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BSOC-134: Methods of Sociological Enquiry

BSOC-134: Methods of Sociological Enquiry

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: BSOC-134/ASST /TMA /2022-23

Course Code: BSOC-134

Assignment Name: Methodology of Sociological Enquiry

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


There are three Sections in the Assignment. You have to answer all questions in the Sections.

Assignment – I


Answer the following in about 500 words each.


1. Explain the phenomenology perspectives in Sociology.

Ans) Phenomenology within phenomenological sociology is the study of the formal structures of concrete social existence as made available in and through the analytical description of acts of intentional consciousness. The object of such an analysis is the meaningful lived world of everyday life.


The task of phenomenological sociology is to account for or describe the formal structures of the given object of investigation in terms of subjectivity, as an object-constituted-in-and-for-consciousness. What makes such a description different from the "naive" subjective descriptions of the man in the street, or those of the traditional social scientist, both operating in the natural attitude of everyday life, is the utilization of phenomenological methods.


Social phenomenologists talk about the social construction of reality. They view social order as a creation of everyday interaction, often looking at conversations to find the methods that people use to maintain social relations.


The leading exponent of Phenomenological Sociology was Alfred Schütz. Schütz sought to provide a critical philosophical foundation for Max Weber's interpretive sociology by applying methods and insights derived from the phenomenological philosophy of Edmund Husserl to the study of the social world.[3][4][clarification needed] It is the building of this bridge between Husserlian phenomenology and Weberian sociology that serves as the starting point for contemporary phenomenological sociology.


However, the prominence of Weberian themes in the field does not mean that all versions of phenomenological sociology must be based on such. In point of fact, there is some historical evidence that would suggest that elements of Weberian sociology are themselves based on certain phenomenological themes; especially in regard to the theory of the intended meaning of an act, and ideas regarding theory and concept formation. For instance, Weber may have taken influence from Wilhelm Dilthey's theory of Weltanschauung, who may have also taken from Husserl's theory of meaning.


While Husserl's work was directed at establishing the formal structures of intentional consciousness, Schütz was concerned with establishing the formal structures of what he termed the Lebenswelt Husserl's work was conducted as a transcendental phenomenology of consciousness. Schütz's work was conducted as a mundane phenomenology of the social world. The difference in their respective projects rests at the level of analysis, the objects taken as a topic of study, and the type of phenomenological reduction that is employed for the purposes of analysis.


Ultimately these two distinct phenomenological projects should be seen as complementary, with the structures of the latter dependent on the structures of the former. That is, valid phenomenological descriptions of the formal structures of the lifeworld should be wholly consistent with the descriptions of the formal structures of intentional consciousness. It is from the latter that the former derives its validity, verifiability, and truth value .This is in keeping with Husserl's conception of phenomenology as "First Philosophy", the foundation, or ground, for both philosophy and all of the sciences.


Martin Heidegger characterizes Husserl's phenomenological research project as, "the analytic description of intentionality in its a priori;"as it is the phenomenon of intentionality which provides the mode of access for conducting any and all phenomenological investigations, and the ultimate ground or foundation guaranteeing any findings resulting from any such inquiry. In recognizing consciousness as having the formal structure of intentionality, as always having consciousness of an intended object, Husserlian phenomenology has located the access point to a radical new form of scientific description.


2. What are the basic elements of theory?

Ans) A social theory is described as a collection of related concepts that condenses and arranges information about the social world. To explain how the world functions, new theories are always being developed. People frequently apply ideas without explicitly stating them or designating them as such. When someone asserts that poverty is brought on by a lack of education or that a rise in crime is brought on by a reduction in conventional moral standards, they are stating hypotheses. These hypotheses are less methodical, poorly developed, and difficult to put to the test with actual data. Comparing social theories to layman's theories reveals how complex they are.


Since a theory is frequently mistaken for conjecture or a hypothesis, it continues to be until it is disproven. Theory becomes fact if the proof is provided. Facts are commonly believed to be unquestionably certain, definite, and self-evident in their meaning. The term "theory" refers to how facts are related to one another or are ordered in some meaningful way. Facts are organized and given meaning by theory. A hypothesis is made up of facts that have been arranged, put together, and viewed in connection to one another. Since theories are built on facts, they are not speculative.


A theory's facts can be rationally analysed, and relationships other than those stated in the theory can be inferred. We cannot be certain that this deduction is accurate, though. A conclusion like that is a hypothesis. It is necessary to verify the hypothesis before it may be included in a later theoretical structure. There is a close relationship between a theory and a hypothesis.


The Elements of Theory


Concepts, variables, statements, and 4) forms make up the fundamental building blocks of a theory. Although there are many different statements regarding what constitutes a theory, they all share these four characteristics.


