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social policy research paper examples

99 Social Policy Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

🏆 best social policy topic ideas & essay examples, 🎓 good research topics about social policy, ⭐ simple & easy social policy essay titles, ❓ social policy essay questions, 💯 free social policy essay topic generator.

  • Social Welfare Policy That Facilitates Reduction of Poverty and Inequality in the US In spite of the scale of the increase in the inequality, the political class in the US rarely discusses this subject in the public.
  • The Formation of Social Policy Based on Theoretical Assumptions The realization by the criminal justice system that members of the public can participate cooperatively in prevention of crime has led to the formulation of social policies to guide them in their participation.
  • Resource Distribution: Corporate Social Responsibility Policy History The vision of the organisation is to improve the lives of the most susceptible individuals in Australia and across the world by mobilisation of the humanitarian support.
  • Growth and Motivation Theories: Application in Personal Behavior, Professional Goal Setting, Social Policy Formulation Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory of Growth Maslow’s hierarchy of needs growth theory states that, an individual has needs that need to be fulfilled at various levels for the individual to achieve personal and professional […]
  • Understanding Public Policy. Social Impact of Policy Provided that the mistake is made at one of these stages, the policies of the government will be more likely to fail.
  • Global Poverty, Social Policy, and Education Defining, compare and contrasting modernization and dependency theories in relation to development and global poverty stating suggestions and causes of poverty globally Modernization theory as the name suggests, refers to modernizing or venturing to new […]
  • Contemporary Issues in Social Policy The emergent problems need to be addressed from the perspective of treating the most vulnerable members of society, as well as define to what extent the unemployment rates and low-income rates influence the accomplishment of […]
  • Social Policy Regimes and Enhance the Social Conditions Social policy is a discipline that employs multidisciplinary approaches in the study of problems that affect social processes and the welfare of human beings in society.
  • Globalization, Social Policy, and Social Provision In the developed countries on the other hand, majority of the citizens are able to provide for themselves, and therefore the nature of social provision is a matter of governments’ responsibility to all citizens rather […]
  • The New Deal and Social Welfare Policy The great depression This is one of the major problems that led to the need to adopt the New Deal. This led to a large influx of people moving to the urban centers, and this, […]
  • Social Policy: Living on a Minimum Wage One of the primary findings is that the minimum wage is not a living wage. Another matter of concern is the fact that minimum living affects children and their prospects in life.
  • Child Development and Global Social Policy In order to distinguish between the rationales for actions on behalf of children’s development, it is first necessary to determine the meaning assigned to the dimensions of development, as well as the concept of development […]
  • Poverty, Inequality and Social Policy Understanding The roots of inequality can relate to both welfare and some other factors, for example, the judiciary. Therefore, the principle of equality is violated, and social norms cannot be considered to be respected.
  • Facebook as a Social Network and Its Privacy Policy The case study explains that the privacy policy and privacy settings on Facebook are such that they considerably violate the privacy of the social network’s users by selling their data to third parties for a […]
  • American Social Security Policy Evaluation In this essay, the key concepts of program evaluation will be applied to the social security policy of the U. Thus, the issue of control and degree to which the freedom of fund usage should […]
  • Australian Social Policy and Child Protection The social policy of Australia considers the protection of children and the quality of their lives a central concern. The initiative of the policy is to change the way Australian child protection agencies approach the […]
  • The Social Policy of Injection Room in Australia North Richmond has a history of major drug abuse problems, which led the locals to protest and lobby for the establishment of a SIF as a way of reducing harm and fatalities in the area.
  • Social Policy for Human Well-Being The main aim of the United States social health care policy is to improve the welfare of Americans in terms of enhancing social security, housing, and education and health care services.
  • Social Security as a Public Policy Problem in the US Reforming the system is equivalent to doing justice for the generations of the nation that’s known for such actions. This is the same procedure that was followed in Chile, a country that was the first […]
  • Society and Social Policy Analysis A corollary is that scientists debating the ethical use of their discoveries are not necessarily the best people to judge the use of that science; the best people to do so are those who understand […]
  • The Social Security Pensions Policy in the EU The impact of aging on the long-term profitability of the system in turn causes the savers to go for the private pension schemes and this reduces the size of the pension scheme.
  • Social Policy as an Academic Subjective Is Both Descriptive and Analytical To single out the study from the others, it should be stressed that the core subject of this course revealed through the examination and research of the policy delivery and its successfulness.
  • Irish Ideology and Social Policy The understanding of the factors which limit the responsibility of any state in providing welfare services to its people call for the analysis of the merits and demerits of the mixed welfare economy.
  • Social and Economic Policy Program: Globalization, Growth, and Poverty Topic: Sustainable approaches to poverty reduction through smallholder agricultural development in rural South Africa and Kenya The majority of the poor in Africa, and indeed the whole world, live in rural areas.
  • How a State’s Political Culture Affects Its Social Policy To analyze the influence of political culture on the state’s social policy, one must define precisely what political culture is, and what the nuances of its existence are.
  • Health and Social Care Practice and Policy It should begin by evaluating the effectiveness of the current initiatives in attaining various outcomes: William Burns can access health services with the equal quality as the other people and sleeping rough on health to […]
  • Social Policy and Family Resilience This requirement is due to the fact that policies largely regulate families’ daily life and the ways in which the professionals are supposed to interact with the family members.
  • Social Welfare Policy Analysis and Letter to Legislator Social welfare policy development should integrate economic and social aspects to protect vulnerable groups through social assistance and services in the current social-economic environment. Thus, the formulation of social welfare had to balance the economic […]
  • Lee Enterprises Inc.’s Social Media Policy Case The NLRB concluded that the company’s action was within the law since the employer sent offensive messages that failed to involve protected concerted activity. The company intended to use the employee to facilitate the creation […]
  • Demographic Change and Intergenerational Relations in Families: Findings and Social Policy Implications
  • Alternative Sexual Orientation: Evolution of Social Policy From the Conservative Era to Contemporary Times
  • Relationship Between Sociology and Social Policy
  • Health and Social Policy: An Overarching Policy Objective
  • Education and Social Policy: Academic Outcomes and Additional Social, Economic, and Political Conditions
  • How Child Protection Legislation Has Changed Social Policy
  • Economic Inequality, Social Policy, and a Good Society
  • Social Work and Social Policy: Immigration and Protection
  • Business Power and Social Policy: Employers and the Formation of the American Welfare State
  • Citizenship: Social Policy Constructs Personal Lives
  • Global Economic Trends, Development, and Social Policy
  • External Liberalization, Economic Performance, and Social Policy
  • Criminological Theory and Social Policy: Crime and Social Policy’s Impact
  • Families, Welfare and Social Policy
  • Women, Social Policy, and Alcohol Treatment
  • Poverty and Its Relationship With Social Policy
  • Factors Influencing Social Policy
  • Implementing Social Policy Through the Criminal Justice System: Youth, Prisons, and Community-Oriented Policing
  • Advancing the Human Right to Food: Social Policy and the Politics of Hunger, Welfare, and Food Security
  • Child Labor, Idiosyncratic Shocks, and Social Policy
  • Assess the Relationship Between Sociology and Social Policy
  • European Court and Social Policy of the European Union
  • The Relationship Between Sociology and Social Policy
  • Cultural Attitudes Regarding Social Policy
  • Balancing Economic Freedom Against Social Policy Principles: EC Competition Law and National Health Systems
  • Child Abuse-Reflection and Social Policy Analysis
  • Employer Preferences and Social Policy: Business and the Development of Job Security Regulations
  • Corruption, Bureaucratic Failure, and Social Policy Priorities
  • European Social Policy and Europe’s Party-Political Center of Gravity
  • Sectoral Social Dialogue and European Social Policy: Empirical Analysis and Prospects for Development
  • Economic Competitiveness and Social Policy in Open Economies
  • How Political Ideology Influences Social Policy
  • The Basis for Social Policy: Human Needs for Security, Education, Work, Health, and Wellbeing
  • Conservative Political Philosophy and Social Policy
  • European Integration and External Constraints on Social Policy: Is a Social Charter Necessary
  • Gender, Class, and Social Policy in the 21st Century
  • Children’s Living Arrangements From a Social Policy Implementation Perspective
  • Bearing Tales: Networks and Narratives in Social Policy Transfer
  • American Social Policy and Social Change
  • Digitalization, Computerization, Networking, Automation, Future of Jobs, and Social Policy in Japan’s Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • What Is the Importance of Social Policy?
  • How Has Child Protection Legislation Changed Social Policy?
  • What Are Examples of a Social Policy?
  • Does Social Policy Contribute to Economic Growth?
  • What Social Policies Are Most Important?
  • How Does Political Ideology Influence Social Policy?
  • What Are the Goals That Define for Social Policy?
  • Does Social Policy Through Rent Controls Inhibit New Construction?
  • What Are Some Policies That Impact Social Work?
  • How Did Social Developmentalism Reframe Social Policy in Brazil?
  • What Are the Implications for Social Policy of the Changes Occured in Structure and Dynamics of Family Life in Britain?
  • How Does Social Policy Impact Student Live?
  • What Are the Characteristics of Social Policy?
  • Which Welfare Change and Social Policy Theories Strengthen the Welfare State Provision?
  • How Does the Irish Famine Shape Irish Social Policy?
  • Why Do Emerging Economies Need Social Policy?
  • How Did the New Racial Politics and Social Policy in the Nixon Years, and Reagan and Bush Years Affect Women and People of Color?
  • Why Does Social Policy Need Subjective Indicators?
  • What Is the Relevance of Social Policy to Social Care Work?
  • Which Comes First in the Development of Policy Addressing Discrimination Against a Particular Group of Persons – Cultural Change or Policy?
  • What Is “Public Policy”? Why Is It So Important to the Work of Government?
  • How Does Social Policy Affect Society?
  • What Social Policies Influence Poverty?
  • Does Social Policy Meet Social Needs?
  • What Are Some Examples of Social Policies That Can Enact Social Change?
  • Why Is Social Policy Important to Social Work?
  • What Factors Influence Policy-Making?
  • Do Social Welfare Policies Reduce Poverty?
  • What Are Examples of Public Policy Issues?
  • Is Abortion a Social Policy?
  • Chicago (N-B)
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IvyPanda. (2023, January 31). 99 Social Policy Essay Topic Ideas & Examples. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/social-policy-essay-topics/

