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Role of Sociologist

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The Roles of the Sociologist

Like all scientists sociologists are concerned with both collecting and using knowledge. As a scientist the sociologist's foremost task is to discover and organize knowledge about social life. A number of full time research sociologists are employed by universities, government agencies, foundations or corporations and many sociologists divide their time between teaching and research. Another task of the sociologist as a scientist is to clear away the misinformation and superstition which clutters so much of our social thinking.

Sociologists have helped to clear doubts about hereditary, race, class, sex differences, deviation and nearly every other aspect of behaviour. By helping replace superstition and misinformation with accurate knowledge about human behaviour sociologists are performing their most important role. Sociologists make sociological predictions. Every policy decision is based upon certain assumptions about the present and future state of the society. Most social science prediction consists not of predicting specific developments as the astronomer predicts an eclipse but of forecasting the general pattern of trends and changes which seem most probable. All such predictions or forecasts should be offered with certain humility for no certainty attends them. Instead social scientists offer them as the best most informed guesses available upon which to base our policy decisions and expectations for the future. Sociological prediction can also help to estimate the probable effects of a social policy. Every social policy decision is a prediction. A policy is begun in the hope that it will produce a desired effect. Policies have often failed because they embodied unsound assumptions and predictions.

Sociologists can help to predict the effects of a policy and thus contribute to the selection of policies which achieve the…...

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