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Assignment – I Answer the following in about 500 words each.

  1. What do you mean by social research? How is it different from 'common sense'?


Social Research vs. Common Sense

1. Introduction to Social Research: Social research is a systematic process of inquiry aimed at understanding, describing, and predicting social phenomena. It involves the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data to answer research questions and test hypotheses. Social research is conducted using rigorous methods and is often used to inform public policy, guide decision-making, and advance knowledge in the social sciences.

2. Characteristics of Social Research:

  • Systematic: Social research follows a structured and organized process, including the formulation of research questions, data collection, analysis, and interpretation.
  • Empirical: Social research relies on empirical evidence obtained through observation or experimentation, rather than on speculation or personal opinion.
  • Objective: Social research strives to be objective and unbiased, using methods that minimize the influence of personal beliefs or values.
  • Generalizable: Social research aims to produce findings that can be applied to a broader population or context, beyond the specific study sample.

3. Methods of Social Research: Social research employs a variety of methods, including surveys, interviews, experiments, and observations. These methods are chosen based on the research questions and objectives of the study. Statistical analysis is often used to analyze data and test hypotheses in social research.

4. Common Sense: Common sense refers to the knowledge, beliefs, and practices that are widely accepted in a society without the need for formal training or education. Common sense is based on personal experience, intuition, and cultural norms. While common sense can be useful in everyday life, it is often subjective, biased, and limited in scope.

5. Differences Between Social Research and Common Sense:

  • Systematic Approach: Social research follows a systematic and structured approach, while common sense is often based on intuition and personal experience.
  • Objectivity: Social research aims to be objective and unbiased, while common sense is influenced by personal beliefs, values, and cultural norms.
  • Generalizability: Social research produces findings that can be generalized to broader populations, while common sense is often based on individual or localized experiences.
  • Rigor: Social research uses rigorous methods and statistical analysis to ensure the validity and reliability of findings, while common sense may be based on anecdotal evidence or hearsay.

6. Importance of Social Research: Social research plays a crucial role in advancing knowledge, informing policy decisions, and addressing social issues. It helps us understand complex social phenomena, identify trends and patterns, and make informed decisions about social policies and interventions.

Conclusion: In conclusion, social research is a systematic and rigorous process of inquiry that aims to understand, describe, and predict social phenomena. It is distinct from common sense, which is based on personal experience and cultural norms. While common sense has its place in everyday life, social research provides a more objective and reliable way of understanding the social world.

  1. Discuss Gouldner's view on reflexivity.


Gouldner's View on Reflexivity

1. Introduction to Gouldner's Perspective: Alvin Gouldner, a prominent sociologist, introduced the concept of reflexivity to sociology. Reflexivity refers to the idea that social researchers should be aware of and reflect upon their own biases, assumptions, and values that may influence their research. Gouldner's view on reflexivity challenges the traditional notion of objectivity in social research and emphasizes the importance of self-awareness and critical reflection.

2. Critique of Objectivity: Gouldner critiqued the notion of objectivity in social research, arguing that it is impossible for researchers to be completely objective due to their own social location, background, and experiences. He argued that researchers bring their own biases and values to their work, which can shape the research process and outcomes.

3. Reflexivity as a Methodological Tool: Gouldner advocated for reflexivity as a methodological tool to address the limitations of objectivity. He argued that researchers should be reflexive throughout the research process, from formulating research questions to analyzing data and interpreting results. Reflexivity involves questioning one's own assumptions, biases, and values, and considering how these may influence the research process.

4. Role of Power and Politics: Gouldner also highlighted the role of power and politics in shaping social research. He argued that researchers should be aware of their own power and privilege and how these factors may influence their research. Reflexivity, according to Gouldner, can help researchers to acknowledge and mitigate the effects of power dynamics in their work.

5. Reflexivity in Practice: In practice, reflexivity may involve keeping a research journal to record thoughts, feelings, and reflections throughout the research process. It may also involve seeking feedback from peers and colleagues to gain different perspectives on the research.

6. Contributions and Criticisms: Gouldner's emphasis on reflexivity has been influential in shaping contemporary approaches to social research. However, his perspective has also been criticized for potentially leading to an overemphasis on the researcher's subjectivity and a neglect of the objective aspects of research.

Conclusion: In conclusion, Gouldner's view on reflexivity challenges the traditional notion of objectivity in social research and emphasizes the importance of self-awareness and critical reflection. Reflexivity encourages researchers to acknowledge and address their own biases and assumptions, ultimately leading to more rigorous and insightful research.