Concepts: Concepts provide the foundation of theories. Ideas signify phenomena. Concepts assist in separating the aspects of the world that are relevant at the time. Concepts are defined in an organized manner. Definitions let us visualize the phenomenon that a notion stands for. It makes it possible for the researcher to observe the same event and comprehend what is being investigated.


As a result, all users of the concepts used to construct a theory attempt to understand what they signify. Contrary other sciences, sociology does not employ specific symbols to represent concepts; as a result, concepts are defined as carefully as possible to ensure that everyone understands what they mean. Theory concepts demonstrate abstraction.


Variables: The idea of a scientific theory should be used to describe the world's varied characteristics. We must see the relationship between variation in one phenomenon and variation in another in order to comprehend happenings. Variables are the properties of things that are physically manipulated in the physical sciences. In the social sciences, it refers to characteristics that are constant for each entity but are seen to vary in strength, quantity, or degree across samples and other aggregate groups. A variable measures a social construct, such as age, class, or another, in a form that allows for a numerical study of it. The crucial aspect of a variable is that it is not a constant and can reflect differences within the population.


Statement and Formats: A theory's concepts must be linked together, and it is via this linking that a theoretical claim is made. These statements provide an explanation of how and why events should be connected to one another while also describing how events represented by concepts are related to one another. These theoretical assertions make up the theoretical frameworks when they are gathered together.

Assignment – II


Answer the following in about 250 words each.


3. Explain the significance of ideal type.

Ans) Only the application of ideal types, in Weber's view, could result in an interpretative understanding. According to Weber, ideal typical conceptions aid in the development of our research-related assertion skills. Although it is not a hypothesis, it provides direction for the development of a hypothesis. Although it does not attempt to represent reality, it does provide a clear manner of doing so. The creation of ideal types takes into account reality. Only those components from reality that fit together logically and appropriately are chosen to build it. An ideal type is created by the one-sided accentuation of one or more points of view and the synthesis of a large number of diffuse, discrete, more or less present, and occasionally absent concrete individual phenomena that are arranged in accordance with those one-sidedly emphasized viewpoints into a cohesive analytical construct.


Utopias are the best kind. It is a fictitious idea that is not supported by reality. An ideal type is made up of an infinite number of elements that, while present in reality, are hardly ever or never encountered together in this particular way. The ideal type can be used to determine how closely it resembles or differs from reality. When used wisely, it can be highly beneficial to research in this way. Ideal type serves as a tool, not as a goal. Analysing these historically singular events is an endeavour. Thus, we can gain some understanding of how the universe functions by creating a rational ideal type. Then, by contrasting the ideal type with reality, let's take bureaucracy as an example, we can learn more. Instead of offering a picture of what a bureaucracy is or should be, we close by speculating on what it would look like if it were completely logical. By doing this, we can gain considerably more insight into the causes of the obvious meaninglessness in actual bureaucracy.


4. What is the evolutionist method? Name some thinkers who have used this method.

Ans) The historical approach was first employed in the latter part of the 19th century. It was during this time that the formal study of societies began to emerge. Early sociological theories of societies were evolutionary in character. The history of societies was written using the evolutionary approach. Those who applied the evolutionary approach in this way were interested in learning the origins of everything. They looked at society and cultures through the lens of societies evolving through several stages. The underlying presumption was that all societies progress along the same route. The development of society was seen in a linear fashion.


Herbert Spencer, an English philosopher, scientist, and anthropologist, was one of the pioneers in applying the theory of social evolution. Spencer wrote about the significant social changes using the historical approach. He discussed how population shifts caused society to transition from a simple to a compound one.


Similar to Spencer, Auguste Comte was a social visionary and philosopher from France. Comte wrote during the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution. He was attempting to comprehend the social changes that were occurring. He presented an evolutionary viewpoint on the evolution of society in his six volume work, Cours de philosophie positive. In his Law of Three Stages, he considers the beginnings of human thought using a historical perspective. He follows the emergence of all human cultures in this work from a theological to a metaphysical to a positivist stage, or a stage where scientific explanations predominate, before concluding.


Another well-known anthropologist who employed the evolutionary approach was Lewis Henry Morgan. He studied the roots of totemism, marriage, families, and other topics. James Frazer, whose research focused on the totemism's roots, is one of the other prominent names among evolutionists. Scholars like Bachofen, Kohler, and Durkheim were affected by his methodology.


5. Elaborate the comparative methods used by Durkheim and Redcliffe-Brown.

Ans) The comparative technique was first used correctly in a scientific sense by Durkheim, and it is essential to Durkheim's understanding of sociology. According to Durkheim, we must compare the situations and utilise the comparative approach to show that one phenomenon causes another. Cause-and-effect relationships must be established for sociological explanations.


Comparative methodology is best suited for sociology since social phenomena can elude the control of the experimenter. In an effort to elevate the comparative approach, Durkheim presented the premise that "a given result has always a single matching cause." For instance, a number of causes can contribute to suicide, yet each one only results in one specific kind of suicide. Altruistic suicide is caused by over-integration with society, and egoistic suicide is caused by under-integration.


