1. Differentiate between objectivity and value neutrality in sociological research. 10
2. Critically examine Positivistic approach in sociological studies. 20
Model Structure 1.
● Define objectivity and value neutrality
● Objectivity means striving as far as possible to reduce or eliminate bias in the conduct of research.
● Value neutrality, as described by Max Weber, is the duty of sociologists to identify and acknowledge their own values and overcome their personal biases when conducting sociological research.
● Objectivity is an imperative of value-free sociology or positivism
● A positivist research has goals such as quantification, containment of social reality as facts, data analysis etc.,
● Invariably there must be objectivity in such research.
● Moreover, quantification in itself is a way to achieve objectivity
● Value neutrality is an imperative of non-positivists
● When using techniques such as observation or interview, there are some preconditions like ideology of the researcher, topic of the research, distance between researcher and researched exist
● Hence, objectivity is not possible. Value contamination is bound to happen
● In order to be value-neutral, sociologists must be aware of their own moral judgments and values, and avoid incorporating them into their research, their conclusions, and their teaching.
Model Structure 2.
(Note: Provide features of Positivist perspective in sociology. Also engage critically with these arguments as the directive in this question is ‘Critically Examine’)
● Definition of Positivistic Approach OR Emergence of Positivistic Approach
● Features of Positivistic Approach -
○ Empiricism and identification of surface reality
○ Cause and Effect analysis
○ Use of Scientific Methodology - Direct Observation, Data collection, etc.
○ Uncovering the laws that governs human behaviour
○ Grand theories explaining every phenomenon
● Proponents of Positivistic Approach -
○ Comte (social physics)
○ Durkheim’s Social facts
○ Spencer Organismic Analogy - Social Darwinism
● Criticism with EXAMPLES -
○ Neo-Kantians - Problems of Objectivity, Generalisation, Quantification
○ Phenomenologists - Alfred Schutz
○ Ethnomethodologists - Garfinkel
○ Symbolic Interactionism - G H Mead
○ Weber's Interpretativism
- Method of verstehen, causal pluralist method and Ideal types as an alternatives to positivist methods in sociology
○ Post-modernist like Foucault rejected grand theories in Sociology
● EXAMPLES ARE MUST IN CRITICISM:-
○ Multiple Meanings for Social action like marriage
○ Values may seep in - Marxists, Functionalists.