Writing essays and research reports in the social sciences

Introduction Before beginning your paper, you need to decide how you plan to design the study.

Writing essays and research reports in the social sciences

Ibn Khaldun statue in TunisTunisia — Sociological reasoning predates the foundation of the discipline. Social analysis has origins in the common stock of Western knowledge and philosophyand has been carried out from as far back as the time of ancient Greek philosopher Platoif not before. There is evidence of early sociology in medieval Arab writings.

Some sources consider Ibn Khalduna 14th-century Arab Islamic scholar from North Africa Tunisiato have been the first sociologist and father of sociology [12] [13] [14] [15] see Branches of the early Islamic philosophy ; his Muqaddimah was perhaps the first work to advance social-scientific reasoning on social cohesion and social conflict.

Comte endeavoured to unify history, psychology, and economics through the scientific understanding of the social realm. Writing shortly after the malaise of the French Revolutionhe proposed that social ills could be remedied through sociological positivisman epistemological approach outlined in The Course in Positive Philosophy — and A General View of Positivism Comte believed a positivist stage would mark the final era, after conjectural theological and metaphysical phases, in the progression of human understanding.

To say this is certainly not to claim that French sociologists such as Durkheim were devoted disciples of the high priest of positivism. But by insisting on the irreducibility of each of his basic sciences to the particular science of sciences which it presupposed in the hierarchy and by emphasizing the nature of sociology as the scientific study of social phenomena Comte put sociology on the map.

To be sure, [its] beginnings can be traced back well beyond Montesquieufor example, and to Condorcetnot to speak of Saint-SimonComte's immediate predecessor. But Comte's clear recognition of sociology as a particular science, with a character of its own, justified Durkheim in regarding him as the father or founder of this science, in spite of the fact that Durkheim did not accept the idea of the three states and criticized Comte's approach to sociology.

Marx rejected Comtean positivism [28] but in attempting to develop a science of society nevertheless came to be recognized as a founder of sociology as the word gained wider meaning. For Isaiah BerlinMarx may be regarded as the "true father" of modern sociology, "in so far as anyone can claim the title.

The sociological treatment of historical and moral problems, which Comte and after him, Spencer and Tainehad discussed and mapped, became a precise and concrete study only when the attack of militant Marxism made its conclusions a burning issue, and so made the search for evidence more zealous and the attention to method more intense.

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It is estimated that he sold one million books in his lifetime, far more than any other sociologist at the time. Durkheim's Division of Labour in Society is to a large extent an extended debate with Spencer from whose sociology, many commentators now agree, Durkheim borrowed extensively. While Marxian ideas defined one strand of sociology, Spencer was a critic of socialism as well as strong advocate for a laissez-faire style of government.

His ideas were closely observed by conservative political circles, especially in the United States and England.

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While Durkheim rejected much of the detail of Comte's philosophy, he retained and refined its method, maintaining that the social sciences are a logical continuation of the natural ones into the realm of human activity, and insisting that they may retain the same objectivity, rationalism, and approach to causality.

Suicide is a case study of variations in suicide rates among Catholic and Protestant populations, and served to distinguish sociological analysis from psychology or philosophy. It also marked a major contribution to the theoretical concept of structural functionalism.

By carefully examining suicide statistics in different police districts, he attempted to demonstrate that Catholic communities have a lower suicide rate than that of Protestants, something he attributed to social as opposed to individual or psychological causes.

He developed the notion of objective sui generis "social facts" to delineate a unique empirical object for the science of sociology to study. Sociology quickly evolved as an academic response to the perceived challenges of modernitysuch as industrializationurbanizationsecularizationand the process of " rationalization ".

By the turn of the 20th century, however, many theorists were active in the English-speaking world. Few early sociologists were confined strictly to the subject, interacting also with economicsjurisprudencepsychology and philosophywith theories being appropriated in a variety of different fields.

Introduction

Since its inception, sociological epistemology, methods, and frames of inquiry, have significantly expanded and diverged. Curricula also may include Charlotte Perkins GilmanMarianne Weber and Friedrich Engels as founders of the feminist tradition in sociology.

Each key figure is associated with a particular theoretical perspective and orientation. Together the works of these great classical sociologists suggest what Giddens has recently described as 'a multidimensional view of institutions of modernity' and which emphasises not only capitalism and industrialism as key institutions of modernity, but also 'surveillance' meaning 'control of information and social supervision' and 'military power' control of the means of violence in the context of the industrialisation of war.

Capitalism at the End of the Twentieth Century Positivism and anti-positivism[ edit ] Main article: Positivism The overarching methodological principle of positivism is to conduct sociology in broadly the same manner as natural science.

An emphasis on empiricism and the scientific method is sought to provide a tested foundation for sociological research based on the assumption that the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge, and that such knowledge can only arrive by positive affirmation through scientific methodology.

Our main goal is to extend scientific rationalism to human conduct What has been called our positivism is but a consequence of this rationalism. The extent of antipositivist criticism has also diverged, with many rejecting the scientific method and others only seeking to amend it to reflect 20th-century developments in the philosophy of science.

However, positivism broadly understood as a scientific approach to the study of society remains dominant in contemporary sociology, especially in the United States.

DurkheimianLogical, and Instrumental.Summary: APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource, revised according to the 6 th edition, second printing of the APA manual, offers examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page.

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Writing a Good Social Science Paper

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Writing essays and research reports in the social sciences

The purpose of a field report in the social sciences is to describe the observation of people, places, and/or events and to analyze that observation data in order to identify and categorize common themes in relation to the research problem underpinning the study.

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