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Social Policy Research Paper Sample

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Society , Discrimination , Sexual Abuse , Family , Criminal Justice , Victimology , Children , Crime

Published: 2020/10/22

Social policies including the Safe Harbor bill are beneficial to the society and individuals but there are some negative effects that may arise from such policies. Safe harbor bill aims at protecting youths from sexual predators in Minnesota. Sex trafficking is a serious issue in the society with young girls being manipulated by a person the trust and love. In this case, the society is full of child victims who need strict laws to protect them and view them as victims rather than criminals. As much as one may say that this is an expensive program, research conducted by University of Minnesota and Indiana State University shows that in the long run it will be self-funding. With time, the rescued persons will be able to find employment opportunities and help support other girls who have been through the same situation (Reid, 2012). The society has undergone a lot of strain as young girls undergo sexual exploitation. Their loved ones turn out to be the people who cause them harm and pain. Therefore, the bill will help the society become a better place than is now. Those who participate in sexual exploitation will have a hard time getting away or even recruiting sexual victims. The individuals rescued will have a chance to turn their lives around and find a decent working environment safe for them and their families (Bergman, 2012). However, the bill in question aims at providing support network services that requires funding of about $13.5 million in two years (Reid, 2012).This is a lot of money to be raised in two years and may strain the economy of the state. Once the women and children are rescued from the sexual exploitation, there is need for treatment and housing. The society may have to undergo the strain of having to contribute one or the other to the expense incurred in the social policy program.

Bergman, A. L. (2012). For Their Own Good? Exploring Legislative Responses to the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and the Illinois Safe Children Act. Vanderbilt Law Review 65, 1361- 1400. Reid, J. A. (2012). Exploratory review of route-specific, gendered, and age-graded dynamics of exploitation: Applying life course theory to victimization in sex trafficking in North America. Aggression and Violent Behavior 17(3), 257-271.

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social policy research paper examples

You may have heard talk of 'social policies' in the news, or when elections come around. But what are social policies, and what role do they play in sociology? We will define social problems and outline the differences between them and sociological problems.We will touch on the sources and some examples of social policies. We will explore the relationship between sociology and…

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You may have heard talk of 'social policies' in the news, or when elections come around. But what are social policies, and what role do they play in sociology?

  • We will define social problems and outline the differences between them and sociological problems.
  • We will touch on the sources and some examples of social policies.
  • We will explore the relationship between sociology and social policy.
  • Finally, we will examine a number of sociological perspectives on social policy.

Social policy definition in sociology

First things first, let's clarify what we mean by social policy.

Social policy is the term given to government policies, actions, programmes, or initiatives that are intended to address and improve social problems . They are designed for human welfare and deal with a wide range of areas, from education, health and employment to crime and justice. (See Sociological Theories for more information.)

The difference between 'social' and 'sociological' problems

Before we understand the various types of social policies or how sociology influences them, we should understand the difference between social problems and sociological problems. This distinction was made by Peter Worsley (1977).

Social problems

According to Worsley, a ‘social problem’ refers to social behaviour that leads to public friction or private misery. This includes poverty, crime, anti-social behaviour, or poor education. Such problems may attract the government to create social policies to address them.

Sociological problems

Sociological problems refer to the theorising of social behaviour using sociological explanations and terms. Social behaviour does not have to include social problems; for example, sociologists may try to explain ‘normal’ behaviour such as why people choose to attend university.

The presence of social problems, therefore, means that they are also sociological problems, as sociologists try to explain the issues and find potential solutions. This is where the role of social policy is important; sociologists can influence social policies by offering explanations and assessing policies’ effectiveness, e.g. in reducing juvenile delinquency.

The relationship between sociology and social policy

Sociology has a significant impact on the creation and implementation of social policies. This is because many social policies are based on sociological research, which is conducted by sociologists to try and find an explanation of a social problem. Very often they also try to find solutions to such social problems, which is where ideas for social policies can arise.

Let us assume that there is a set minimum wage put in place for the whole of the UK. Sociologists may find that those living in the UK's capital cities, i.e., London (England), Edinburgh (Scotland), Cardiff (Wales), and Belfast (Northern Ireland) are at greater risk of poverty and unemployment, due to the higher cost of living in those cities relative to the rest of the country. To reduce this likelihood, sociologists may suggest a social policy that raises the minimum wage for people living and working in these cities.

Sociologists are likely to produce quantitative social research to support the creation of the above social policy. For example, they may cite statistics on income, employment rates, and costs of living. They may also present qualitative social research e.g. interview or questionnaire answers and case studies , depending on the length and depth of the sociological research.

Quantitative data collected by sociologists are likely to be useful for the identification of trends, patterns, or issues, while q ualitative data can help find out the causes of such issues. Both types of data can be extremely valuable for governments and policymakers.

