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What is the main goal of sociology?

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Sociology is the systematic science of studying human behavior within the context of societies. Society is a broad topic that includes everything from economics to politics to family dynamics. Sociology takes all these systems and more into account. Broadly defined, a society is a group of people that share a territory and a culture. Since the definition of society is so broad, sociology is a very broad topic as well. In fact, it may be the broadest of the social sciences.

Sociology looks for patterns, recurring characteristics, and events. Sociology looks for these patterns in a variety of scales: sociology can be applied to two people having a conversation to differences and similarities between nations. Sociology tries to see social behavior by placing it in a wide social context. Within this context, sociologists look for patterns that reflect particular generalities of the society. A sociologist might study an individual's behavior or actions to see how it fits into the broader pattern of that person's society and culture.

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Sociology is the study of human social behavior. Sociologists may use quantitative (measurable) or qualitative (descriptive) methods to study how humans socialize and organize themselves socially, as well as the origins and implications of social structures. Human social behavior is especially interesting because Homo sapiens has evolved to be a species dependent upon socialization. Most infant animals require some amount of care from parents, but whereas instinct serves as the driving force for animals like deer and lizards, humans are entirely dependent upon the care and teaching of others for the first several years of life.

Sociologists may be interested in socioeconomic class and mobility, sexuality, law, politics, religion, or linguistics. A sociologist  may choose to study any aspect of human social behavior, so these are just some examples of what a researcher might choose to focus on. 

Where other fields of study, like Anthropology, can tell us why humans are social beings, Sociology tells us how humans are social beings.

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