Sociological theories.

Essay by onegaiCollege, UndergraduateA, January 2004

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Comment on the three types of sociological theories, explain

and argue, based on your library or Internet research, which type of

theory is the most appropriate theory for sociology to adopt.

The three general types of sociological theory are positivistic,

interpretive and critical theory. In determining which theory is the

most appropriate for sociology to adopt, a basic understanding of each

theory's strengths and weaknesses is necessary. In defining each of

these theories, it is important to determine the ontological basis or the

theory's basis for determining what is knowable; the epistemological

basis or the theory's relationship between the knower and the knowable;

and, finally, the methodological basis or the theory's method for

gathering data and obtaining knowledge. A. POSITIVISTIC 1.

Ontology. The positivistic theory is based on an ontology of being

a realist. The realistic slant of positivism is also known as

determinism. The positivist knows that a reality is "out there" to be

defined and categorized.

The hard sciences from the time of Newton and

Decartes have traditionally relied on the positivistic approach. The

positivist hopes to be able to approximate "reality" in a detailed

generalization or theory on how reality operates. The theories of a

positivist generally take the form of cause and effect laws describing

the outside reality. Robert Merton defined these theorems as "clear

verifiable statements of the relationships between specified

variables." 2. Epistemology. Positivism relies on an

objective epistemology. The observer remains distant and does not

interact with the observation or experiment. Values and any other factors

that might lead to bias are to be carefully removed so that the cold,

monological gaze of science can be used to analyze the data. The

positivist is an objectivist. 3. Methodology. The methodology

of positivism is experimental and manipulative. The approach is the

same as propounded...