Sources of social policies

Ideas for social policies are generated all the time, usually in response to growing social problems. Groups or factors that influence the creation of new social policies include:

Government departments

Political parties

Pressure groups (also known as interest groups)

Global organisations such as the European Union (EU), United Nations (UN), or World Bank

Public opinion or pressure

Sociological research (discussed above)

Types of social policy in sociology

Social policies can take the form of laws, guidelines, or controls. They can be designed to take immediate effect, or they can gradually bring in changes, depending on the social policy itself.

Let us now consider social policies themselves.

Examples of social policy

The best way to understand social policies is to look at concrete, real-life examples. Below, you can find examples of different types of social policies in different sectors.

Education and social policy in sociology

Since 2015, the school-leaving age has been 18 in England. This is to reduce and prevent unemployment among young people.

Health and social policy

Implementation of the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948 - comprehensive, universal and free healthcare for all.

Since 2015, nobody can smoke in a vehicle if there is someone under the age of 18 in the vehicle.

Environment and social policy

The UK government announced a sales ban on new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, to achieve net-zero vehicle emissions by 2050.

Family and social policy

The introduction of W orking Family Tax Credits in 2003 by New Labour provided a tax allowance for families with children, married or unmarried, and encourage both parents to work (rather than just a male breadwinner).

The Sure Start programme, which started in 1998, provided health and support services for low-income parents with young children.

Social Policy, A girl working on her laptop in a library, Vaia

Theories on social policy in sociology

Let's move on to consider sociological perspectives on social policy. These include:

functionalist

interactionist

and postmodernist perspectives.

We will look at how each of these views the role and impact of social policy on society.

Positivism on social policy

Followers of positivist theories believe sociological researchers should provide objective, value-free quantitative data that reveals social facts . If these social facts reveal social problems, then social policy is a way to 'cure' such problems. For positivists, social policy is an effective, scientific way to address social problems that have been discovered using scientific methods.

Collecting data that reveals social facts is also a way for positivists to uncover the laws that govern society. An example of a positivist sociologist is Émile Durkheim , who was also a functionalist.

Functionalism on social policy

Functionalist theorists believe that social policy is a way to keep society functioning , as it addresses problems within society and helps to maintain social solidarity . According to functionalists, the state acts in the best interests of society and uses social policies for the overall good of everyone.

The sociological discipline plays an important role in this, as it provides objective, quantitative data that reflect social problems. Sociologists uncover social problems through research, not unlike doctors diagnosing an illness in a human body, and suggest solutions in the form of social policies. These policies are implemented as an attempt to 'fix' the social problem.

Functionalists like to address specific social problems as they arise, often called 'piecemeal social engineering'. This means they work on one issue at a time.

New Right on social policy

The New Right believes in minimal state intervention , particularly in the issue of welfare and state benefits. They argue that too much state intervention creates a dependency on the state and makes individuals less inclined to be independent. New Right thinkers claim that people need to have a sense of responsibility and freedom to solve their own problems.

Charles Murray, a key New Right theorist, believes that overly generous and dependable state benefits, such as financial aid and council housing, encourage 'perverse incentives'. This means the state encourages irresponsible and free-loading individuals by unconditionally giving state benefits. Murray states that o ver-reliance on the state leads to crime and delinquency, as people relying on the state do not need to seek employment.

Therefore, the New Right is in favour of cutting welfare and state benefits so that individuals are forced to take initiative and provide for themselves.

Contrast the New Right perspective with the functionalist perspective; functionalists see social policy as benefiting society and maintaining social solidarity and cohesion.

Social Policy, Bags of food, Vaia

Marxism on social policy

Marxists believe that social policy is a way of upholding capitalism and the interests of the bourgeoisie (the elite ruling class). The state is part of the bourgeoisie, so any social policies are designed to benefit only the interests of capitalists and capitalist society.

Marxists believe social policies have three main results:

The exploitation of the working class is masked by seemingly 'generous' social policies that make the state look like it cares

Through giving workers money and resources, social policies keep the working class fit and ready for exploitation

Social policies that alleviate working-class struggles are a way to 'buy off' opposition to capitalism and prevent the development of class consciousness and revolution

According to Marxists, even if social policies genuinely improve the lives of the working class, these advantages are limited or cut off by government changes and the overall capitalist agenda.

Marxist sociologists believe that sociology should work on highlighting social class inequalities through research. Since the state is biased and any social policies it enacts will only benefit the bourgeoisie, sociologists should take the initiative to counteract this bias in their research. This will help the working class achieve class consciousness and eventually result in revolution and the overthrowing of capitalism.

The Marxist perspective on family and social policy

Marxists particularly point out that social policies that claim to benefit the family do so in order to uphold ruling class interests - since the nuclear family raises and socialises the next generation of workers, it benefits capitalism to invest in it.

Feminism on social policy

Some feminist sociologists believe that social policy upholds patriarchal structures and the interests of men at the expense of women. They argue that patriarchy influences the state, so social policies are designed to keep women subordinated while uplifting men's interests.

According to feminists, social policy frequently has the effect of restricting women's rights, harming women, or perpetuating gender stereotypes. This can be seen in instances such as family and divorce policies, unequal parental leave, austerity cuts, and gendered taxes, all of which unfairly burden and/or negatively affect women and their livelihoods.

However, there have also been many social policies created to alleviate or eliminate gender inequalities based on feminism , especially liberal feminism, which argues that it is through legal and social changes that women can achieve gender equality. Examples include:

Women's right to vote, passed in 1918

The Equal Pay Act of 1970

Radical feminists, on the other hand, do not think that women can achieve true gender equality in society as society is inherently patriarchal. F or them, social policies will not address the issues faced by women.

Interactionism on social policy

Interactionists believe sociological research should be focused on micro-level interactions between individuals. It should strive to understand human behaviour by understanding people's motivations. An important facet of interactionism is the theory of the self-fulfilling prophecy, which states that individuals are more likely to act in a certain way if they are 'labelled' and treated in that way.

Followers of this perspective believe there is too much emphasis on labels and 'problems' within social policy, which doesn't lend itself to true understanding.

The idea of the self-fulfilling prophecy has been used to acknowledge biases and prejudices in the education system , especially where deviant children are labelled or treated as deviant, and so become deviant.

Postmodernism on social policy

Postmodernist theorists believe that sociological research cannot influence social policy. This is because postmodernists reject notions of 'truth' or 'progress', and consider concepts that we take to be objective and inherently true, e.g. equality and justice, as socially constructed.

They do not believe in the inherent human needs that social policies are created to address - such as health , nutrition, education, work/employment, etc. - and therefore have no contribution to make towards social policy.

Social Policy - Key takeaways

  • Social policy is a government policy, action, programme, or initiative that is intended to address and improve upon a social problem.
  • A social problem is a social behaviour that leads to public friction or private misery. A sociological problem refers to the theorising of (any) social behaviour through a sociological lens.
  • Social policies can take the form of laws, guidelines, or controls, and can come from a variety of sources, such as the government, global organisations , public pressure, etc. Sociological research can also influence the creation of such policies.
  • Social policies can be enforced in a number of areas, such as health , education, environment, and family.
  • Positivists, f unctionalists, t he New Right, Marxists, feminists, i nteractionists, and p ostmodernists all have differing views on social policy.

Frequently Asked Questions about Social Policy

--> what are the types of social policy in sociology.

Social policies can take the form of laws, guidelines, or controls. They can be designed to take immediate effect, or they can gradually bring in changes, depending on the social policy itself.

--> What is social policy?

Social policy is the term given to government policies, actions, programmes, or initiatives that are intended to address and improve upon social problems. They are designed for human welfare and deal with a wide range of areas, from education to health, crime, and justice.

--> What is an example of social policy?

An example of a social policy implemented in the UK is the creation of the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948, to provide comprehensive, universal, and free healthcare for all.

--> What is the importance of social policy?

