Last Tuesday, I posted the preface of my Master’s Thesis on my blog. In an earlier draft, I wrote some thoughts about what I learned during my education in Sociology. In the end, I decided to delete that passage, but I saved it for publication on my blog.
So, below some thougths on what I learned about sociology:
[My] thesis completes my research master Social and Cultural Sciences, which I started upon my obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in sociology. In many ways, this thesis forms an accumulation of the lessons I learned. Three of those important lessons regard a trinity of a perspective on science, of how to theorize, and of method.
During my education, I developed a perspective on science, influenced by both Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn. Within the rules set by a specific paradigm, I attempt to elaborate upon the core idea(s) of such paradigm by asking new questions that build on existing ones, by using theories to formulate prelimirary answers to these questions, and finally by testing these new answers against empirical evidence with as much rigor as possible.
Regarding the formulation of explanations derived from theory, I was inspired by the principle of methodological individualism. Based on this principle, I learned the importance of analyzing social phenomena that are observable at the macro level by formulating explanations at the level of the individual.
Finally, regarding the method of research, I was taught both survey methodology and a variety of statistical tools that together can provide the rigor required to test the preliminary answers that were derived from theory.