Relationship between theory and research in sociology

The Links Between Theory and Research - SAGE Research Methods

relationship between theory and research in sociology

between theory and research, and provides an analysis of the relationship theory challenges some entrenched sociological orthodoxies about research. In this chapter, we shall look more closely at the relationship between theory and . generation of sociologists tried to devise and test theories to explain this. Theory and research have a complex interrelationship. Theories generate hypotheses that can be proven or disproved by research, the results of which may.

The job of sociologists is to uncover the social laws that govern human behaviour. When positivists collect information about the social world, they usually subscribe to a scientific model known as the hypothetico-deductive approach.

Understanding the connection between theory and research methodologies | serii.info

This is the model that natural science employs in, for example, laboratory experiments. Stage 1 - Phenomena are observed. Stage 2 - A testable hypothesis an educated guess is constructed to explain the phenomena.

Stage 3 - Empirical data factual information is collected in a systematic way. Stage 4 - The data is interpreted and analysed to see whether it confirms or refutes the hypothesis. Stage 5 - If the hypothesis is confirmed time and time again, it becomes a theory. If the data refutes the hypothesis, the scientist should reject or revise it, and begin the data-collection process again.

relationship between theory and research in sociology

The major scientific method in the natural sciences used for collecting data is the laboratory experiment. Positivists also advocate the use of some types of secondary data, particularly official statistics. They argue that human behaviour is not the result of external social laws. Society is the product of interaction — meaning when people come together in social groups.

The way people interpret these social interactions is centrally important to the understanding of social behaviour. Interpretivists prefer methods such as unstructured interviews and observation because these uncover the meanings behind action and emphasise validity.

Relationships between Theory & Methods

Such methods attempt to see the social world through the eyes of the people who inhabit it by studying their everyday life verstehen or by letting those being studied speak for themselves. Practical constraints on choice of method In addition to the theoretical, there are also practical reasons why a particular research method might be chosen.

Funding — if the sociologist does not have access to large funds, a cheap method will be required. Every science is organized by a structure of concepts, which refer to major processes and objects to be studied. It is the relationship between these concepts which are stated in "the facts of science. If knowledge is to be organized, there must be some system imposed upon the facts which are observable. As a consequence, a major task in any science is the development of development of classification, a structure of concepts, and an increasingly precise set of definitions for these terms.

Theory in summarizing role. A further task which theory performs is to summarize concisely what is already known about the object of study. These summaries may be divided into two simple categories: Although the scientist may think of his field as a complex structure of relationships, most of his daily work is concerned with prior task: The demographer may tabulate births and deaths during a given period in order to ascertain the crude rate of reproduction.

These facts are useful and are summarized in simple or complex theoretical relationships.

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  • Understanding the connection between theory and research methodologies

As body of summarizing statements develops, it is possible to see relationships between thee statements. Theorizing on a still larger scale, some may attempt to integrate the major empirical generalizations of an era. From time to time in any science, there will be changes in this It is through systems of propositions that many of our common statements must be interpreted.

Facts are seen within a framework rather than in an isolated fashion. If theory summarizes facts and states a general uniformity beyond the immediate observation, it also becomes a prediction of facts. This prediction has several facets.

relationship between theory and research in sociology

The most obvious is the extrapolation from the known to the unknown. For example, we may observe that in every known case the introduction of Western technology has led to a sharp drop in the death rate and a relatively minor drop in the birth rate of a given nation, at least during the initial stages.

Thus we predict that if Western technology is introduced into a native culture, we shall find this process again taking place. Correspondingly we predict that in a region where Western technology has already been introduced, we shall find that this process has occurred.

How to support Research with Theoretical and Conceptual Frameworks

Theory points gaps in knowledge. Since theory summarizes the known facts and predicts facts which have not been observed, it must also point to areas which have not yet been explored.

relationship between theory and research in sociology

Theory also points to gaps of a more basic kind. While these gaps are being filled, changes in the conceptual scheme usually occur. An example from criminology may be taken. Although a substantial body of knowledge had been built up concerning criminal behavior and it causes.

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A body of theory dealing with causation was oriented almost exclusively to the crimes committed by the lower classes. Very little attention has been paid to the crimes committed by the middle class or, more specifically, to the crimes labeled as "white collar" and which grow out of the usual activities of businessmen.

Such a gap would not be visible if our facts were not systematized and organized. As a consequence, we may say that theory does suggest where our knowledge is deficient. Role of Facts Research Theory and fact are in constant interaction.

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Developments in one may lead to developments in the other. Theory, implicit or explicit, is basic to knowledge and even perception. It plays an active role in the uncovering of facts. We should expect that "fact" has an equally significant part to play in the development of theory.