Essay on the Limitations of Scientific Method Used in Sociology

(3) Intangibility of Social Phenomena. The social phenomena are not external tangible things that can be identified directly by our senses. We cannot see or touch relations. We cannot isolate our units in a laboratory. Customs cannot be handled and institutions cannot be measured, religion can­not be preserved in a museum and values cannot be demonstrated.

(4) Complexity of Social Data. The social research is about man and his social behaviour and activities. Human behaviour is influenced by many factors: physical, social, psychological, etc., and the observer is simply confused with the complexity of data. No two persons are exactly alike. Hence generalisations are difficult to make.

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(5) Unpredictability. Social behaviour is irregular and unpredictable. Society is dynamic. It is an ongoing process. Therefore, we cannot formulate laws that hold good for all societies and for all times and circumstances. Predictions are hence difficult to make.

(6) Problem of Objectivity, in social sciences the observer is a part of his data. He may have his own ideas, opinion, prejudices which are difficult to control. Hence objectivity is difficult to maintain.

Hence, sociology, in addition to the scientific method makes use of other methods such as the comparative method, the statistical method, the social survey method, the case study method, ques­tionnaire and interview methods and the functional method in order to obtain more reliable knowl­edge about phenomena.

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