What is the Study of Sociology?

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Sociology is only useful for studying society. True or false?

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What is the difference between pure and applied sociology?

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Sociology is a very broad subject. True or false?

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Give examples of social patterns and issues that sociology can provide explanations for.

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Sociology has played a crucial role in many significant social reforms. Give examples of these social reforms.

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How did Peter L. Berger describe the sociologist?

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Peter L. Berger pointed out that in the process of trying to understand society, sociologists are concerned about monumental social events just as much as with mundane, everyday occurrences of individuals’ lives. True or false?

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_______ says that sociological investigation often appears very simple and obvious... "until one is suddenly brought up against an insight that radically questions everything one had previously assumed about this familiar scene. This is the point at which one begins to sense the excitement of sociology." Fill in the blank.

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In 1954, the US Supreme Court overturned a law in 21 states that allowed Black and White children to be educated separately only if those separate schools systems were equal.


What was the name of the case above?

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Through sociology, there is bigger awareness of differences in economic status, educational level, ethnicity and race, gender and sexual orientation. 

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The Brown vs. the Board of Education case was hugely based on the research conducted by two sociologists. Who were they?

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  • Immunology
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  • Mo

Sociology is only useful for studying society. True or false?

Show Answer
  • + Add tag
  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology
  • Mo

What is the difference between pure and applied sociology?

Show Answer
  • + Add tag
  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology
  • Mo

Sociology is a very broad subject. True or false?

Show Answer
  • + Add tag
  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology
  • Mo

Give examples of social patterns and issues that sociology can provide explanations for.

Show Answer
  • + Add tag
  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology
  • Mo

Sociology has played a crucial role in many significant social reforms. Give examples of these social reforms.

Show Answer
  • + Add tag
  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology
  • Mo

How did Peter L. Berger describe the sociologist?

Show Answer
  • + Add tag
  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology
  • Mo

Peter L. Berger pointed out that in the process of trying to understand society, sociologists are concerned about monumental social events just as much as with mundane, everyday occurrences of individuals’ lives. True or false?

Show Answer
  • + Add tag
  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology
  • Mo

_______ says that sociological investigation often appears very simple and obvious... "until one is suddenly brought up against an insight that radically questions everything one had previously assumed about this familiar scene. This is the point at which one begins to sense the excitement of sociology." Fill in the blank.

Show Answer
  • + Add tag
  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology
  • Mo

In 1954, the US Supreme Court overturned a law in 21 states that allowed Black and White children to be educated separately only if those separate schools systems were equal.


What was the name of the case above?

Show Answer
  • + Add tag
  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology
  • Mo

Through sociology, there is bigger awareness of differences in economic status, educational level, ethnicity and race, gender and sexual orientation. 

Show Answer
  • + Add tag
  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology
  • Mo

The Brown vs. the Board of Education case was hugely based on the research conducted by two sociologists. Who were they?

Show Answer

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Table of contents

    These are all everyday things that sociology concerns itself with. Sociology also aims to shed light on larger social issues and social patterns such as globalization, migration, class inequality, racism and the influence of technological advances on society, to mention a few.

    We will discuss the different realms of the discipline and try to answer the question ‘Why study sociology?’.

    • We will look at different studies of sociology.
    • Next, will look at the importance of studying sociology.
    • We will consider the benefits of studying sociology.
    • Then, we will discuss the career options in sociological study.
    • We will look at the opportunities after studying sociology.
    • Finally, we will discuss public sociology.

    Why Study Sociology?

    In 1954, the US Supreme Court overturned 21 state laws that allowed Black and White children to be taught in different school systems if those school systems were equal. It was known as the Brown vs. the Board of Education case, and it was hugely based on the research conducted by sociologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark.

    The Clarks had shown that Black schoolchildren suffered both academically and psychologically from segregation, which was later judged as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

    This is a perfect example of how sociological research can generate and accelerate social change, which would eventually affect the lives of millions. Thus, sociology is not only useful for studying society, but also for improving it.

    Trying to improve society through research is just one of the possible answers to the question 'Why study sociology?'.

    Different Studies of Sociology

    Sociology is a very broad subject. As you must have seen from already, there are many different studies of sociology and it covers a wide range of topics from politics to family, from crime to culture.

    Sociologists try to find explanations for emerging family patterns, social inequality, governmental control, religious devotion, socialization processes and so on.

    What is the Study of Sociology?, family on the couch, StudySmarterFig. 1 - Family patterns are a significant area of sociological research.

    Sociology has played a significant role in many social reforms, not just on desegregation but also regarding women’s rights, prison reforms and the treatment of mentally disabled people.

    Importance of Studying Sociology

    What is the importance of studying sociology? How can we even begin to describe the work of a sociologist?

    Peter L. Berger, in his book, Invitation to Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective (1963), described a sociologist as a researcher that aims to understand society by using disciplined methods.

    He pointed out that in the process of trying to understand society, sociologists are concerned about monumental social events just as much as with mundane, everyday occurrences of individuals’ lives.

    Berger identifies the moment when one realizes that sometimes it’s the simplest, ordinary things that carry the most exciting and radical questions. He says that sociological investigation often appears very simple and obvious...

    ...until one is suddenly brought up against an insight that radically questions everything one had previously assumed about this familiar scene. This is the point at which one begins to sense the excitement of sociology."1

    Sociology is thus far from spreading simplistic 'truisms'; it is a discipline for answering new and radical questions about society. That is where the importance of studying sociology lies.

