Sociology is the scientific study of social structures and how they affect human behavior.
People who want to do impactful work may consider sociology as a field of study in college.
However, you don’t want to commit to a major before learning what to expect.
Luckily, most people find the information easy to understand.
Read on to learn 10 reasons most people don’t find sociology overly difficult.
Most scientists start sociology research in an attempt to answer questions about the human condition, especially as it pertains to human interactions.
How does society impact a person’s behavior?
We all exist as members of society, which makes it easy for most of us to understand the concepts of society.
As we learn things in sociology class about how people react in certain situations, such as peer pressure, it may hit close to home, allowing us to soak in the information more easily.
Not only are you studying society, but you are also studying your own behavior and what things may positively or negatively influence your personal decisions.
In the end, you can see how your actions fit into the larger picture.
Even areas of sociology that touch on foreign concepts become easier to understand based on the common human condition we all share, whether we live on a primitive island or in a large metropolitan area.
For example, all mothers experience a maternal instinct despite their upbringing.
2. Impactful Studies
Sociology aims to identify and solve large societal problems, which can incite passion in students, educators, and social workers to learn as much as possible and use the information to create change for the greater good.
Many people find additional energy to work when fueled by the motivation to contribute to society.
How Sociology Studies Promote Change
Sociologist Emile Durkheim wrote “Suicide: A Study in Sociology” in 1897 in an attempt to uncover in what ways societal factors impact the number of suicides in different groups.
This information has encouraged leaders to make changes that lower the suicide numbers of high-risk communities.
Since Durkheim found that soldiers commit suicide significantly more than civilians, the government provides more mental health resources for soldiers, focusing on discouraging suicide.
Many researchers have built on this work and updated it so that we can apply it to modern times and hopefully lower suicide rates.
3. Collaborative Environment
It makes sense that, since the field of sociology studies how people work in a group setting, people who follow a career in sociology work together often.
Researchers can critique and build off of each other to gather the best information possible.
Leaders use this information to learn about problems in society and present solutions.
Sociologists intervene when society fails individuals.
The best sociologists thrive in a collaborative environment and prefer working with people as opposed to working alone.
While in a team setting, you get to bounce ideas off of each other and have another set of eyes on your work that can point out mistakes you didn’t notice.
You can also hear things in new ways, improving your comprehension of complex sociology concepts.
4. Research Materials
A great part of sociology is how much material already exists on the topic.
There is a plethora of statistics, data, and studies to use in your work.
You won’t feel overwhelmed, though.
Since sociology narrows in on the study of social behavior, you will start to recognize names of the most common sociologists you will feel comfortable using as a reference.
You can obtain most of the resources for free online or through local libraries since most governments want the community to have access to the resources if they want to learn about the most current research.
Start your research by identifying your hypothesis and research topics.
Next, gather up materials and read through them to identify which ones will provide the best references.
Identify the information in your sources that both support and detract from your hypothesis.
At this point, you can analyze the material and make your unique conclusions.
As a scientific field, sociology uses the scientific method to perform standardized research.
The scientific method consists of seven steps.
After you become familiar with the seven steps of the scientific method, reading research and performing your own will become easy.
Step One: Ask a Question
First, the researcher presents a question that applies to the field of sociology.
For example, someone may wonder how growing up in a single-parent household impacts a student’s grades.
Step Two: Perform Research
The researcher must now actually go out and perform some research on the topic using the most up-to-date material available.
Step Three: Establish Hypothesis
Based on their research, a sociologist will attempt to answer their own question.
It’s important to note that a successful study does not mean that it matches your initial expectations but that you thoroughly covered the topic and presented the most honest answer.
Do not worry if the results don’t support your original hypothesis.
Step Four: Test Your Hypothesis (Experiment)
Set up your own experiment to make it as unbiased as possible.
You can help make your experiment unbiased by using double-blind tests and choosing a large focus group.
Step Five: Make an Observation
At this time, you will make an observation based on your experiment.
At this point, you merely state the facts and not what you conclude based on those facts.
Step Six: Analyze Results
Analyze the results of your experiment using your observation to determine whether your hypothesis was correct or not.
Keep in mind that correlation does not equal causation.
For example, you may observe that more children who grow up in single-family homes enjoy chocolate ice cream.
However, that doesn’t mean that they enjoy chocolate ice cream because they grew up in a single-family household.
Step Seven: Present Findings
Finally, you get to present your findings.
It’s important to clarify your methodology in the beginning and explain your processes.
Of course, you also want to make the material as simple to understand as possible.
5. Common-Sense Solutions
Many people think some sociology studies present common-sense findings.
The research allows people to put that commonsense fact about human interaction into calculable terms.
People who rely on logic will feel comfortable assessing the data in front of them and applying it to present-day situations.
Common sense derives from personal experience while sociology may not always fit common since it is based on a much broader perspective.
Luckily, they intersect more often than not.
6. You Have The Right Personality
Sociology may not require the most studying, but it takes a certain type of person to get through the job.
The best candidate has a high emotional IQ, excellent communication, and cultural competence.
High Emotional IQ
Sociology work puts people into high-stress situations that require a high emotional IQ to handle properly.
People with a high emotional IQ demonstrate the following traits:
- Social graces
- Good judgment
They also have a high amount of empathy that allows them to personally connect to the people affected by their work.
This helps them see things from multiple points of view and provide comfort when necessary.
