Sociological Analysis Introduction: Sociology is a systematic and scientific study of society. It focuses on different parts of society, and how it contributes to the entire equilibrium of society. Sociologists look into society from a different perspective and they analyze society in different ways. Some took a conflict perspective to view society, some took functionalists perspective. All these analyses are done scientifically and systematically as other natural scientists do. Sociologists are the scientists of society, who arrive at solutions to social issues and problems.
Sociological analysis is a systematic and organized analysis of human society, individuals and culture with a sociological perspective. It analyzes the cause and effect of the historical transformation of society. We have to view the factor and forces of social issues from a sociological perspective to begin a sociological analysis.
Types of sociological analysis
There are different ways of looking into society. There is no specific way to analyze society. We have to choose the most suitable way according to the problem that we choose to analyze. There are four main types of sociological analysis. Sociologists sometimes choose multiple types of analysis in a topic.
- Macro sociological analysis: Macro sociological analysis looks into society as a whole. It has a wide scope, broad in analysis. Macro sociologists look at a large number of the sector to study society. For example, if a sociologist’s studies the caste system within the Hindu social organization, the function, and the evolution of caste it is a macro-sociological analysis.
- Micro sociological analysis: Micro means an analysis that is narrow in scope, it focuses on limited phenomena. It focuses on the interaction between individuals. It is concerned with face to face social interactions. For example, a sociologist who studied the lifestyle of a particular sub-caste in a broad caste system is said to be a micro-sociological analysis.
- Quantitative analysis: It is a sociological analysis that studies society using numbers and figures or with the use of statistical tools. For example, if we study the consumer behaviour of youth in India (amount of consumption, income, educational level of youths).
- Qualitative analysis: it is the study of society by describing the situation in words or narrates the entire situation or problem. For example, a sociologist who studies marriage practices among Christian and describe the details of marriage practices like engagement, marriage day, etc.
Step to write a sociological analysis
- Choose a topic
The first step to a sociological analysis is to choose a topic. We have to choose a topic or a problem to analyze. Choose a topic that interests you. You have to choose a topic that is relevant and needs to analyze. The main aim is to choose a topic that serves the sociologists to contribute to the changes and evolution of society. You can choose topics related to social life. For example rural social life, urban social life, marriage, religion, etc.
2. Develop objectives
The next step is to write down your objectives. That is after you select the topic, you must concentrate on the main areas that you want to analyze within a topic. You have to take a general objective as well as specific objectives. Objectives are the driving factor of sociological analysis. For example, if we take marriage among Christians as a topic; we have to choose our general objective and that will be to analyze the marriage among Christians (in a particular area). And after this general objective, we have to choose our specific objectives. We may take, to study the marriage customs among Christian, to study the socio-economic factors of the respondents, to study the spacial factors involve in marriage, etc.
You can also add variables. There are two kinds of variables dependent and independent variables. After choosing variables you have to connect these two variables. For example, if the wage is an independent variable and gender is a dependent variable, you can relate how does the gender result in variation in a person’s wage or income. You have to relate the relationship between gender and wage.
3. Choose a theory
We have to choose a theory that relates to our topic. Sociologists choose different types of theory as their choice. For a powerful sociological analysis, we have to choose a theory. Without a theory, sociological analysis is not complete.
The following are the main sociological theoretical perspectives;
- Functionalist perspective
Functionalist theories view society as interdependent and interrelated parts that play a different function in society to maintain the social equilibrium and stability of the entire society. Without the proper functioning of any parts, the social equilibrium is not achieved. Functionalists look into these functions performed by the parts or aspects of society.
For example, if we look at culture as a topic. For functionalist culture is a way of life of people. It differs from one society to another. American culture is differing from Indian culture. According to the functionalists, Culture had various elements or parts that are related to one another. These interdependent parts can be named as norms, values, folklores, habits, lifestyles, customs, rituals, morals, etc. Famous anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski took a functionalist view to analyze society. He views the function that plays by different parts of society and how it maintains the overall stability of society. The people who share the same language, lifestyle, and values have a consensus and harmony.
- Conflict perspective
Conflict theories are one of the main theories used by sociologists to analyze the issues or contradictions in society. It views society as progressed through contradictions between people in society. And it is a continuous struggle between people to seek control over the resources and the overall society.
The famous sociologists Karl Marx took a conflict perspective to view society. We can put Marx theory to understand society. He opines that cultural values and ideas are created and sustained by the privileged groups to maintain their control over society. Marx views ideas are created by culture. That is the higher class use this ideology to perpetuate their needs. By doing this they maintain their dominance over the weaker section of society.
- Symbolic interaction
It is a micro-level sociological analysis that focuses on the interactions between individuals in a particular society. In other words, it is an analysis of face-to-face communication between two persons. It considers society as a total of interaction and communication between people.
For example, if we put symbolic interactive perspective to culture. This view took culture as a product of continuous interactions between people. They not only view the interactions but how we interpret those interactions. In which there are many symbols and processes like myths, rituals, and habits by which we assign different meanings to them. Symbols are the main driving factor in culture. These symbols may be how we greet others, our facial expressions, gestures, words, etc and how others interpret our symbols. For example, we shake hands to greet others. For example, we can study the relationship between manager and supervisor in a company through symbolic interaction theory.
4. Analysis and interpretation
After this, we have to analyze the data we collected for analysis. We have to classify, organize and tabulate our data (in case of quantitative analysis), case study, narration, (in case of qualitative data). In each represented data we have to explain our discussion, criticisms, arguments our interpretations, and findings. In this section, you have to write which group you interviewed or observed their attributes. If you choose a quantitative data collection you have to explain why you choose this in your analysis.
5. Use proof in your analysis
Using empirical evidence in your analysis strengthens your writing. You have to highlight your proof in your analysis. Prove your major findings and points through scientific evidence. You can choose a theory to support your points. Or you can frame your theory with empirical evidence. It has to be logical and rational evidence, otherwise, it didn’t consider as evidence. In this section, you have to present the findings in a more reliable, accurate manner. You have to convince your reader that you arrive at finding what you intended to do. You have to convince the reader that you consider the in-depth detail in your analysis
In every sociological writing, you have to write concluding marks. In conclusion, you have to write your major findings. It has to be a brief explanation of your topic, analysis, interpretation, data used, theory to support your evidence. It includes your all analysis in a nutshell. You can make suggestions in your conclusion. And also urge future sociologists to research your topics. You can even pose a question to the readers. That will motivate them to conduct other research in this field.
Sociological analysis is a well-structured process that is followed in an organized and systematic way. It has to be followed by different steps and clear. It will help the readers to understand the sociological perspective of different trends, issues. And it also contributes to the systematic analysis of society.