliefs, suppressing their philosophical outlook, political loyalties, religious beliefs and personal feelings from
influencing their findings. Sociologists must distinguish between and keep separate their roles as concerned
citizens and as scientific inquirer.

Skeptical receptivity researchers have to be open-minded but need to be sufficiently skeptical (tending not
to believe or accept things but to question them) to reserve conclusions unless and until tested answers to
fundamental questions are derived.

Persistent critical spirit not being bound/limited/encapsulated by traditional wisdom and/or conventional
knowledge weighing the testability of interesting/persistent ideas and seeing if it can be subjected to detailed
analysis.

Scientific behavior requires cooperation, honesty and liberalism (a belief in tolerance and gradual reform in
moral, religious, or political matters).
Each researchers work is dependent on the activities of others thus every researchers findings need to be
freely shared with others.
Findings must be presented honestly.
Scientists are also obligated to present their findings in a manner that could be understood by the ordinary
layperson.

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