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Sociology is the study of society. It can help us understand society's structure and function. Once we understand it, we can apply what we learn to try to fix society's ills. It's not always easy to understand people, but sociology gives us an opportunity to try.
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Sociology is an incredibly valuable discipline for a number of reasons. Not only does it allow us to consider why things are the way they are in society and not to accept the status quo, but it also helps us examine the stages that have led up to the way our society functions and enables us to challenge certain "given" elements. It is a great way of allowing ourselves to look upon what is familiar and accepted with new eyes.

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The study of sociology can be beneficial in a lot of areas. In education sociology helps us to understand the differences in groups of people. Ruby Payne's studies in poverty come to mind. Also law enforcement uses sociology to understand criminal behaviors.

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A general truth in life is that the more information we have about any given thing, the better we can understand it.  The study of sociology has value, as has been so ably outlined above. On a practical level, a degree in sociology is probably not as marketable as, say, an accounting degree.  However, the kinds of skills represented by a sociology degree certainly have value in almost any job.

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Sociology is the study (-ology) of society, its behavior, its culture, its categories, its institutions, all of which affect indiviual attitudes.  While sociology is not an exact science as is biology or chemistry, it does employ empirical studies that are measured as scientifically as possible.  Of course, when dealing with human behaviors and interactions there are too many variables for exactitude.  Nevertheless, sociological studies have proven valuable.

For instance, in the studies conducted regarding education, there has been some success in determining what time is optimal for beginning school for high school aged students.  By using such measurements as standardized test scores, determination of optimal learning times can be fairly well measured.  Several studies have revealed that students who come to their first class at 9:00 A.M. succeed more often in learning well than those who take the class earlier.

Another study involved Block Schedule (90 minute periods) versus the traditional schedule. 55-60 minute periods).  Standardized test scores in one county of a state revealed that students who took the year-long 60 minute periods as opposed to the 1 semester/90 minutes period scored better on Math tests. 

Such studies are helful for Sociologists to recommend ways to improve learning.  Other studies, such as those in which inner cities' high rise appartments produce an environment as compared to public housing in the shape of one-level homes or apartments has led to the razing of such high-rises in an effort to improve the lives of people on public aid.  These studies and many others are useful to sociologists who strive for a better life for the people with whom they study and work.

Here is a list of other areas of study in sociology:

  • Stratification in the U.S. and worldwide
  • Deviance and Social Culture
  • The Family
  • Religion
  • Health and Population
  • Social Movements and Social Change
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In my opinion, sociology is useful because it gives us another way of understanding society and why people do what they do.

If it were not for sociology, we would have only psychology for understanding why people act the way that they do.  We would not be able to notice that poor people act differently from people who are not poor.  We would only be able to look at individual reasons for behavior -- not reasons having to do with group attributes.

We would also not be able to understand the impact that various institutions have on society because we would not think about them.  We would not be able to think about the impact of having lots of people going to church, or of having a high divorce rate.  All of these things are things that sociology looks at more than any other social science.

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