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the systematic study of human society.

Sociological Perspective

the special point of view of sociology that sees general patterns of society in the lives of particular people.

Global Perspective

the study of the larger world and our society's place in it.

High-income countries

the nation with the highest overall standards of living.

Middle-income countries

nations with a standard of living about average for the world as a whole.

low-income countries

nations with a low standard of living in which most people are poor.


a scientific approach to knowledge based on positive facts as opposed to mere speculation.


a statement of how and why specific facts are related.

Theoretical approach

a basic image of society that guides thinking and research.

Structural-functional approach

a framework for building theory that sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote stability.

Social structure

any relatively stable pattern of social behavior.

Social functions

the consequences of a social pattern for the operation of society as a whole.

Manifest functions

the recognized and intended consequences of any social pattern.

Latent functions

the unrecognized and unintended consequences of any social pattern.

Social dysfunction

any social pattern that may disrupt the operation of society.

social-conflict approach

a framework for building theory that sees society as an arena of inequality that generates conflict and change.

Gender-conflict approach

a point of view that focuses on inequality and conflict between women and men.


support of social equality for men and women.

Race-conflict approach

a point of view that focuses on inequality and conflict between people of different racial and ethnics categories.

macro-level orientation

a broad focus on social structures that shape society as a whole.

Micro-level orientation

a close-up focus on social interaction on specific situations.

symbolic-interaction approach

a framework for building theory that sees society as the product of the everyday interactions of individuals.

Positivist sociology

the study of sociology based on the systematic observation of social behavior.


a logical system that develops knowledge from direct, systematic observation.

empirical evidence

information we can verify with our senses.


a mental construct that represents some aspect of the world in a simplified form.


a concept whose value changes from case to case.


a procedure for determining the value of a variable in a specific case.


consistency in measurement.


actually measuring exactly what you intend to measure.


a relationship in which two variables change together.

cause and effect

a relationship in which change in one variable causes change in another.

interpretive sociology

the study of sociology that focuses on discovering the meanings people attach to their social world.

critical sociology

the study of society that focuses on the need for social change.


the personal traits and social position that members of a society attach to being female and male.

Research method

a systematic plan for doing research.


a research method for investigating cause and effect under highly controlled conditions.


a research method in which subjects respond to a series of statements or questions on a questionnaire or in an interview.

Participant observation

a research method in which investigators systematic observe people while joining them in their routine activities.


a simplified description applied to every person in some category.

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