Social policy is important as it addresses and attempts to solve social problems that people struggle with.

--> Why do we need social policy? 

We need social policy for human welfare and to deal with a wide range of areas, from education,  health and employment to crime and justice.  

Final Social Policy Quiz

Social policy quiz - teste dein wissen.

What is social policy?

Show answer

Social policy is the term given to government policies, actions, programmes, or initiatives that are intended to improve upon social problems. They are designed for human welfare and deal with a wide range of areas, from education to health and crime and justice.

Show question

Name three groups or factors that can influence social policy.

Any three groups or factors are acceptable from the following: government departments, political parties, pressure groups (also known as interest groups), global organisations, public opinion or pressure, and sociological research.

How does sociology influence social policy?

Sociology influences social policy through research. Sociological research is conducted by sociologists to try and find an explanation for a social problem. Very often they also try to find solutions to such social problems, which is where their ideas for social policies can arise.

Which type of data is best for identifying trends, patterns or issues in sociological research?

Quantitative data.

What is a 'social problem'?

A ‘social problem’ refers to social behaviour that leads to public friction or private misery. 

What is the positivist perspective of social policy?

The positivist perspective sees social policy as an effective and scientific way to address social problems that have been discovered using scientific methods. Social policies are a 'cure' for social problems.

According to positivists, what kind of data should sociologists provide when researching?

Positivists believe sociologists should provide objective, value-free quantitative data that reveals social facts.

What is the functionalist perspective of social policy?

The functionalist perspective sees social policy as a way to keep society functioning. Social policies address social problems and therefore maintains social solidarity. Social policies act in the best interests of society as a whole, which is a key function of the state.

How is the functionalist perspective of social policy similar to the positivist perspective?

Both the functionalist and positivist perspectives on social policy state that sociologists should provide objective and quantitative data that reflects social problems. Both perspectives also believe social policies are a 'cure' to such problems.

New Right thinkers believe the state should have minimal intervention in which particular area of social policy? Why?

New Right thinkers believe the state should have minimal intervention in the issue of welfare and state benefits. Too much state intervention creates a dependency on the state, and individuals will be less inclined to be independent. For example, those given financial aid are less likely to seek employment.

According to Marxists, what should sociologists be researching, and why?

Marxists believe sociologists should research and highlight the social class inequalities in capitalist society. This is because the state is part of the bourgeoisie and is biased, therefore any social policies will only benefit the bourgeoisie. The research done by sociologists should help the working class achieve class consciousness, resulting in revolution and the overthrow of capitalism.

What is a frequent effect of social policy on women according to feminists?

Social policy frequently has the effect of restricting women's rights, harming women, or perpetuating gender stereotypes.

What is a key difference in how liberal feminists and radical feminists view social policy?

Liberal feminists argue that it is through legal and social changes that women can achieve gender equality. However, radical feminists do not think that women can achieve true gender equality in society as society is inherently patriarchal.

What is an example of micro-level research in the interactionist perspective of social policy?

An example of micro-level research is the theory of the self-fulfilling prophecy, which states that individuals are more likely to act in a certain way if they are 'labeled' and treated in that way.

What is the postmodernist perspective of social policy?

Postmodernists believe that sociological research cannot influence social policy. This is because certain fundamental concepts that we take to be objective and true (such as equality) are socially constructed. Social policies cannot be implemented on such a basis.

Who originally made the distinction between social problems and sociological problems?

Peter Worsley.

Finish the sentence: Sociological problems refer to...

The theorising of social behaviour using sociological explanations and terms.

What are three forms social policy can take? Are they immediate or gradual?

Social policies can take the form of laws, guidelines, or controls. They can be designed to take immediate effect or they can gradually bring in changes, depending on the social policy itself. 

Why do postmodernist theorists believe that sociological research   cannot   influence social policy?

This is because  postmodernists reject notions of 'truth' or 'progress',   and consider   concepts that we take to be objective and inherently true, e.g. equality and justice, as socially constructed.  

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Social Policy

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You will follow a discipline-plus model, where you are integrated into either the government (political science) or sociology departments.

The discipline-plus model provides you with greater exposure to a network of scholars outside your home discipline and to colleagues with applied policy interests that you might not experience in a single disciplinary department.

Students in the program have worked on an array of projects including the ways labor is divided in households; the inequality, fairness, and identity in American politics and US law; and race and social stratification.

Graduates of the program have gone on to positions as a research consultant at Vanderbilt University, deputy of education and workforce development for the Los Angeles County Supervisor, vice president of science at the Center for Policing Equity, and deputy director for the Anti-Recidivism Coalition.

Additional information on the graduate program is available from the PhD Program in Social Policy and requirements for the degree are detailed in Policies .

Areas of Study

Social Policy and Government | Social Policy and Sociology

Admissions Requirements

Please review admissions requirements and other information before applying. You can find degree program-specific admissions requirements below and access additional guidance on applying from the PhD Program in Social Policy .

Writing Sample

A writing sample is required as part of the application and should be a research paper approximately 20 pages in length. Additional requirements can be found on the Social Policy website .

Standardized Tests

GRE General: Required iBT TOEFL minimum score: 103 IELTS minimum score: 7

Theses & Dissertations

Theses & Dissertations for Social Policy

See list of Social Policy faculty

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  • A Research Guide
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40 Social Issues Research Paper Topics

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List of 40 Social Issues Topics for College Students

  • Religious gatherings and rituals
  • Country-wide strikes and protest
  • LGBTQ+ prides
  • Worldwide flashmobs
  • Social stratification
  • Gender discrimination and anti-harassment movements
  • The issues of orphanage kids
  • Pornography and AI sex dolls
  • Sex work or paid rape?
  • Virtual reality
  • Information overload: the society is overstressed with the amount of data
  • Demographic crisis
  • Beauty standards
  • Social isolation of people with HIV/AIDS
  • The fight against animal testing
  • Internet safety
  • Humanitarian missions
  • Fighting racism
  • The rights of ethnic minorities and native people
  • Internet safety and cybercrimes
  • The necessity of the death penalty
  • Fighting poverty in the world
  • Access to the drinking water in third world countries
  • Free education for everyone: shall it be implemented?
  • National identity versus globalization
  • Women rights and trans people rights
  • Obesity as an obstacle in social life. Fatshaming
  • Civil rights: shall they be expanded?
  • Abuse and neglect in asylums, orphanages, and care homes
  • Church and state: shall they remain separate?
  • The problem of bigotry in modern society
  • Immigration and resocialization of the immigrants
  • Sustainable consumption on a worldwide scale
  • School violence
  • Legalizing drugs: basic rights to choose or a danger to society?
  • Social isolation. The hikikomori phenomenon
  • Bullying at schools and colleges
  • Kids transitioning: shall it be allowed?
  • Advertisements: are they becoming too powerful?
  • The global impact of the third world countries

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Sample Research Paper On Political Context Of Social Policy

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Policy , Sociology , Politics , Issue , Development , Society , Social Issues , Context

Words: 1100

Published: 12/27/2020

ORDER PAPER LIKE THIS

Why is it important to understand the political context in which a social policy issue is embedded?

It is important to understand the political context in which a social policy issue is embedded when lobbying for social change. This is due to the inherent relationship between social issues and the direction of political will. The policies themselves take place within a political setting. The political situation of a society, and how it relates to social policy, are directly related. In this sense, social progress is generally directly linked to political motivations, and those in the political realm are careful to address social policy issues, as they are an underlying aspect of their ideologies (Leemer, 2004). For this reason, the political context in which social policy issues are embedded have a direct effect upon the outcome of the collective political will. When developing, implementing, and monitoring policies, the political environment is important to take into account, due to its relationship with the social issues that are being addressed.