Assignment – II

Answer the following in about 250 words each.

  1. Explain the significance of ideal type.


The Significance of Ideal Type

1. Conceptual Clarity: Ideal types help clarify complex social phenomena by highlighting key characteristics and relationships. They provide a simplified model that allows researchers to analyze and understand social reality more effectively.

2. Comparative Analysis: Ideal types facilitate comparative analysis by providing a framework for comparing different societies, institutions, or behaviors. By using ideal types, researchers can identify similarities and differences across cases, leading to deeper insights into social dynamics.

3. Theory Development: Ideal types contribute to theory development by providing a basis for generating hypotheses and theoretical propositions. They help researchers formulate theories that can explain and predict social phenomena.

4. Practical Applications: Ideal types have practical applications in fields such as policy-making and organizational management. By using ideal types, policymakers and managers can better understand complex social issues and make informed decisions.

5. Critique and Reflection: Ideal types can also be used for critique and reflection. By comparing real-world phenomena to the ideal type, researchers can identify shortcomings and areas for improvement in existing social structures and institutions.

6. Limitations: Despite their utility, ideal types have limitations. They are abstractions that may not fully capture the complexity and nuance of social reality. Ideal types are also subject to the biases and assumptions of the researcher, highlighting the importance of reflexivity in their use.

Conclusion: In conclusion, ideal types are a valuable methodological tool in sociology and other social sciences. They help clarify complex social phenomena, facilitate comparative analysis, contribute to theory development, and have practical applications in various fields. While ideal types have limitations, they remain a useful tool for understanding and analyzing the complexities of social life.

  1. What is the evolutionist method? Discuss.


The Evolutionist Method

1. Introduction: The evolutionist method, also known as cultural evolutionism, was a prominent approach in anthropology and sociology during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It sought to understand human societies by tracing their development from simpler to more complex forms, often using a framework of stages or typologies.

2. Key Concepts:

  • Unilineal Evolution: Evolutionists believed that all societies progress through a series of stages, evolving from "savagery" to "barbarism" and finally to "civilization." This linear model of social evolution was influenced by Darwinian ideas of progress.
  • Typological Classification: Evolutionists classified societies into types based on their perceived level of development. For example, societies were often categorized as "hunter-gatherer," "pastoralist," or "agrarian," with each type representing a different stage of evolution.
  • Cultural Diffusion: While evolutionists emphasized internal development, they also recognized the role of cultural diffusion in the spread of ideas and practices between societies. However, diffusion was seen as secondary to internal development.

3. Criticisms of the Evolutionist Method:

  • Ethnocentrism: Evolutionists tended to evaluate societies based on Western standards of progress, leading to ethnocentric judgments about the superiority of Western civilization.
  • Simplification and Generalization: The evolutionist approach oversimplified the diversity of human cultures and histories, leading to generalized and often inaccurate conclusions about social development.
  • Lack of Empirical Evidence: Evolutionist theories were often speculative and lacked empirical evidence to support their claims. They relied heavily on armchair theorizing rather than rigorous fieldwork.

4. Legacy and Influence: While the evolutionist method has been largely discredited in modern anthropology and sociology, it has had a lasting impact on the development of these disciplines. Evolutionist ideas laid the groundwork for later theories of cultural evolution, diffusionism, and functionalism, and contributed to the development of modern ethnography and comparative sociology.

5. Conclusion: In conclusion, the evolutionist method was an influential approach in anthropology and sociology that sought to understand human societies as evolving through stages of development. While the method has been criticized for its ethnocentrism and simplification, it has had a lasting impact on the study of culture and society.

  1. Elaborate the comparative methods used by Redcliffe-Brown.


Comparative Methods Used by Redcliffe-Brown

1. Introduction: A.R. Radcliffe-Brown, a prominent British social anthropologist, is known for his contributions to the development of structural-functionalism. He emphasized the use of comparative methods to understand the underlying structures and functions of societies. Redcliffe-Brown's comparative approach focused on identifying similarities and differences between societies to uncover universal principles of social organization.

2. Comparative Methodology:

  • Cross-Cultural Comparison: Redcliffe-Brown emphasized the importance of comparing societies from different cultural backgrounds to identify common patterns and structures. He believed that by studying diverse societies, anthropologists could uncover universal principles of social organization.
  • Functional Analysis: Redcliffe-Brown used functional analysis to compare the functions of social institutions across different societies. He believed that all social institutions serve specific functions that contribute to the maintenance and stability of society.
  • Structural Comparison: Redcliffe-Brown also conducted structural comparisons to analyze the underlying structures of social systems. He focused on identifying the relationships and interconnections between different elements of society.
  • Historical Comparison: While Redcliffe-Brown emphasized synchronic (or cross-sectional) comparison, he also recognized the importance of diachronic (or historical) comparison. He believed that studying the historical development of societies could provide insights into the processes of social change and continuity.

