What "tools" or "concepts" do sociologists employ to study the impact of society on individual thoughts, feelings, and behavior?
Two of the most important tools sociologists use to study the impact of society on indivuduals' subjective experience are participant-observations and long-form interviews. Both of these research tools are widely used in the fields of sociology, anthropology, and cultural psychology. In participant-observation, the sociologist participates in the social activity he or she is studying. He immerses himself in the lived experience, in order to understand it at a subjective, personal level. Long-form interviews give sociologists a different type of insight. By asking broad, open-ended questions in interviews lasting up to five hours, sociologist can gain insights into how people understand and talk about their socio-cultural experience. These two tools are data-collection methods. Sociologists are also armed with numerous theoretical concepts that they use to interpret the data.