Excellent Communication Skills
You need excellent communication skills to talk to the people you encounter throughout the workday, both professional colleagues and civilians.
Not only do you need to know how to express yourself, but you also need to master active listening and patience.
Persuasive skills also come in handy when asking for a grant or making a case to a judge.
Sociology requires people to work with a large number of people from varied backgrounds.
It’s important for anyone who plans to go into sociology to feel comfortable interacting with all different types of people, possibly even people who don’t speak the same language as you.
7. Ability To Narrow Down To Specific Interests
As you start your journey of studying sociology, you will learn the basics and most influential case studies.
The more you progress, the more you can narrow down your favorite topics to learn about the things you want to know.
Areas of sociology you can focus on include the following:
- Gender and Sexuality
- Race and Culture
- Social Psychology
The sociology of crime studies deviance or behavior that rejects both formal social norms (laws) and informal social norms (not saying “excuse me” after bumping into someone).
It attempts to discover why people become criminals and the best rehabilitation methods.
Crime falls under one of the following categories:
- Organized crime: large-scale criminal activity committed by a group, such as a mafia family or gang.
- Property crime: a crime that causes damage to a person’s property as opposed to the body, including graffiti and burglary.
- White-collar crime: business-level injustices performed by executives that usually involve dubious means of achieving financial gain thanks to greed and gluttony.
- Violent crime: when someone physically harms another person in some way, despite the intent.
- Victimless crime: offenses that don’t harm anyone else in any way but hurt the perpetrator, such as drug use.
Population And Economy
A large portion of sociology involves learning how to analyze data about different populations and the budget available to them.
The government uses this information the most, but it can also be quite valuable for people in advertising who want to target campaigns to a specific demographic.
You will also learn about how a person’s socio-economic class determines how they act.
Gender And Sexuality
Gender plays an important role in society, especially in the age of “Me Too” and a shockingly large gender pay gap.
A person’s gender identity also plays a large factor in how they fit into society, and how most people in society respond to that person.
Race And Culture
Many people have an interest in racial and cultural identity and how it impacts a person, especially in the areas of education and crime.
This area also covers immigration and how people adapt to new ways of living.
People must feel a part of the community if you expect them to be invested in its growth, so we need to learn when people feel a sense of alienation in order to fix the problem and encourage a sense of comradery among everybody.
Family sociology looks at how a person’s family structure predicts their future and how to best end the cycle of pain.
What happens when a child grows up in a household of drug addicts? Unfortunately, many become drug addicts themselves.
On the other hand, most children who grow up in foster care don’t go to college.
How do we find the balance to best handle each situation?
Social psychology studies social influence, social thinking, and social behavior to extrapolate data on topics such as groupthink and conformity.
Social psychology falls under more psychology curriculums than sociology curriculums.
8. Relatively Untechnical Terminology
As you study sociology, you won’t run into overly complicated jargon, especially not compared to the medical field.
You won’t need to memorize words like “morsicatio buccarum” or “pseudoepistaxis”.
That doesn’t mean you won’t need to learn sociology-specific vocabulary.
However, the terminology is more palatable than other fields.
Even people who struggle with their language skills can manage to get through a sociology textbook without too much trouble.
9. Grades Prove It
Sociology majors have high success rates due to less challenging coursework and fewer hours of studying.
While requirements vary based on the school, you do not typically need to complete upper math and science classes to obtain a degree in sociology.
Not needing to take Calculus III may contribute to the average 3.4 GPA of sociology majors.
To contribute to the high GPA of sociology majors, these students only reported studying a total of 12 hours a week on average compared to the 18.5 hours a week the average chemistry major studies.
If you are struggling with your sociology studies, use the resources available to you through your school.
They may offer free tutoring.
Your teacher may also give you opportunities for extra credit, especially if you show interest in local community efforts.
10. Career Opportunities
It’s easier to get through the coursework when you know that you have a nice career waiting for you when you finish.
Sociology majors have great career options, especially if they choose to move forward with higher education, such as a master’s degree or a doctorate.
Here are some of the most popular options for sociology careers:
- Corrections Officer
- Social Worker
- Government Research Analyst
A Corrections Officer watches over inmates and visitors at a correctional detention center.
Corrections officers don’t require a degree, and they receive an average salary of $47,440 per year.
The government projects jobs to go down 7% in the near future.
Social workers tend to family sociology matters, such as children not living in a safe environment.
They work to keep families together while also keeping everyone involved safe and healthy.
To become a social worker, you must get a master’s degree and go through two years of clinical work.
Social workers are in high demand with an estimated growth of 13%, and the average salary is $51,760.
Sociologists perform research in the field of sociology using the scientific method.
Sociologists may work for the government or educational institutions.
Sociologists make an average of $86,110 a year.
Experts expect a gradual 4% growth in demand.
Government Research Analyst
Analysts take the information from the sociologists and use it to suggest city planning and judicial systems that ensure the fair treatment of all people and proper treatment of criminals.
The average salary for a research analyst is $125,350, and they typically have a doctorate.
There is an average 6% increase in demand expected.
If you worry about sociology being an especially hard major, you can rest assured that, as long as you are willing to make the effort and you have the right personality traits for the field, you can succeed.
You can choose from a wide range of fields and career choices, so think about that now to set yourself on the right path toward your dream job.
When you work in sociology, you contribute to your community in a direct way, making it perfect for people motivated by making a difference.