How is Sociology Research Conducted?

In order to investigate the areas of study described here, or indeed any area of study, sociologists proceed in two ways:

  • Aspects of society are conceptualised. Ideas are devised as 'concepts' to describe and explain the workings of society. In this way the forms of social organisation and the resulting social institutions which people create and reproduce in the course of everyday life become defined in sociological terms.
  • Concepts are tested through 'empirical' research, that is research involving active investigation of particular aspects of society and the way that people interact with each other. This provides a check as to whether sociological concepts actually correspond to the way that social life is conducted by real life people.

These twin aspects, the conceptual and the empirical, and the fact that they must be constantly related, make sociology not only a respected academic discipline but also a valuable contribution to other human activities.

Since sociology is the study of society in all its forms, the range of applications is extremely wide and this makes it a good foundation for many careers.