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Theoretical Perspectives in Sociology


The Structural-functionalism approach is an outline for developing theories guided by the hypothesis that the society is a multifaceted system whose entities work together geared to promote steadiness. The 2 primary components of the approach are relatively stable, social structure, patterns of behavior, and the social functions; this refers to consequences for operations of the entire society. This approach likens society to the human anatomy, with various parts of society considered being interdependent, similar to body organs. The approached is criticized for idealistic and conservative scrutiny of society, its ignorance of conflicts or diversity as natural aspects in reality and its bias toward equilibrium.

Conflict theory

This approach forms the outline for building theories based on assumptions that societies are complex entities characterized by conflict and inequality, which generate social variations. Power and privileges are distributed irregularly by social race, gender, class, age, and sexual orientation and often such inequalities are emphasized in various community institutions, for instance, education. It understates the level of stability, cohesion and ignores competition.

Symbolic interactionism

This approach, symbolic interactionism forms a theoretical outline based on the supposition that the society is constantly recreated as man constructs reality through interactions. This approach overstates subjective foundation of society; it has a weak examination of inequality while ignoring material variations between cabals, social and structure forces. In critically reviewing this perspective, it must be emphasized that the focal point is on how individuals experience the society. The approach denies people to examine the effects of broader social structures in an individual’s life.

Qualitative and quantitative research

Qualitative Research


This form or research is significant during the initial stages of an analysis or study where the researchers might be unsure of precisely what is to be focused or studied. This form of research does not require a strict design operation plan before commencing. This allows the researcher to let the study run naturally. The other advantage to this research is that the researcher gains further detailed and rich information in a form of complete written description or visual proof, such as photos. The research evaluates the context and social sense and how it impacts on individuals, an advantage in social sciences.


All researchers of studies who utilize qualitative research are heavily drawn in the processes that give them a subjective perspective of the studies and their participants. They interpret the research according to their biased perspectives that skews the information gathered. The last demerit is that this research approach is time consuming and may last for long, years if not months.

These approaches focus the researcher’s concentration on defined types of questions of theories of how society is structured, why because each provides a varying explanation about certain patterns found in a society.

Quantitative Research


This form of research allows its researchers to make measurements and analyze the information they collected. The link between dependent and independent variables is studied in a detailed manner. This is an advantage because the researchers are more focused on the findings of their research. The research may be used to investigate hypotheses in experiments given of its capability to statistical measures of information.


The main demerit of quantitative researches is that the contexts of the study and experiments are ignored. It does not study elements in a natural scene or explore the meaning these elements have for various people as the qualitative researches. Another demerit of the method is that large samples of the population have to put under studied; the extensive the sample researched, the more accurate statistically the results will turn.

Supposed I was to study police brutality, I would use interviews as my methods of research. The advantage of conducting interviews for research it investigates issues in quite in depth means and adds a human aspect to impersonal data, which would be essential when developing a rapport with my interviewees.

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