SOCI1503 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Qualitative Sociology, Verstehen, Wilhelm Dilthey

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1 Aug 2016
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Lecture 4
Any animal as complex as humans is bound to be difficult
to fully comprehend.
Humans, human society, and human culture are all
constantly changing, which means the social sciences will
constantly be works in progress.
The contrast between positivist sociology and the
verstehen approach has been reformulated in modern
sociology as a distinction between quantitative and
qualitative methodological approaches, respectively.
Quantitative sociology is generally a numerical approach
to understanding human behavior.
Surveys with large numbers of participants are
aggregated into data sets and analyzed using statistics,
allowing researchers to discern patterns in human
behavior.
Qualitative sociology generally opts for depth over
breadth.
The qualitative approach uses in-depth interviews, focus
groups, or the analysis of content sources as data
sources.
These sources are then analyzed systematically to
discern patterns and to arrive at a better understanding
of human behavior.
Drawing a hard and fast distinction between quantitative
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