The thoughts of Auguste Comte (1798-1857), who coined the term sociology, while dated and riddled with weaknesses, continue in many ways to be important to contemporary sociology. First and foremost, Comte's positivism — the search for invariant laws governing the social and natural worlds — has influenced profoundly the ways in which sociologists have conducted sociological inquiry. Comte argued that sociologists (and other scholars), through theory, speculation, and empirical research, could create a realist science that would accurately "copy" or represent the way things actually are in the world. Furthermore, Comte argued that sociology could become a "social physics" — i.e., a social science on a par with the most positivistic of sciences, physics. Comte believed that sociology would eventually occupy the very pinnacle of a hierarchy of sciences. Comte also identified four methods of sociology. To this day, in their inquiries sociologists continue to use the methods of observation, experimentation, comparison, and historical research. While Comte did write about methods of research, he most often engaged in speculation or theorizing in order to attempt to discover invariant laws of the social world.
This course introduces basic concepts and methods of sociology
This course focuses on the applied aspects of sociology and is intended for sociology majors in the applied concentration. Students will learn to apply the concepts, theories and methods of sociology to better the human condition. Problem-solving techniques, research applications and conflict resolution strategies will be used to examine issues in nongovernmental organizations, businesses, government, social-service and social-movement organizations. (3 crs.)
Basic methods of sociology for production and analysis of data
The PhD Program in Organizational Behavior (joint with Harvard Business School) offers training in the theory and methods of sociology or psychology combined with the study of business operations and with empirical research in organizational settings.
Basic principles and methods of sociology are introduced