Midterm Essay Examination essay

1. Defining the concept of sociological perspective, it is possible to say that it always offers to find a new fresh and creative approach to learning of so often overlooked or taken for granted aspects of social environment. It turns out that human experience has a lot of semantic levels, and things are not always the same as they seem. In this regard, basic premise of sociology is that an understanding of trends in the society in which we live, allows us to understand ourselves. Wright Mills has identified this property as the sociological imagination – the ability to consider the own life experiences and personal difficulties in the context of the structural organization of society and the historical era in which we live. Moreover, Mills also points out that our personal problems and social issues are superimposed and intertwined, forming a large-scale structure of social and historical life.

2. Describing the difference between folkways, mores and taboos, it is good to mention that mores are usually more strictly followed than folkways, for instance. Folkways are related to the usual and ordinary conventions, which we follow in our daily activities. People who violate the convention, we regard as ”˜outsiders’, and even call them ”˜strange’ people. However, as a rule, we do not attach moral significance of the conventions. For example, we can assume people in dirty clothes uncouth, but not immoral, and we can consider careless and inattentive, but not angry, people who are late for an appointment. Thinking about mores, we can mention that mores combines in itself norms of morality. For instance, attending religious places in the nude, a person will offend many people, in spite of their religion or culture because it is considered to be immoral to visit a church in scanty clothing. Observing folkways and mores, it is time to say that some kinds of behaviors are considered to be taboo in our society because our education and culture absolutely forbids them. For instance, it is a well-known fact that incest is a taboo in U.S. culture, while it is considered to be a norm in some African tribes.

3. The ten social institutions are family, religion, law, politics, economics, education, science, health care, army, and mass media. Briefly explaining the assumptions that functionalist and conflict theorists have about social institutions, we can state that functionalists consider social institutions as well-established ways of meeting and following universal group needs, while conflict theorists understand social institutions as the primary means which help the elite to maintain its highly privileged position.

Each institution is built around a standard solution to a particular set of problems. Institution of the family focuses on reproduction, socialization, and material support of children; economic institutions are aimed at the production and sale of goods and services, while political institutions are directed at protection of citizens from each other and from external enemies.

4. In an ideal case there should be made the eight steps in the research model. These steps are:

1) to select, and 2) to identify the problem or question of the research because the range of issues which are open for social research is as vast as the range of models of human behavior.

3) to review the literature because a presence of additional information will help to make a research in more qualitative way.

4) to formulate a hypothesis. In the formulation of operational definitions scientists clothe abstract ideas in forms that enable to evaluate them.

5) to choose a proper research method. For instance, depending on the nature of hypotheses, scientists can develop a plan of the experiment, conduct interviews, observe human behavior in certain situations, study results and the available historical evidence, or use these procedures in various combinations.

6) to collect the data. Implementing this step into practice, it is necessary to remember that the collected data should fill a requirement of validity and reliability.

7) to analyze the results. As soon as researchers have access to a required data, they will analyze them to find answers to the questions inherent in their research project. The analysis involves finding significant relationships between the facts found out during the study.

8) to share the results. This step helps researchers to publish their findings in press, or to make their findings known to wide public, while this step suggests emergence of new questions which stimulate further research.


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