There are three ways to do sociologicalresearch. One way is positivist sociology, which is the study of society basedon scientific observation of social behavior. Positivist research discoversfacts through the use of science. Science is a logical system that develops knowledgefrom direct, systematic observation. Positivist sociology is sometimes called empiricalsociology because it is based on information that we can verify with our fivesenses. Another type of research people can do is interpretive sociology.
Thatis the study of society that focuses on discovering the meanings people attachto their social world. The last type of research is, critical sociology, whichis the study of society that focuses on the need for social change. The three of them differ in manyways, but I think the most useful way to do sociological research is interpretivesociology. The reason I think this is because in reality society is an ongoinginteraction, and people construct reality as they attach meaning to theirbehavior.
It does not reject science completely, but it does not change thefocus of research. Interpretive research focuses on people’s understanding oftheir action’s and their surroundings. Interpretive sociology counters thatreality is subjective, in other words, constructed by people in the course oftheir everyday lives. It is most useful because it favors qualitative data, orresearchers’ perceptions of how people now days understand the world aroundthem.
Qualitative data is data that shows your qualities. For example, thesoftness of your skin, the color of your hair, or the color of your hair. Interpretive sociology has asymbolic-interaction approach, meaning that it is a framework for buildingtheory that sees society as the product of the everyday interactions ofindividuals. As we define our surroundings, we create reality, including whatwe think of others as well as what we think of ourselves.