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What are the two levels of analysis that sociologists use?

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accge | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted June 24, 2013 at 1:55 PM via iOS

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What are the two levels of analysis that sociologists use?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 24, 2013 at 2:13 PM (Answer #1)

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The most common way to look at this is to say that sociologists use macro and micro levels of analysis when conducting sociological research.  Different sociologists may use different levels at different times and for different purposes. 

One level of analysis is the macro level, which looks at society on a large scale.  It does not look at how individuals act.  Instead, it looks at aggregate data to try to understand society.  To understand this, and the difference between this and the micro level, let us look at issues of gender in the workplace.  A macro level study might look at the different positions held by men and women and their different levels of wages.  It takes this large-scale data and uses it to try to understand issues of gender in the workplace. 

By contrast, the micro level of analysis looks more at individual interactions.  It studies how people interact with one another in small groups or in one-on-one situations.  With regard to gender in the workplace, a sociologist using this level of analysis might watch meetings at a workplace.  They might then look to see how often women speak in meetings and whether they speak in different ways than men do in those meetings.

There are, then, two levels of analysis.  One looks at large scale processes and statistics while the other looks at smaller scale interactions.

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