Free Text: Social Problems Continuity and Change
Here are a bunch of materials to help you learn about sociology. These may be study guides to help you with tests and essays. They are also valuable if you are just interested in understanding the field better.
One of the more confusing elements of learning sociology is the difference between a "perspective" and a "theory." Look. Sociologists study human behavior through three distinctly different lenses. We study structures in relation to their function and dysfunction. We study structures as they relate to power and their inherent conflicts and we study interaction. These are the three perspectives: Functionalism, Conflict and Interactionism. The perspectives provide a direction for study. Theories are the tools we used to describe social phenomena and to make predictions through which to test hypotheses. Sociologists in practice rarely refer to the perspectives, but the perspectives are important to know when learning sociology as a discipline. The diagram above lays out the difference between perspective and theory.