3. Contributions and Criticisms:

  • Contributions: Redcliffe-Brown's comparative methods helped advance the field of social anthropology by emphasizing the importance of comparative analysis in understanding social phenomena. His work laid the foundation for structural-functionalism and influenced later anthropologists.
  • Criticisms: Redcliffe-Brown's approach has been criticized for its focus on functional analysis at the expense of historical and cultural context. Critics argue that his emphasis on universality overlooked the diversity and complexity of human societies.

4. Legacy: Despite criticisms, Redcliffe-Brown's comparative methods have had a lasting impact on the field of anthropology. His emphasis on cross-cultural comparison and functional analysis continues to influence anthropological research and theory development.

5. Conclusion: In conclusion, A.R. Radcliffe-Brown's comparative methods were instrumental in advancing the field of social anthropology. His emphasis on cross-cultural comparison and functional analysis helped uncover universal principles of social organization and contributed to the development of structural-functionalism.

Assignment – III

Write a note on the following in about 100 words each.

  1. Discuss Feminist empiricism.


Feminist Empiricism

Feminist empiricism is a philosophical and methodological approach that seeks to integrate feminist theory with empiricism, emphasizing the importance of empirical evidence in understanding gender issues. Here are key points about feminist empiricism:

1. Integration of Feminist Theory and Empiricism: Feminist empiricism seeks to bridge the gap between feminist theory, which emphasizes the social construction of gender, and empiricism, which relies on empirical evidence and scientific methods. It aims to bring a feminist perspective to empirical research, challenging traditional gender norms and assumptions.

2. Critique of Objectivity: Feminist empiricism critiques the notion of objectivity in empirical research, arguing that researchers' values, beliefs, and social identities can influence their research. It emphasizes the importance of reflexivity, or self-awareness, in research to acknowledge and address biases.

3. Focus on Gendered Experiences: Feminist empiricism focuses on the lived experiences of women and other marginalized groups, using empirical research to uncover and analyze gendered inequalities and power dynamics. It seeks to give voice to marginalized perspectives and challenge dominant narratives.

4. Methodological Pluralism: Feminist empiricism advocates for methodological pluralism, using a variety of research methods, including qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods, to study gender issues. It recognizes that different research methods have strengths and limitations and that no single method is sufficient to capture the complexity of gendered experiences.

5. Contributions to Feminist Scholarship: Feminist empiricism has contributed to feminist scholarship by providing a methodological framework for conducting empirical research on gender issues. It has helped to validate feminist claims through empirical evidence and has led to a greater recognition of the importance of gender in social research.

In conclusion, feminist empiricism is a valuable approach that seeks to integrate feminist theory with empiricism, emphasizing the importance of empirical evidence in understanding gender issues. It challenges traditional notions of objectivity and highlights the importance of reflexivity and methodological pluralism in research.

  1. Outline the features of ethno methodological research.


Features of Ethnomethodological Research

Ethnomethodology is a sociological approach that focuses on the study of how people make sense of their social world. Ethnomethodological research is characterized by several key features:

1. Emphasis on Everyday Practices: Ethnomethodological research focuses on the everyday practices and interactions of individuals, rather than on abstract social structures or institutions. Researchers seek to understand how people create and maintain social order in their daily lives.

2. Ethnomethodological Breaching Experiments: Ethnomethodologists often use breaching experiments to study social norms and expectations. These experiments involve deliberately breaking or violating social norms to see how people react and how social order is maintained or disrupted.

3. Focus on Interactional Order: Ethnomethodologists are interested in the micro-level interactions that make up the social order. They study how people use language, gestures, and other forms of communication to create shared understandings and meanings in their interactions.

4. Reflexivity and Self-Reflection: Ethnomethodological research emphasizes reflexivity, or the idea that researchers should be aware of their own assumptions and biases. Researchers are encouraged to reflect on how their own presence and actions may influence the social situations they study.

5. Analytical Techniques: Ethnomethodologists use a variety of analytical techniques to study social interaction, including conversation analysis, narrative analysis, and discursive psychology. These techniques help researchers uncover the implicit rules and structures that underlie social interaction.

