Sociology is a discipline that deals with the study of social Phenomena. It focuses on the imperative understanding of social action in order to arrive at a causal explanation of its course and effect. Sociology shows different characteristics for each field of study. It is very essential to understand the nature of sociology before using it in other disciplines. Here we will have a closer look at major characteristics of sociology. Don’t be confuse because characteristics and nature are the same things.
1. Fieldwork is the hallmark of Sociology.
Fieldwork is compulsory in sociological research. The researcher goes to the field, builds rapport with informants, and generates the facts and figures from the field. To reveal the primary data facts and figures from the field. To reveal the primary data researcher applies different tools such as; Observation, interview, case studies, social survey, and so forth as per the needs and requirements of the research topic. One year of fieldwork is necessary for sociological and anthropological research.
2. Sociology is Social Science, not Physical Science.
Sociology is a social science since it deals with social institutions, group behavior, social stratification, and social life as a whole by connecting the human relationship with other social life as a whole by connecting the human relationships with other social sciences. It researches social problems or human subjects, not objects. In social science research, we do conduct research in society focusing on issues by deploying research tools and techniques and interpret and analyze the data statistically and logically.
3. Sociology is An Independent Science.
As independent science sociology has developed its own research areas and research with the rich subject matter. It has developed its tools and techniques and procedures to study the contents scientifically. To reach the truth researchers deploy inductive ad deductive methods according to the nature of social issues. Hence, it is independent of the subject matter and its research methods.
4. Sociology is Pure Science as well as applied Science.
Sociology is pure science since it generates new knowledge and contemplative and Platonic ideas for the theory-building process. It builds the body of knowledge and widens the horizon of thinking that helps to diagnose the problems academically. After the problems are identified rationally then sustainable solutions are sought out. To find out the root causes of the problems intensive research is carried out. Here sociologist can work as a facilitator in solving the problems. Here, a sociologist can work as a facilitator in solving problems. He can become a social engineer in order to solve the problems with the help of local agencies and donor agencies if needed for financial and technical support.
Though sociology is not applied science in general for the last couple of years, action sociology or applied sociology, or social engineering has come into existence for solving social problems. Of course, the primary aim of the discipline is the acquisition of knowledge. The sociologist in the professional role of social scientists is devoted to discovering and teaching truth and occasionally making sociological predictions. He works as an applied scientist when employed as a technician or consultant.
5. The Contents of Sociology are abstract but methods and Methodologies are Concrete.
Sociology studies human relationships which are abstract in nature. Social issues, social changes, institutional relationships, social problems, organizational issues, group behavior, social stratification, caste-class-based social networking are not simple issues for academic interpretation which requires critical eyes to concretize the result hence the subject matter is relatively abstract. Its research procedures are transparent. It generates the primary data through a social survey, case studies, questionnaires, and interview techniques along with the observation method. Though the contents are abstract they are objectified in a precise manner for concrete generalization. In order to reach the truth, we deploy different generalizations. In order to reach the truth we deploy different tools, techniques, procedures, and studies can be either cross-sectional studies or longitudinal studies
6. Sociology is Generalizing Science, not Particularizing Science.
Sociology is concerned with human interaction and human life in general. It studies human activities in a general way. It does the survey in a mass or in a larger group. After the investigation is over, then only it comes to the conclusions for generalization. It often does not study on an individual level. It generalizes as a whole. From the larger mass database, it comes to a certain conclusion.
7. Sociology is Rational, Empirical and Holistic Science.
There are two types of knowledge in human civilization. One is habitual knowledge others are rational. Habitual knowledge is acquired by day-to-day activities experienced by an individual and participating in rituals and domestic affairs whereas rational knowledge is gained through quality education supported by a causal explanation for the set of reasons. Social issues are studied through cause-and-effect relationships. It is empirical science because it generates knowledge through work-based social experienced and it is a holistic science as it studies from every viewpoint. All the viewpoints are put together to make the result broader and trustworthy. In order to reveal the primary data researchers goes to the field, building the report with community members, thus the sampling procedures, collets the data through appropriate techniques and tools from the universe, classify the data, analyses the data statistically and logically and then only researchers come to the certain conclusions.
Hence in gist, the nature of sociology as an empirical, rational and holistic science studies the social issues scientifically. Sociologists collect organize and classify factual data and then derive sound social knowledge and theories from the facts.