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A Methodology for Twenty-First Century Sociology

Joel Smith
Social Forces
Vol. 70, No. 1 (Sep., 1991), pp. 1-17
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/2580058
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2580058
Page Count: 17
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A Methodology for Twenty-First Century Sociology
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Abstract

The premise of this article is that sociology suffers from continuous quarrels over methodological doctrines that have become foci for contesting camps. I examine four such doctrines - quantitative and qualitative, survey and comparative-historical methods, ethnomethodology, and micro-macro phenomena - and conclude that all reify false distinctions and, therefore, are not appropriate principles for guiding research. I suggest, instead, that research requires a clear sense of problem and purpose and that, when this condition is met, we must use logic to resolve several recurrent dilemmas that occur in all studies. To improve sociological research, those solutions need to be devised for each study and not adopted routinely.

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