Sociology is the study of social rules and processes that bind and separate people not only as individuals but as members of voluntary associations, professional bodies, groups, and institutions.
One might argue that because the subject of matter of sociology is more difficult to study and interpret than the subjects pursued in other sciences, it does not mean the scientific method is not appropriate for the social sciences. The subject of matter of sociology undergoes continuous change. This fact alone portrays efforts at prediction difficult. For that of the Natural scientist, it should be noted that the problems encountered as biologists try to track the AIDS virus, as it too continually mutates. Sociology is a science just as much as biology and chemistry. Social Sciences, like natural and biological sciences, use a dynamic methodology. This simply means that a social scientist clearly states the problems he or she is interested in and clearly spells out how he or she arrives at their, his or her conclusions. Generally, social scientists ground the procedure in a body of existing literature. This is precisely how other sciences function. Like Natural Scientists, the role of a sociologist is to observe, measure and explain what can be observed and formulate theories when human behavior is perceived. Regardless of the fact that Natural Scientist experiment in labs, Sociologists too carry out experiments, while they are not in labs, sociologists interview, and question people and go about finding information in a direct way.
The ideas behind sociology have a long history and can trace their origins to a mixture of common human knowledge, works, art, and philosophy. Sociology is coming from the age of enlightenment – this was when people began to think and reason. It came out of the belief in the human ability to change i.e. humans can cultivate or culture their own actions. It also came out of the scientific revolution, this revolution challenged the belief in God, hence created the ideas that there were laws in nature. The Political and social revolutions led to ideas such as democracy, social equality and freedom of speech. A famous positivist Auguste Com Te believed that Sociology is a science. He thought it was the study of Human behavior based on principals and procedures and these procedures are similar to those of Natural Science. He also believed that humans were guided by the inevitable laws of ‘ Cause and Effect’ ( with every action there is a reaction ). Sociology has 6 major characteristics that can be an attribute to the belief that Sociology is a science. 1.) Sociology is empirical which means it can be observed and reasoned out. 2.) It is theoretical, which suggests Sociologists summarize their observation in abstract and logical observations or principles which can explain causal relationships. 3.) It is cumulative, which implies that Sociologists build on each other, this merely means because Sociology is ever changing, new theories are developed and so the expansion of older theories take place. 4.) It is objective because it puts aside all prejudices and bias’s. 5.) Sociologists detach themselves from individuals thus, it is Investigative, e.g. They don’t say whether an action is good or bad, They explain the good and explain the bad. 6.) Sociology is non-ethical, therefore, it puts aside prejudices and beliefs.
Realists such as Roy Bhaskar (1979), Andrew Sayer (1984), Keat and Urry (1982) believe that scientists try to determine the underlying structures and process that cause observable events (e.g. evolution). Sociologists try to do exactly the same, looking for social structures (e.g. in Marxism the economic base and superstructure of social classes) and processes (e.g. capital accumulation). Based on the following information, it is my opinion that Sociology is a science since it can be observed, measured and reasoned out.