Similarly, why is it important to identify and involve stakeholders in the policy development process?

For this reason, it is important to identify and involve stakeholders in the policy development process. This process allows the stakeholders to have a voice in how the policies that they are a part of are set forward. In understanding what policies these individuals hold as important, those that are set forward by the company can hope to better reflect the general consensus of those who hold a stake in this development. In this way, these individuals are able to be better represented, allowing the company as a whole to have better results when implementing their policies in the real world (Macmillan, 2014). In this way, they can hope to put forward more effective policies. By researching and analyzing the issue in this way, the issues can be better identified and defined, and better policy solutions and alternatives can be obtained. Research a social policy that is of interest to you. The policy can be one that has resulted in legislative action (such as the creation of new laws or regulations as a result of advocacy work), or it can be in the development cycle.

Describe the political environment and considerations surrounding the issue.

The issue of welfare is an important social policy. This idea exists in the political context of debate surrounding the government’s role in providing these services to individuals. The debate considers the need for these polices, but the issue centers around how much individuals should receive, and to what extent. Furthermore, the political context of redistributing the income of individuals within society is a difficult one to address, due to the importance placed on individuality and self-worth within the country as a whole.

What is the objective of the policy?

The objective of social welfare policy is to provide individuals within society with the means to, at the very least, feed themselves and their families. Furthermore, these programs extend into the medical field, allowing individuals who might not be able to afford it to seek medical treatment. In this way, these polices attempt to address the disparities within society and allow for the development of equal opportunities for individuals despite the income that their families make (Kanbur, 2006).

Who is the target audience (primary and secondary)?

The audience for this issue is primary, as it involves the whole of the country. The welfare of the individuals within the country has a profound impact on the country as a whole. By feeding, educating, and keeping individuals healthy these policies seek to improve the lives of people across the country. By doing so, these polices are an attempt to create a framework for the insurance that individuals within society will be able to have the basic necessities. Int his way, the target audience is those who have faced hardship and are in need of these forms of social policy to be implemented.

What impacts will it have, both positive and negative?

The positive impact that these policies have is that they help to improve the lives of the individuals who receive the aid. By providing these types of social safety nets, individuals within society are able to move beyond working day to day for basic necessities, providing the opportunity for growth upon the economic latter (Ki-moon, 2010). By providing these services, individuals are able to gain mobility within the economic landscape of the United States, allowing them to provide more for themselves and their families. The negative impact of these policies is that they take money to achieve, and so the setting forth of the policies essentially redistributes income from those who have more money and gives necessary items to those who might not have enough. The main issue with this type of policy is that it is difficult to administrate, and politically, it can be met with contempt by those who have money that is taken away (Skoepel, 1996). Furthermore, it is difficult to monitor those that the items are given to in order to make sure that they are not taking advantage of the programs.

Who are the stakeholders in the issue, and what are their stances on the policy?

The main stakeholders on this issue are those who have the money that would go to pay for these types of programs. This creates a divers amount of individuals, all with different opinions concerning the policies. Some agree with these polices, and argue that so long as the programs are monitored, they make sense to be implemented. Others, however, argue that the risks of these policies far outweigh the potential benefits.

Kanbur, Ravi. (2006). What’s Social Policy Got to Do with Economic Growth? Cornell. 1-18. Ki-moon, Ban. (2010). Combating Poverty and Inequality. Structural Change, Social Policy and Politics. 19-46. Leemer, Jim. (2004). What is Social Policy? Polity. 1-12. Macmillan, Crystal. (2014). Social Policy. The University of Edinburgh College of Humanities and Social Science. 1-2. Skoepol, Theda. (1996). The Politics of American Social Policy, Past and Future. University of Chicago Press. 309 - 340

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10 Social Policy Examples

social policy examples definition

Social policy refers to government policies aimed at meeting the needs of society. It aims to influence how society is structured and influences the rights, freedoms, and responsibilities of citizens.

The primary implementation areas of social policy are:

  • social security,
  • employment, and
  • migration (Blakemore, 2003).

Examples of social policies include raising the minimum wage , reforming marriage law, and mandating a minimum school leaving age of 16 years of age.

A government’s social policy is interwoven with the social values it aims to promote . For example:

  • A social democratic government may pursue social justice reforms, resource redistribution, and increased access to healthcare.
  • An economically liberal government is traditionally concerned with pursuing efficient social policies that encourage economic activity in order to raise living standards.

Social Policy Examples

Unemployment support – Raising the amount of money people earn when on unemployment benefits, or linking unemployment benefits to job applications.

Housing – Zoning laws, laws about housing standards, and rent-to-own policies are all designed to promote home ownership for the middle and working classes.

Neighborhood renewal – Local governments are often concerned with social policies linked to ensuring people have access to greenspace, entertainment, and sporting facilities.

Child and family support – Many governments will implement child support programs like childcare support programs to help families deal with cost of living pressures and encourage parents to re-enter the workforce.

Job training – Governments often implement job training programs for the unemployed to give them the skills to work. These may be free or subsidized for candidates who meet a certain criteria.

Poverty reduction – Poverty reduction policies span a gammut of housing, food security, wealth redistribution, and subsidization plans. Governments may also provide economic incentives for businesses to employ people from impoverished backgrounds.

Pension schemes – Most societies recognize the need for support services for the elderly. Often, governments mandate pension schemes like the US-based 401K to encourage people to save for their retirements.

Schooling and education – Every country makes education mandatory for the young. This social policy ensures the workforce of the future is educated and can meet the challenges of the nation’s economy.

Public health policy – Health care systems are designed to improve the overall wellbeing of the people. Without government assistance and incentives, many parts of a society may miss out.

Disability services – Disabled people have unique needs that are often met through government programs. They may, for example, mandate building accessibility for all new buildings, and provide funds for people with disabilities to retrofit their homes for their needs.

Social Policy Case Studies

1. unemployment support.

Unemployment support is the money the state pays unemployed people regularly when they search for a job.

Unemployment supports take different names, such as unemployment benefits, unemployment insurance, unemployment payment, or unemployment compensation.

It is the state’s responsibility to protect citizens when they face loss of income and the threat of poverty because of unemployment.

This protection is among the human rights recognized by the International Labor Organization (ILO) Employment Promotion and Protection Against Unemployment Convention , adopted in 1988.

There are criteria to be eligible for unemployment support. The eligibility issue has become more complex since the 1980s with the advance of globalization.

The socio-economic rationale behind the provision of this support is maintaining market and labor market stability, as well as preventing social unrest.

2.  Housing

Housing policy concerns providing adequate and affordable housing for all citizens.

A home is central to human existence, immensely impacting an individual’s and a family’s living standards in terms of physical and mental health, income security and economic chances, integration in social life, educational achievements, integration of immigrants, and community development:

“Good housing also reduces long-term costs to society in other areas such as health, education, social assistance, and employment insurance” (Carter & Polevychock, 2004).

In other words, access to safe and stable housing is a key social determinant of health .

Housing is a major policy area in a world that is rapidly urbanizing but also facing economic and ecological problems. Even in the industrialized economies of the world (Global North), there are arising challenges before the provision of housing policy.

Among these are rising housing prices, stagnating wages, demographic pressures, and declining public investment in housing.

 Although adequate housing is a human right, over 1 billion people live in slums in the Global South, missing the opportunities for an equal, healthy, safe, and decent living.

The growing social unrest in slums is the central theme in Mike Davis’ Planet of Slums , published in 2006.

3. Schooling and education

Education policy focuses on the public provision of universal education.

The development of public education indeed lies at the core of the emergence of social rights in the 19th century. The welfare state that arose after World War II provided universal education.

