An essay about the ongoing debate of whether or not sociology is indeed value-free or free from biases.

Essay by athlete June 2004

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"A Value-free Sociology: Myth or Fact"

Do you agree that sociology is in fact value-free? Can sociology be value-free in the first hand? If so, to what extent can it be value-free? These questions have been surfacing in the world of sociology and have been causing numerous theories and assumptions about sociologists and their value freedom. Throughout the dawn of sociology until the present time, a continuous and constant debate has been going on about the role of the researcher's "values" on sociological studies, thus, giving rise to the issue of the value freedom theory, which is essential for further understanding of the subject at hand.

First and foremost, a definition of a few concepts, namely, objectivity, subjectivity, and value freedom is required to straighten out any misconceptions about the way that they are applied to sociology. Objectivity is the notion that research or data collecting process is free from personal feelings.

Furthermore, through this concept, objectivism - "the belief that the social world consists of various social structures that act to channel and control people's behavior in very broad ways" - is derived. Subjectivity, on the other hand, is quite the opposite. Being subjective means that the "researcher allows their values to intrude into the data collection process in a way that creates some form of bias" (Livesey, Chris). It gives rise to the term "subjectivism", which is the belief that human consciousness is so significant in relation to the way we experience the world that it is impossible to separate our values from the research process. Lastly, value freedom is the idea that researcher's values, which refer to attitudes, beliefs, or opinions that people hold strongly, do not enter their research as not to influence their behavior and prejudice the results. "This idea revolves around the question whether...