6. Contributions to Sociology: Ethnomethodological research has contributed to sociology by highlighting the importance of the everyday practices and interactions that make up social life. It has challenged traditional sociological approaches that focus on macro-level structures and has provided insights into the dynamic nature of social order.

  1. Discuss ICT impacts in social sciences research.


Impact of ICT on Social Sciences Research

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has revolutionized the field of social sciences research in several ways:

1. Data Collection: ICT has made data collection more efficient and accessible. Researchers can now collect data through online surveys, interviews, and observations, reaching a larger and more diverse audience.

2. Data Analysis: ICT tools have enhanced data analysis capabilities, allowing researchers to process and analyze large datasets quickly and accurately. Statistical software and data visualization tools have made complex analyses more manageable.

3. Collaboration: ICT facilitates collaboration among researchers, allowing them to work together on projects regardless of geographical location. This has led to the emergence of global research networks and collaborations.

4. Access to Information: ICT has improved access to information and research findings. Online databases, journals, and repositories provide researchers with easy access to a vast amount of scholarly literature.

5. Communication: ICT has transformed communication in the research community. Researchers can now easily communicate with colleagues, share findings, and participate in academic discussions through email, online forums, and social media.

6. Ethical Considerations: ICT has raised ethical considerations in social sciences research, particularly regarding privacy, data protection, and informed consent. Researchers must adhere to ethical guidelines to ensure the responsible use of ICT in research.

In conclusion, ICT has had a profound impact on social sciences research, revolutionizing data collection, analysis, collaboration, access to information, and communication. It has opened up new possibilities for research and has led to advancements in the field. However, researchers must also be mindful of the ethical considerations associated with the use of ICT in research.

  1. What is Experimental research?


Experimental Research

Experimental research is a scientific method used to investigate cause-and-effect relationships between variables. It involves the manipulation of an independent variable to observe its effect on a dependent variable, while controlling for extraneous variables.

Key Features of Experimental Research:

  1. Controlled Environment: Experimental research is conducted in a controlled environment to ensure that only the independent variable influences the dependent variable. This often involves using a laboratory setting or controlled conditions.

  2. Random Assignment: Participants in experimental research are randomly assigned to different conditions or groups. This helps ensure that any differences observed between groups are due to the manipulation of the independent variable, rather than pre-existing differences between participants.

  3. Manipulation of Variables: The independent variable is deliberately manipulated by the researcher to observe its effect on the dependent variable. This manipulation allows researchers to establish a causal relationship between the variables.

  4. Measurement of Variables: The dependent variable is measured to assess the effect of the independent variable. Researchers use standardized measures to ensure the reliability and validity of their findings.

  5. Replication: Experimental research often involves replication, where the study is repeated to confirm the initial findings. Replication helps ensure the reliability and generalizability of the results.

Applications of Experimental Research:

Experimental research is used in various fields, including psychology, sociology, medicine, and education. It is used to study a wide range of phenomena, such as human behavior, learning, memory, and social interactions.


Experimental research is a valuable method for investigating cause-and-effect relationships in controlled settings. It allows researchers to establish causal relationships between variables and provides insights into various aspects of human behavior and the natural world.

  1. Discuss various sources of history.


Sources of History

Sources of history refer to the materials or evidence that historians use to study and reconstruct the past. These sources can be categorized into two main types: primary sources and secondary sources.

1. Primary Sources: Primary sources are firsthand accounts or evidence created during the time period being studied. They include:

  • Written Sources: Such as diaries, letters, official records, newspapers, and legal documents.
  • Visual Sources: Such as paintings, photographs, and maps.
  • Material Sources: Such as artifacts, buildings, and monuments.

2. Secondary Sources: Secondary sources are interpretations or analyses of primary sources. They are created after the time period being studied and include:

  • Books and Articles: Written by historians or scholars based on primary sources.
  • Documentaries and Films: That interpret historical events.
  • Encyclopedias and Dictionaries: Providing summaries and explanations of historical events.

3. Oral History: Oral history is another important source of history, consisting of firsthand accounts of events passed down through oral tradition. This includes interviews with individuals who have witnessed or participated in historical events.

4. Archaeological Sources: Archaeological sources include artifacts, structures, and other physical remains of past societies. These sources provide valuable insights into the material culture and lifestyles of ancient civilizations.

5. Digital Sources: In recent years, digital sources have become increasingly important in historical research. These include digitized versions of primary sources, online archives, and databases.

Conclusion: Sources of history are diverse and encompass a wide range of materials and evidence. Historians use these sources to reconstruct and interpret the past, providing insights into human societies, cultures, and events across time.

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