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Why is sociology a social science?

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Sociology is very important to understanding the functions of a society and how those functions can inform different policies and solutions to social problems. By definition, it is the scientific study of society. It is considered a social science because sociology is a discipline that employs research to understand human behavior and that behavior's relationship with greater society.

Sociologists use the scientific method as much as possible in their work. They may employ a variety of research strategies, such as surveys, observations, and statistical analysis, but they still develop hypotheses and consider the information they've collected in coming to a conclusion. They, like traditional scientists, must create a research...

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silvia76-phd | Student

Sociology investigates human behaviors in relation to the social groups individuals belong to. Other examples of social sciences are history, human geography, anthropology, political science, and economics. Sociology is a science in that it attempts to provide an analysis of group dynamics by means of specific methods. August Comte founded the discipline in the 19th century with the intention of reaching an all-encompassing view of society according to what he considered to be the all time valid laws of history. Contemporary sociology has yet outlined the most distinguishing element of sociology when compared to the so called ‘hard’ sciences: it cannot entirely be value free and it cannot base its outcomes on strict mathematical observation and experiments. This happens because the object of the research – the human – coincides with the subject performing the research. From the very moment a sociologist formulates a question – from the micro level of work, friends, family, love interactions and the meaning of roles, to the macro level of politics – he is guided by his own ideal of what society should be like. Nonetheless, sociology has scientific methods. They can be quantitative, such as surveys conducted on sample groups, qualitative, such as in-depth interviews, or mixed. What makes a survey truly scientific is the choice of a representative sample (where factors such as gender, age and income are taken into account) as well as the formulation of questions which are not loaded by assumptions leading to a specific answer. There are statistical methods to decide the size of a sample, and to analyze the results. A paramount feature of a proper sociological research is what C. Wright Mills (1959) calls the ‘sociological imagination’, which is the awareness that there is a strong relationship between the individual and the wider society, so that the causes of phenomena such as, for instance, crime or gender inequality must not be merely searched in psychological features, but also in the nature of this wider relationship.

Further reading: Punch, K.F. (2013): Introduction to Social Research: Quantitative and Qulitative Approaches , SAGE.

mkaburara | Student

I like to add on some of your ideas regarding sociology---Through studying society and people Sociologists attempt to come up with some of their theory like Karl Marx on his theory of Marxism, Parsons on his theory of Structuralism and extra. Regarding their different theories we can assume that these Sociologists use only scientific knowledge and techniques to analyze the society or how people behave within their society and this will surely prove their assumptions about society and people. From there, we can conclude that Sociology must be a social science in a sense that it deals with Social (People & Socience) and Science (Borrowing plus using of Scientific knowledge to prove their hypothesis about people and their society).


mad-e | Student

its related to society...thats why..!