According to T.H. Marshall (1950), children should have equal educational opportunities to raise them to be civilized citizens able to make rational choices.

Education provides children with skills and future chances in the labor market and life. Lack of education or adequate education may cause financial insecurity.

Household poverty may be a reason for school dropouts and child labor when educational policy does not function well in coordination with other social policy dimensions.

The increasing number of private schools and the decreasing standards and investments for public schools have been challenging for general education.

This applies to colleges as well. Many students are now working and borrowing to get a degree as the tuition fees increase rapidly while public funds for college education and the number of scholarships decline.

4. Pension schemes

Pensions or pension schemes are retirement plans. During their retirement, people receive periodic payments from a fund in which money accumulates during people’s years of employment.

All workers and self-employed have the right to a pension. Pensions are meant to keep older people’s living standards up, to keep them out of poverty, and to prevent their social exclusion.

Older people, especially older women, face higher risks of poverty compared to the general population.

Older people are no longer active or are not as active in the labor market, but still need income for their living.

Pensions are the main source of income for them. In households headed by older people with children and grandchildren, benefits reach the larger family.

There is a transition, in this policy line, as well, from public-based pensions to market-based pensions (Ebbinghaus & Whiteside, 2012).

5. Poverty reduction

Poverty is a multidimensional issue. There are often class-based reasons behind it.

Poverty reduction means reducing or eradicating poverty through various policy measures. Poverty reduction requires the attention of governments, supported by civil society and international organizations.

Relief for the poor is an essential dimension of this policy.  Unemployment and housing support, decent education and health services, and pension schemes are measures to keep people out of poverty.

Economic development, social protection, political empowerment, and social participation are part of the long-term solution.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are adopted to combat extreme poverty and provide a better future for all.

Social policy is an applied social action to manage social risks and maintain a society’s social protection system. It focuses on how societies around the world provide people’s basic requirements for security, education, job, health, and prosperity.

Social policy also deals with how society responds to universal challenges such as poverty and migration, as well as social, demographic, and economic change.

It manifests itself in areas of policy intervention that vary among political systems and countries.

National governments, the family, civil society, and international organizations have a role, albeit at differing levels according to the system, in the implementation of this social action.

 Blakemore, K. (2003). Social policy: An introduction. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Carter, T., & Polevychok, C. (2004). Housing is good social policy . Canadian Policy Research Networks Incorporated. http://tdrc.net/resources/public/Report-04-12-HousingGood.pdf

Ebbinghaus, B., & Whiteside, N. (2012). Shifting responsibilities in Western European pension systems: What future for social models? Global Social Policy , 12 (3), 266-282.

Marshall, T. H. (1950). Citizenship and social class. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Popock, J. (1992). The ideal of citizenship since classical times. Queens Quarterly , 99 (1), 35–55.

Titmuss, R. (1958). Essays on ‘the welfare state’. London: Allen and Unwin.

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Dissertation & thesis writing secrets, tips and guides

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How To Come Up With PhD Dissertation Topics About Social Policy

Choosing a topic for a dissertation in social policy is a hard task since there are plenty of fields to explore. You can study any social problem and the measures governments take to solve it. Five major areas which constitute the study of social policy are poverty, unemployment, healthcare, housing, and education. However, to write a thesis you have to think of a specific issue within these areas to dwell on.

Crafting a Topic for a Social Policy Dissertation

You should carefully choose the issue for your paper because you’ll have to work on it for a year or even longer. So, consider the following suggestions:

  • Rely on your interest.

Select a topic you are interested in, otherwise, you won’t have any inspiration to settle down to work. In this case, writing a thesis paper will be a torture.

  • Be original.

Think of your audience and try to come up with something other scholars or experts would be interested in. They won’t enjoy reading about issues discussed for hundreds of times.

  • Turn to current issues.

Research the media to know the actions and intentions of the government of your country on the major social problems and try to shape your own vision. Burning issues evolving presently can ensure novelty and relevance of your work.

15 Inspiring Dissertation Topics in Social Policy

  • The consequences of guns permission and social attitudes to them.
  • An example of the “age of austerity” in Greece: the role of government protection.
  • Changing of the world’s social policy attitudes towards Muslims after the 9/11 attacks.
  • The causes of positive discrimination in education, which lie within the US social policy towards ethnic minorities.
  • The excess of freedom of expression: measures governments should take to limit it.
  • Socioeconomic discrimination in courts: why your status determines the way the judicial system treats you.
  • Limitations on immigration levels to be set with a connection to the European refugee crisis.
  • The ineffectiveness of the youth imprisonment: why to end it?
  • Changes obligatory military services may bring on to the social patterns.
  • The way neighborhoods affect homeless mobility and the action government takes.
  • Evaluation of the US healthcare policy concerning the recent trends.
  • The influence of taxes rises on the middle class.
  • Government support for single mothers: providing employment.
  • The most successful health insurance programs.
  • The influence of gender quotas on elections in the “Third World” countries.

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Examples of Biographical Statement and Abstract

Biographical statement.

Once articles have been selected and accepted for publication each year, authors will be asked to submit a biographical statement to be included in the Advocates’ Forum . The biographical statement should include the author(s) full name. In addition, it is also appropriate to discuss your personal history, academic program and/or field placement, and interest in the article’s subject. The biographical statement may not exceed 75 words. Below is an example taken from the 2009 volume of the Advocates’ Forum :

"Kathryn Saclarides is a second-year social administration student at the University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. She received a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Spanish from Vanderbilt University and a master’s degree in bioethics from La Universidad Pontificia de Comillas in Madrid, Spain. Her current field placement is with the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALACC). She is interested in migration patterns, ethnic neighborhoods, and transnational communities."

The abstract should appear on the second page of your manuscript, immediately following the title page. The abstract should briefly summarize the argument advanced in your manuscript, and should be limited to no more than 100 words. For additional guidance on composing abstracts, refer to the  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association . Below is an example taken from an issue of Advocates’ Forum (Charlotte L. Hamilton, “Anti-Drug Legislation and the Rising Incarceration of Women: Recommendations for Future Sentencing Reform,” Advocates’ Forum [2005]: 33-43).

The Anti-Drug Abuse Acts of 1986 and 1988 led to a rapid increase in the number of incarcerated Americans. The rate of female incarceration has risen at a particularly high rate over the past 20 years. This article discusses the evolution of drug sentencing policy since 1986. It looks at characteristics of incarcerated women in order to understand how drug policy has influenced this population. The way women participate in the drug trade interacts with minimum sentencing laws to contribute to the rise in female incarceration. The article concludes with policy recommendations for a more equitable drug sentencing system.

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Social Welfare Policy - Research Paper Example

Social Welfare Policy

  • Subject: Sociology
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Sociology Research Paper

This sample sociology research paper features: 10800 words (approx. 36 pages), an outline, and a bibliography with 59 sources. Browse other research paper examples for more inspiration. If you need a thorough research paper written according to all the academic standards, you can always turn to our experienced writers for help. This is how your paper can get an A! Feel free to contact our writing service for professional assistance. We offer high-quality assignments for reasonable rates.

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Introduction

The early sociology, the foundation of social science: statistical studies, the rise of american sociology, the substance of the sociological perspective, the passion for sociology, conclusion: the future of sociology.

