Relationship between theories and methods

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  • Relationship between theories and methods
    • Structural approaches
      • functionalism& marxism say best way to understand society, to view it as real 'thing' which exists above and beyond us all
      • shapes our lives, provides social world
      • our role is to generally conform
      • researcher should look for general patterns of behaviour
      • top-down approach (how organisation of society affects individuals)
      • tend to use quantitative methods
      • positivism = the belief that the methods used in studying natural world can be used when studying social world (sociology can be scientific)
    • Interpretive approaches
      • bottom-up approach (research must start at bottom and work up)
      • only way to understand society is to look at world through eyes of individual as part of social groups
      • activities & beliefs of individuals that make up social world
      • favour qualitative methods (allow researcher to see world from same perspective as those studied)
      • social action theory
      • see sociology different from natural sciences
      • people don't simply react to external stimuli, interpret meaning of stimuli before reacting
    • Triangulation
      • using variety of methods (quantitative & qualitative)
      • improves validity and reliability or research
      • results from 1 method can be checked against other
      • advantages & disadvantages of quantitative and qualitative can be balanced out


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