According to Radcliffe-Brown, the goal of comparative anthropology or sociology is to investigate the various facets of social life as a foundation for the theoretical investigation of human social phenomena. Searching for similarities between similar social elements that have appeared in other civilizations, both in the present and in the past, is one of the key goals of the comparative method. The Australian Tribal Societies, according to Radcliffe-Brown, are split into oppositions based on totems.


Many other societies also employ animals and birds to categorise the groups, such as the Eaglehawk and Crow. We could ponder why these social distinctions are mentioned in relation to just two bird species. In various regions of Australia, Radcliffe-Brown had gathered numerous stories about Eaglehawk and Crow. In every one of them, the two are portrayed as rivals engaged in some type of conflict. There are many similarities to the storey of Eaglehawk and Crow in the Australians' stories, according to Radcliffe-Brown. The wombat and kangaroo legend originated in the area that borders South Australia.

Assignment – III


Write a note on the following in about 100 words each.


6. Discuss Feminist empiricism.

Ans) Feminist empiricism is a perspective within feminist research that combines the objectives and observations of feminism with the research methods and empiricism. Feminist empiricism is typically connected to mainstream notions of positivism. Feminist empiricism critiques what it perceives to be inadequacies and biases within mainstream research methods, including positivism. Feminist empiricism is one of three main feminist epistemological perspectives. The other two are standpoint feminism and post-structural/postmodern feminism.


In international relations rationalist feminism[clarification needed] employs feminist empiricism to explain the political landscape. Rationalist feminism examines state, transnational and institutional actors, and specifically looks at causal relationships between these actors and gender issues. Quantitative data is used to relate gender to these phenomena. This may be done by directly correlating gender data to specific state behaviours, or indirectly by examining a "gender gap" through indirect causal relationships. Popular perspectives linked to rationalist feminism within international relations include conventional constructivism and quantitative peace research


7. Elaborate the various stages of quantitative research.

Ans) Even though there are many types of variations between qualitative and quantitative research, there are still some stages that apply to both types of studies. Problem conceptualization, study design, data collecting, processing, and analysis, together with the interpretation of the results and drafting the research report, are examples of common interphases.


Both qualitative and quantitative research must go through each of these phases. There are, however, distinguishing characteristics that apply to quantitative and qualitative research, respectively. Therefore, despite the fact that both types of study go through these stages similarly, there are some distinctive variations between them. This necessitates the fundamental components of both quantitative and qualitative research.


There are particular stages of quantitative research for the time being. They are as follows:

  1. Problem Formulation

  2. Conceptualization

  3. Types of Variables and Their Mutual Relationships


8. Discuss ICT impacts in social sciences research.

Ans) Both students and academics today have specific learning demands and need a number of skills and capacities to succeed in this rapidly changing age of globalisation. Many elements of social science study were impacted by ICT. They can be divided into three groups, which are as follows:

  1. ICT application in pre-data analysis.

  2. ICT application in data analysis.

  3. ICT application in post-data analysis.


Pre-data analysis ICT application refers to situations where ICTs are applied on social science research tasks before the data analysis stage. Examples of ICT applications in pre-data analysis include the availability of articles, the availability of theses and dissertations, literature searches, content searches, literature tracking, and the collection of quantitative data. Quantitative data collecting, big data analytics, and big data. The following categories can be used to classify ICT applications in data analysis, which provide examples of how ICTs are applied to tasks at various stages of the data analysis process: quantitative and qualitative data analysis Last but not least, the phrase "ICT application in post-data analysis" refers to instances where ICTs are used for social science research tasks following the data analysis stage, such as compiling references and bibliographies.


9. What is survey?

Ans) In order to understand populations as a whole, surveys are methods for gathering information from a sample of people by posing appropriate questions. Surveys are a key source of data and insights for everyone involved in the information economy, including businesses, the media, the government, and academics. Millions of surveys are distributed annually. More firms are converting to digital solutions as gaining faster insights is crucial to corporate success. The most popular way to conduct survey research has been using online survey software for more than ten years. In addition to cost reductions, online surveys have a variety of benefits over more traditional ones, such paper surveys.


10. Discuss various sources of history.

Ans) This history's sources can range widely. On the one hand, history can be accessed through materials like official documents and accounts of past societies. History can also be learned via accounts of artefacts, attire, accessories, weapons, and other items. The type of sources utilised to learn about societies depends on the societies themselves. In complex civilizations as opposed to simple societies, sources such written accounts of societies, papers, government records, etc. are often available. In advanced societies, there is access to written information. A lot of information is frequently accessible through textual materials like official gazetteers, archives, etc. Simple societies lack written records because their technical progress is less advanced than that of complex ones. The sources that are available in this situation include artefacts, weaponry, clothing, or even oral histories, among others.

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