Sociology and Value

Value-free: The exclusion of any influence from the researcher on the findings of research. This implies that what is left, if values are removed, is fact.

  1. Three distinct forms of question:

    Is sociology value free?

    Can sociology be value free?

    Ought sociology to be value free?

  2. Links to previous/current work:

    Positivism; the nature of scientific research

    Methods in sociology.

    Family values/ideology.

    Debates in education; for example, 'equality of opportunity'.

  3. What are you really being asked to do with this topic?

    The questions above are easily answered.

    Is? No.

    Can? No.

    Ought? This itself is a question containing a value.

    They are not really what needs to be considered. The 'real' problem is the extent to which sociology is/can/ought to be value free.

  4. Three main questions to ask:

    How do values get into research?

    What are the main sources of our values?

    How can values be restrained?

  5. Key concepts to apply:

    For how use selection/choice.

    For sources use researcher attributes/culture.

    For restraint use awareness/criticism.

  6. Using the 'Imposition Problem'.
  7. Factors affecting choice: Gender, Ethnicity, Age, for example.
  8. Controlling values: Bias, Prejudice, points of view.
  9. Taking Sides: Becker, Feminism, Socialism.
  10. Impossible but worthwhile?

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