What is Sociology?

Quick Links

Purchase the booklet

The booklet, is available for purchase through our Bookstore.

Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. Sociologists investigate the structure of groups organizations, and societies and how people interact within these contexts. Since all human behavior is social, the subject matter of sociology ranges from the intimate family to the hostile mob; from organized crime to religious traditions; from the divisions of race, gender and social class to the shared beliefs of the common culture.

While the humanities and the arts also frequently examine and reflect on the social world, sociology is distinct because it is a social science. It uses theoretical frameworks and scientific methods of research to investigate the social world and test hypotheses with empirical data. Sociological methods include systematic observation, in-depth interviews and ethnography, conversational analysis, content analysis of both written and visual documents, survey research, and statistical analysis. The results of sociological investigations help in the development of new theories and inform social policy, programs and laws.

*This text is an excerpt from 21st Century Careers with an Undergraduate Degree in Sociology.