What "tools" or "concepts" do sociologists employ to study the impact of society on individual thoughts, feelings, and behavior?

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Jessica Pope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.