  • Bibliography

A commonly accepted definition of sociology as a special science is that it is the study of social aggregates and groups in their institutional organization, of institutions and their organization, and of the causes and consequences of changes in institutions and social organization. (Albert J. Reiss, Jr. 1968:1)

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Within the contemporary context, sociologists are interested in human social interaction as people take one another into account as each behaves toward the other. Sociologists also take into analytical consideration the systemic units of interaction within social groups, social relations, and social organizations. As stated by Reiss (1968), the purview of sociology extends to

Governments, corporations, and school systems to such territorial organizations as communities or to the schools, factories, and churches . . . that are components of communities. . . . are also concerned with social aggregates, or populations, in their institutional organization. (P. 1)

Sociology is, as Touraine (1990) suggests, an interpretation of social experience and is thus a part of the reality that the practitioners of the discipline attempt to observe and explain. To these areas we can add that sociology is a discipline that demystifies its subject matter, and it is, as Dennis H. Wrong (1990:21–22) notes, a debunker of popular beliefs, holds skeptical and critical views of the institutions that are studied (Smelser 1990), and challenges myth making (Best 2001).

The early history of sociology is a history of ideas developed in the European tradition, whereas the sociological approach of the last 150 years involved the development of concepts, methodology, and theories, especially in the United States (Goudsblom and Heilbron 2001). As American sociologists trained in the traditional theory and methods developed during the first eight decades of the twentieth century, we acknowledge our intellectual debt to the European founders. But beyond an earnest recognition of the classic work of the early founders, including Auguste Comte, Émile Durkheim, Alexis de Tocqueville, Frederic LePlay, Marcell Mauss, Max Weber, Karl Marx, and Harriet Martineau, most of whom were attracted to the European environment that included the liberalism, radicalism, and conservatism of the early to mid-nineteenth century (Nisbet 1966; Friedrichs 1970) and to what C. Wright Mills (1959) refers to as the sociological imagination that “enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within society” (p. 6), our approach to sociology is deeply embedded with and indebted to those individuals who established the Chicago, Harvard, Iowa, and Berkeley schools of thought. Similarly, as practitioners, our approach to the discipline of sociology is reflected in these distinctive American scholarly perspectives.

The American tradition of sociology has focused on social policy issues relating to social problems, the recognition of which grew out of the dynamic periods of social transformation wrought by the Industrial Revolution, the Progressive Era, world crises engendered by war, worldwide population shifts, increasing mechanization, and the effort of sociologists to create a specific niche for the discipline within a growing scientific community. This effort occurred first in North America and Western Europe and then, similar to cultural transitions of the past, within a global context. In every instance, the motives embedded within a science of society lie in the attempt to understand and offer proposals for solutions to whatever problems gain significant attention at a particular point in time.

In a most interesting work, Goudsblom and Heilbron (2001) pose that sociology represents a great diversity, or what some analysts may refer to as fragmentation, because the discipline grew as a part of the processes affecting societies and cultures worldwide throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Thus, as we move well into a new era and a new stage of academic development, it remains important that we recognize the sociological heritage as identified and discussed by these analysts. The five stages that sociology has experienced to date are (1) the predisciplinary stage prior to 1830, further identified as “protosociologies”; (2) the formation of the intellectual discipline, 1830–1890; (3) the formation of an academic discipline with diverging national traditions, 1890–1930; (4) the establishment of an international academic discipline, 1930–1970; and (5) a period of crisis, fragmentation, and attempts to develop a new synthesis, 1970–2000 (Goudsblom and Heilbron 2001:14574–80).

Consistent with the fifth stage, for almost four decades we have been witness to major changes in the substantive topics that undergo sociological inquiry both in the United States and, given the influence on the discipline by Canadian, European, and Scandinavian scholars, internationally. Among the areas more fully developed that might be identified as fragmentation are many of the most interesting sociological topics, including deviant behavior, the family, religion, gender, aging, health, the environment, science and technology, among so many seemingly unrelated topics. The unique conceptual paradigms of sociology serve as a template or pattern for seeing the social world in a special way. Every discipline and, indeed, every occupation employs templates or patterns to see and accomplish things in a unique fashion. Disciplines such as sociology rely on intellectual templates based on certain conceptual schemes or paradigms that have evolved through the development of a body of knowledge in those disciplines.

In its early era of the mid- to late nineteenth century, sociology was understood to represent anything relating to the study of social problems. Indeed, it was thought that the methods of the social sciences could be applied to social problems and used to develop solutions (Bernard and Bernard 1943). In focusing on such substance, O’Neill (1967:168–69) notes that periodicals of this early period had a sociological section in which news items relating to family matters, poverty, and labor often appeared. These early social scientists did not hold any special talents other than their training in theology. This situation was similar in the United States as well. It is not difficult, then, to imagine that, as Bramson (1961) notes, “For many American sociologists these problems evoked a moral response” (p. 75). Thus, the process of solving the problems of society was attempted by application of the conventional morality and the validation of Christian principles of piety rather than reform or progress.

Sociology was born as a result of a process, a process that directed a method of inquiry away from philosophy and toward positivism (MacIver 1934). Sociology was the result of a process caused by two major forces—namely, the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution. The events, changes, and ideas that emerged from these two revolutions are found in the nineteenth-century thought pertaining to social order (Eisenstadt 1968). Following in the wake of the Age of Reason and the Renaissance, according to Nisbet (1966), this was a period of word formation:

Perhaps the richest period of word formation in history . . . which were either invented during this period or were modified to their present meanings: industry, industrialist, democracy, class, middle class, ideology, intellectual, rationalism, humanitarian, atomistic, masses, commercialism, proletariat, collectivism, equalitarian, liberal, conservative, scientist, crisis . . . [among others]. (P. 23)

These were words that held great moral and partisan interest in the European economy and culture; such passions were identified with politics as well.

Identified with European conservatism, which became infused by and with science, the visionary perspective promoted by Auguste Comte during the 1830s in his six-volume Positive Philosophy, later translated from the French and condensed into two volumes by Harriet Martineau, was based on the medieval model of European society.

This model of family, community, authority, tradition, and the sacred became the core of scientific sociology that was to serve notice that a science of society was essential to provide for more than commonsense analysis and to reestablish social order (MacIver 1934). Although unsuccessful in his quest to secure a professorship, Auguste Comte was a positivist, mathematician, and promoter of the scientific identity of the engineering profession (Noble 1999). Comte argued that positivism and the still-to-beidentified area of “sociology” would serve as a means of supporting his intention to create a unique perspective of human relations and a system to reestablish the social order and organization of society. Reestablishment of this new social order was to proceed in accordance with the positivist stage of evolution with its ineluctable natural laws that could and would be established through engaging the scientific perspective. Along with the arts, the science of sociology, according to Comte, was to emerge as the queen of the sciences, the scientia scientorum, and would ultimately supplant biology and cosmology.

If the restoration of order in French society was a preoccupation for many early-nineteenth-century scholars, including Auguste Comte, it was also the case, as Bramson (1961) notes, that

many of the key concepts of sociology illustrate this concern with the maintenance and conservation of order; ideas such as status, hierarchy ritual, integration, social function and social control are themselves a part of the history of the reaction to the ideals of the French Revolution. What conservative critics saw as resulting from these movements was not the progressive liberation of individuals, but increasing insecurity and alienation, the breakdown of traditional associations and group ties. (Pp. 13–14)

For social scientists of the early nineteenth century, many of the problems of the time were much more well defined than is the case in the contemporary experience.

Comte was fervently religious, and he believed those interested in science would constitute a “priesthood of positivism” that would ultimately lead to a new social order. According to Noble (1999),

A theist in spite of himself, Comte declared that the existence of the Great Being “is deeply stamped on all its creations, in moral, in the arts and sciences, in industry,” and he insisted, as had previous like-minded prophets since Erigena, that all such manifestations of divinity were equally vital means of mankind’s regeneration . . . Comte was convinced that people like himself, science-minded engineering savants occupied with the study of the sciences of observation are the only men whose capacity and intellectual culture fulfill the necessary conditions. (P. 85)

The legacy of this enthusiastic perspective is that sociology has been at the heart of the positivists’ contribution to the understanding of the human condition. It was also to serve in part as a basis for the reactions of conflict theorist Karl Marx, especially as these writings referred to the religious opiate of the masses deemed by Comte as critical to the reorganization of society (Noble 1999:87). The discipline continues to present an array of perspectives that have served to stimulate much controversy within both society and the discipline (see Turner 2001).