    Benefits of Studying Sociology

    Sociology teaches people to challenge the easy and simplistic explanations in life. It encourages people to ask better, more specific questions about hardships and social issues in order to organize their thoughts and find better answers and solutions. This is just one of the benefits of studying sociology.

    Sociology also makes people realize that they are very similar yet very different. One becomes aware of classifications in society and the discrimination that often follows. Through sociology, there is bigger awareness of differences in economic status, educational level, ethnicity and race, gender and sexual orientation. It helps people find their place in the world while also encouraging them to see other people’s perspectives on society as a whole.

    Sociological research has shown that Black children's educational achievement is generally lower than that of White children's, not because they have lesser abilities and skills, but due to in-school processes of teacher labelling, branding and streaming, the hidden curriculum and anti-school subcultures.

    Lastly, sociology teaches people to realize how others differ from them, and how they might view things differently due to their circumstances. As a result, sociology is said to teach people to live and work in a diverse and integrated world.

    What are some Skills Learned in Sociological Study?

    Employers, especially in the contemporary job market, seek people with so-called ‘transferable skills’.

    Transferable skills are those abilities and qualifications that one can apply to many different disciplines, settings and positions.

    Sociology is said to be one of the subjects where one can acquire transferable skills. The Department of Sociology at the University of Alabama collected a few significant skills one can gain from studying sociology. Let us look at their list.

    • Understanding large social systems and organizations

    • Carrying out research projects to see if a policy is functioning well

    • Collecting, consuming and analyzing statistics from surveys or polls

    • Recognizing differences between and effects of people’s backgrounds (cultural, economic and social)

    • Preparing reports and communicating complex ideas and concepts

    • Thinking critically about social issues

    • Learning to solve problems efficiently

    What is the Study of Sociology?, laptop with statistics and plant, StudySmarterFig. 2 - Sociology has transferable skills, including the ability to read and analyze statistics.

    Opportunities after Studying Sociology

    Gaining the skills mentioned above can prepare one for a wide variety of careers and opportunities after studying sociology, including in:

    • academic research and teaching
    • politics and social services
    • government agencies
    • counseling
    • community planning
    • market research and marketing
    • human resources
    • health services

    Pure vs. Applied Sociology

    We differentiate between pure and applied sociology, depending on the occupation of the sociologist. Academic sociologists, who focus on research and teaching, are said to be doing ‘pure sociology’.

    Applied sociologists’ on the other hand work in various fields other than academia, trying to implement sociological research to make changes in social policies or to provide direct counseling in social and individual issues.

    Even a modest amount of sociological training can be immensely useful in careers such as journalism, teaching, public relations, sales and even law and criminal justice.

    It is usually advised for students to seek out classes on their specific interests within sociology. If one is interested in a career in health services, studying medical sociology will be most useful for them. On the other hand, if one is interested in becoming a research assistant, they might like to focus on statistics and methods.

    What is Public Sociology?

    Public sociology refers to sociological research being conducted with the aim of doing something for the public good. A common use of public sociology aims to educate and help politicians and policymakers about the nature of the most pressing social issues, and to offer suggestions on how to improve them through political and legislative means.

    Sociological research can be conducted specifically to understand certain issues; however, sociologists may also come up with new ideas and information about unknown social issues to present to policymakers. The American Sociological Association (ASA) is a great promoter of public sociology.

    Why study Sociology? - Key takeaways

    • Sociology is a very broad subject. As you must have seen from your studies already, sociology covers a wide range of topics from politics to family, from crime to culture.
    • Peter L. Berger, in his book, Invitation to Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective (1963), described a sociologist as a researcher that aims to understand society by using disciplined methods.
    • Sociology is said to teach people to live and work in a diverse and integrated world.
    • Employers, especially in the contemporary job market, seek people with so-called ‘transferable skills’. Sociology is said to be one of the subjects where one can acquire transferable skills.
    • Public sociology refers to sociological research being conducted with the aim of doing something for the public good.

    References

    1. Berger, Peter L. (1963). Invitation to Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective.
    Frequently Asked Questions about What is the Study of Sociology?

    What is the importance of studying sociology?

    Sociology teaches people to challenge the easy and simplistic explanations in life. It encourages people to ask better, more specific questions about hardships and social issues in order to get their thoughts organized and find better answers and solutions.

    Why do people study sociology?

    Employers, especially in the contemporary job market, seek people with so-called ‘transferable skills’. Sociology is said to be one of the subjects where one can acquire transferable skills. 

    Why is sociology more than just the study of human behavior?

    Sociology is concerned with human behavior, but also with conducting statistics and thinking critically about social patters and social issues regarding institutions of society.

    How is sociology used in everyday life?

    We are all involved with culture, politics, families, economics and the media which are only some of the significant areas of research in sociology. Understanding our own experiences with these things requires us to think about them from a sociological point of view. We often unconsciously use sociology in our everyday lives.

    What are the career opportunities after studying sociology?

    Sociology can lead people to academic research and teaching. That is one of the most obvious pathways. It can also prepare people for a career in politics and social services. One can work at government agencies, in counselling or in community planning. One can conduct market research and marketing and can easily transfer their skills from sociology to human resources or to health services even.

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

    Sociology is only useful for studying society. True or false?

    Sociology is a very broad subject. True or false?

    Peter L. Berger pointed out that in the process of trying to understand society, sociologists are concerned about monumental social events just as much as with mundane, everyday occurrences of individuals’ lives. True or false?

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