College sociology

Why do sociologists claim their knowledge is better than common views of society and society issues?

How would a sociologisy most likely respond to someone who says " The facts speak for themselves". Statement A or B and support your answer.

A. Because science is objective, the facts are always clear, and therefore, facts do speak for themselves.
B. Facts have no inherent meaning and need to be interpreted.

Thank You!!

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  1. I have been reluctant to respond to this because my bias. I am a physical scientist, and our concept of measurement and data is somewhat different from social scientists.

    I suspect that most social scientists do consider themselves to be following scientific analysis, and objective, and unbiased towards analysis, which lends to answer A.

    My bias tells me that Answer B creeps in when drawing conclusions. Margaret Mead, Kinsey come to mind. You can make your own judgment, but for graded material, I would stick to Answer A, or be banished to the back of the class.

  2. My education was in the social sciences, but I agree with Bobpursley.

  3. It depends on what you mean by "speak for themselves." If you find A > B, there is no problem in saying that A is greater on whatever dimension is being measured. However, when you expand your conclusions, the interpretation is less clear.

    Also various studies may contradict each other. Then the facts are not as clear. The data-gathering methods have to be explored to attempt find out why these differences occur.

    These articles might be helpful:

    http://www.members.cox.net/dagershaw/lol/DecisionTrap.html
    http://www.members.cox.net/dagershaw/lol/Prove.Point.htm
    http://www.members.cox.net/dagershaw/lol/Coincidence.htm

    I hope this helps a little more. Thanks for asking.

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    posted by PsyDAG

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