Social Research Essay

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AISHA GITTENS-HIPPOLYTE Taking Two Of The Theoretical Approaches To Social Research Discussed In The Module, Demonstrate The Connections Between Their Ontological, Epistemological And Methodological Assumptions. Which Method Or Methods Would Proponents Of Each Theory Favour As A Result Of Their Assumptions. In order to understand the production of sociological knowledge one must first examine the thought processes that lay behind each piece of research. Before a particular subject matter is researched, the researcher firstly makes certain assumptions about that matter. These assumptions differ dependent on the theoretical approach that is taken. They can be divided into three logical areas, namely ontology, epistemology and…show more content…
This stance excludes unobservable human experiences or 'feelings' from social knowledge as these are subjective. In line with these beliefs comes the scientific belief of 'cause and effect'. For example, when salt is placed into water, it becomes saline. Positivists would argue that natural scientists' laws of cause and effect can be applied in social science. That is that one social phenomenon is linked to another. For instance, a positivist might agree that young men are more likely to commit crime than young women because the boys were given 'greater freedom' by their parents, whilst dismissing other notions such as 'crime proves masculinity' In this example one observable phenomenon is linked to another. In essence, social facts influence human behaviour or as Babbie (1979, p.423) summed it up, 'some things are caused by other things.' Epistemological Assumptions Having made these ontological assumptions it is logical to understand that the indicators and validation of satisfactory evidence are to be found on the discovery of the existence of scientific laws which control and conduct social life. It is also logical to understand that the researcher should remain neutral as only objective knowledge or reality constitutes evidence. The researchers own beliefs and values must not be allowed to taint the investigation for genuine causes of behaviour. In order
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