Chapter 1: The Sociological Perspective
Chapter one introduces important sociological concepts, such as sociological
imagination and the five key concepts of sociology: social structure, social action,
functional integration, power, and culture. Social structure is the pattern of
relationships, social positions, and the number of people in a group. Social action
refers to the way in which someone's actions are coordinated with his or her
environment. Functional integration is the interdependence among the parts of a
social system. Power is the ability of one party to get other parties to do its will, or
to ensure that it will benefit from these other parties' actions. Finally, culture is the
language, norms, values, beliefs, knowledge, and symbols that comprise a way of
life. The Persian Gulf War can be used to illustrate all of these terms. It is a good
example of how divergent social forces collide, sometimes creating conflict.
Chapter one also examines the history of sociology. The American and French
revolutions, as well as colonialism and the Industrial Revolution, had a lot to do
with disrupting the status quo, in turn creating an environment ripe for the
development of sociology. Thinkers emerged with different sociological theories.
Karl Marx, Émile Durkheim, Max Weber, and George Herbert Mead were notable
contributors to early sociology. For a long time, conflict theory, structural-
functionalism, and symbolic interactionism dominated sociological thought.
Sociologists today build on founding theories to form their own perspective on social
life. Many sociologists today are employed as researchers, policy analysts, and
interpreters of social phenomena. Sociologists make us aware that global issues
have local consequences.
Chapter 2: Methods of Sociological Research
Chapter two examines sociological research, defining what it constitutes and
describing the process by which it is undertaken. Some of the steps in the research
process are defining the problem, reviewing the literature, forming a hypothesis,
collecting data, analyzing the data, and drawing conclusions. Validity is the degree
to which a study measures what it purports to measure, while reliability is the
degree to which a study produces the same results when repeated. Quantitative
research refers to research involving formally measurable phenomena, and