Wednesday, 10 March 2021


In a general sense, sociology can be considered a science. The term ‘science’ refers to the body of knowledge obtained by methods based upon systematic observation. As a science, sociology engages in an organized, systematic study of phenomena (human behaviour) to enhance understanding. Sociology is different from other sciences in certain respects. Hence Sociology is a science. According to Auguste Comte and Durkheim, Sociology is a science because it adopts and applies the scientific method. Sociology does make use of scientific methods in the study of its subject matter. It is a science because of the following reasons:

  i. Sociology is generalizing and not a particularizing or individualizing science: Sociology does not study every event that takes place in society. It tries to find out the general laws or principles about human interaction and association, about the nature, form, content, and structure of social groups and societies. Sociology tries to make a generalization based on the study of some selected events.

ii. Sociology adopts scientific methods: Sociology studies social events by adopting the scientific approach. Though it cannot experiment with men in a laboratory, man’s social behaviour is still subject to scientific investigation like a natural phenomenon. It employs scientific methods as scales of sociometry schedule, case study, interview, and questionnaire, which are used to measure social phenomenon quantitatively.

iii. Sociology is factual: Sociology studies social relationships and processes. Its general problem is an interpretation of social behaviour. In this way, sociology makes a scientific study of social facts and discovers the general principles involved. Hence, Comte went to the extent of describing sociology as social physics.

iv. The Principles of sociology are universal: The laws of sociology prove true at all times and places. As long as the conditions do not change, the rules are devoid of any exceptions. For example, the principle that individual disorganization and social disorganization interact upon each other is valid at all times and all places.

v. Sociological principles are veridical: Thus, the laws of sociology prove true at every verification and re-verification. Anyone can examine Their validity. For example, one may consider the rule that an increase in divorces indicates the acceleration of marital disorganization. Whenever the number of divorces is increasing, marital disorganization would be showing an upward trend. This principle may be examined anywhere. Statistics concerning divorces may be obtained.

vi. Sociology discovers cause-effect relationships: In the preceding example of divorces and marital disorganization, divorce is an effect, and family disorganization is one cause. Sociology has found a cause-effect relation between the phenomena of divorce and marital disorganization. In the same way, sociology traces cause-effect relationships in social disorganization and other sensations, activities, and processes in society, and then formulates laws concerning them. Thus, sociology finds an answer to ‘how’ and ‘why’ of social processes, social relationships, and social phenomena.

vii. Sociology can make predictions: Based on cause-effect relationships, sociology can anticipate the future and make predictions concerning social relationships, processes, phenomena, etc. If disorganization in the families becomes pronounced, it can make predictions concerning divorces, illicit relationships, and many other things. Knowing the cause-effect relationships may determine ‘what will be’ based on ‘what is.’

viii. Sociology is pure science, not a lied science: Sociology is concerned with the acquisition of knowledge about society, the experience that can be used to better society. The sociological knowledge we acquire about society will be a valuable tool for social workers who want to build a better society. Sociology is a science of society that investigates social relationships, institutions, and behaviours and attempts to formulate general principles.

ix. Sociology is a categorical and not a normative discipline: Sociology does not make any kind of value judgments. Sociology is ethically neutral. As a science, sociology is necessarily silent about questions of value.

x. Sociology is an independent science: Sociology has now emerged into an independent science. As an independent science, it has its field of study, boundary, methods, and concepts.

xi. Sociology is a relatively abstract science and not a concrete science: Sociology is more concerned with the form of social events and their patterns. It is not interested in the concrete-manipulation of social events.

xii. Sociology is both a rational and empirical science: As an empirical science, sociology stresses experience and the facts resulting from observation and experimentation. Sociologists employ a wide variety of techniques to collect and analyze data of human experience. As a rational science, it gives importance to reason, and theories result from logical inference.

From the preceding description of sociology, it is evident that it is a science. Scientific study is possible only through abstract forms. Sociologists think in terms of abstractions. The laws of these abstract forms determine the reactions of concrete objects. The laws of sociology are virtually universal and veridical. Sociologists try to discover cause-effect relations in social, family, and replies, besides other social facts. Sociology has wrought a revolutionary change in man’s assumptions and has brought hope for future harmony in human society.


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