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How do the questions sociologists ask differ from the questions asked by psychologists or health care providers? 

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The main difference is “public and social” vs. “personal and individual.” Sociologists do research and ask about population shifts, socio-economic conditions of groups, the effects of public living on more than one individual, climate, geography, etc. – the social status of human populations. The psychiatrist, on the other hand, makes a complete survey of a single person and asks about the effects of world forces on individuals – how experiences to an individual alter his/her subsequent view of life, how early life shapes later life, and how the action-choices an individual makes are reflected in his behavior. A sociologist might ask a psychiatrist’s patient “What was your family life like? Financially well off or struggling for survival?”, while a psychiatrist would ask “Was you dad ever violent toward you?” If discussing a law, a sociologist might ask “Will this law discourage recidivism?” while a psychologist or psychiatrist might ask “”How will this law affect an offender’s self-image?”

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