Delta State University
SOC 101: Principles of Sociology
Spring Semester 2005

Study Questions
Week 1 & 2

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Topic for the Week:  Introduction to Sociology

Readings for the Week:

Society: The Basics, Chapter 1

Sociological Footprints, Chapters 1 (Durkheim), 2 (Mills) and 5 (Berger)


(1) Identify the following sociologists and their contributions to the discipline:

        Auguste Comte                                 Harriet Martineau
        Herbert Spencer                               Jane Addams
        Karl Marx                                           W.E.B. DuBois
        Emile Durkheim                                C. Wright Mills
        Max Weber                                        Robert Merton

(2) Peter Berger says that the sociological perspective allows us to see the general in the particular.  What does Bergerís statement tell us about the subject matter sociologists study?  What are some of the benefits of viewing the world through the sociological perspective?

(3) Is sociology a science?  Why or why not?  What elements distinguish scientific knowledge from other forms of knowing?

(4) What is a theory?  How does a theory differ from a theoretical paradigm?  What role does theory play in sociology?  What is the difference between a theory and a stereotype?

(5) Identify three theoretical paradigms in sociology.  What characteristics distinguish the structural-functional, social-conflict, and symbolic-interaction approaches?  What is the difference between a micro- and a macro-level orientation?

(6) What did Max Weber mean when he suggested sociological research should be value free?  What role do values play in sociological research?  Distinguish objective, interpretive and critical approaches to the study of society.

(7) Explain the logic of the following research methods used by sociologists:

        Experiments                                    Participant Observation
        Surveys                                           Existing Studies

Under what circumstances would a researcher choose one of these methods over another?  What are some advantages and disadvantages of each approach?

(8) What steps do sociologists follow in conducting a study?  Do these steps apply to all types of research?