Although the sociological legacy of Harriet Martineau is substantial, as outlined by Lengermann and NiebruggeBrantley (1998), it was Martineau’s effort to translate and condense Auguste Comte’s six-volume magnum opus into a two-volume set of writings published in 1853 that allowed this important work to be available to the Englishspeaking world. Interestingly, Comte’s English translation came after Martineau’s sociological contributions, the richness of which was finally recognized by feminist researchers during the 1980s and 1990s. Martineau engaged in “participant observation” of the United States during the mid-1830s and subsequently published the two-volume Society in America (1836/1837), which is based on this excursion to the North American continent. Because of this experience, Martineau was able to lay the foundation for her treatise on research methodology in How to Observe Morals and Manners (1838).

Perhaps it is ironic that the distinctive difference between the European theoretical sociology and the empirical sociology practiced in the United States was advanced by events in Europe. Indeed, the origin of empirical sociology is rooted in Europe. Statistical studies began in the 1660s, thereby preceding the birth of all of the social sciences by a couple of centuries. The early statistical gatherers and analysts were involved in “political arithmetic” or the gathering of data considered relevant to public policy matters of the state, and as noted by Reiss (1968), the gathering of such data may have been accelerated to meet the needs of the newly emerging insurance industry and other commercial activities of the time. But it was the early work of the moral statisticians interested in reestablishing social order in the emerging industrial societies that was to lay the quantitative foundation for the discipline, especially the early scientific work of the French sociologist Émile Durkheim (Whitt 2001:229–35).

The second stage in the early history of quantification may have been related to the development of probability theory, the rise of the insurance industry, other commercial activities, and political necessity (Lecuyer and Oberschall 1968; Reiss 1968). English political arithmeticians, including John Graunt and William Petty, were destined to be followed by the efforts of the moral statisticians who engaged in data gathering in Belgium and France. Indeed, as early as 1831, the Belgian Adolphe Quetelet and the Frenchman Andre Michel de Guerry de Champneuf, in building on the early efforts of the practitioners of the “political arithmetic” that first began in the 1660s, were engaging in the government-sponsored data-gathering activity pertaining to data on moral topics, including suicide, prostitution, and illegitimacy. Such activities would prove quite instrumental in the establishment of the empirical social sciences. Even many of the methodologies developed during this same era of the early nineteenth century, as well as awareness of important ecological methodological issues such as statistical interactions, the ecological fallacy, and spuriousness, were developed by early moral statisticians such as Andre-Michel de Guerry and Adolphe Quetelet. Later, the work of Henry Morselli, Enrico Ferri, and Alfred Maury during this same century were to serve well the needs of aspiring European sociologists and even later members of the Chicago School of Sociology (Whitt 2001:229–31).

American sociology is one of the intellectual creations that has most deeply influenced our century. No other society ( the American ) has been more actively involved in understanding its own organizational change for the sake of knowledge itself. (Touraine 1990:252)

The birth of the social sciences in general and of sociology in particular is traced to the liberal democratic ideas generated by the British social philosophies of the seventeenth century—ideas that later were to be enhanced by the French Enlightenment of the eighteenth century and then transformed in the United States where these ideas served as the foundation for practical democratic society. The rise of American sociology can be traced to the early-nineteenthcentury social science movement, a movement that by the mid-1800s became a new discipline that was widely introduced into college and university curricula. The movement also led to the establishment of a national social science association that was to later spawn various distinctive social sciences, including sociology, as well as social reform associations (Bernard and Bernard 1943:1–8).

Although the promotion of the social sciences in the United States began as early as 1865 with the establishment of the American Association for the Promotion of Social Sciences and then, in 1869, creation of the American Social Science Association with its associationsponsored publication the Journal of Social Science, prior to the 1880s there had been no organized and systematic scientific research in the United States. This was the case simply because, as Howard W. Odum ([1927] 1965:3–20) noted, there was no university per se in which research as a scientific pursuit could be conducted. It is within the context of the movement to organize such a university that sociology and many other social sciences were embraced as viable academic disciplines, thereby allowing systematic research to be conducted in a rigorous manner. This also was a period of great emphasis on pursuing answers to new research questions through the evaluation of knowledge and the employment of methodological and statistical tools within an interdisciplinary context. Indeed, L. L. Bernard and Jessie Bernard (1943) posit that the vision of the founders of the American Social Science Association was “to establish a unified science of society which could and would see all human problems in their relationships and make an effort to solve these problems as unified wholes” (p. 601).

Thus, the social sciences in general and sociology in particular owe a great intellectual debt to the American intellects who studied at length with the masters of Europe. Included among these are notables such as William Graham Sumner, Lester Frank Ward, Albion Woodbury Small, Franklin Henry Giddings, John William Burgess, Herbert B. Adams, Thorstein Veblen, Frederick Jackson

Turner, James Harvey Robinson, George Vincent, Charles Horton Cooley, Edward Alsworth Ross, George Howard, Frank W. Blackmar, Ulysses G. Weatherly, John R. Commons, and Richard T. Ely (see Odum 1951, [1927] 1965); each of whom were well versed in scholarly areas other than sociology, including history, theology, economics, political science, and statistics. With the decline of the social science movement and its national association, the general discipline that emerged from the remains of social science was in fact sociology (Bernard and Bernard 1943:835).

The development of an intellectual and academic American sociology, like sociology in any part of the world, was and continues to be dependent on the social and political conditions of the country. In the United States, a liberal political climate and, in the aftermath of the Civil War, the advent of a system of a mass public education system, American sociology flourished. Thus, in countries in which the structure of the system of higher education was open to free inquiry, research was supported by private foundations and government contributions (Wright 1895), and the university was organized albeit loosely, sociology, subject to the polemics of its status as an academic science, gained entry if not acceptance among university faculty. Where education was available to the elite rather than the masses, sociology was less apt to flourish (Reiss 1968).

Another important factor is that American sociology arose basically without roots other than the growing influence of the social science movement in the United States and the emphasis on the virtues of science that permeated the intellectual and social environs of this same period. As noted by Neil J. Smelser (1990:49–60), American sociology did not experience the yoke of either European feudalism or any peculiar intellectual history. Rather, sociology came into being within American higher education during the 1880s and only after several other disciplines, including psychology and economics, had been accepted within the academy. Attempts among adherents of these other disciplines led to the establishment of the scientific theme within the social sciences. Early sociologists embraced this same scientific theme.

A second factor that had a profound effect on the early adherents of the sociological perspective is the social reform theme of the 1890s. The legacy of these two themes—namely, scientific respectability and social reform—became the dual platforms on which the unique American sociological perspective was to be based.

Although there was a great, direct influence of European thought, research, and the philosophy of the British Social Science Association on sociology to focus on attempting to solve America’s problems (Odum 1951:36–50), the rise of American sociology, at least during the first half of the twentieth century, was concomitant with the most dynamic period of technological, economic, and social reform changes ever recorded. In this context, Howard W. Odum (1951:52) views sociology as a product of the American social and cultural experience and places sociology’s heritage to be as “American as American literature,American culture, and the freedoms of the new world democracy” (p. 3). American sociology is thus part European and part American. Indeed, American sociology was envisioned early on as a social science that could and would assist policymakers and concerned citizens in creating the “American Dream.”

Consistent with this ideology, Odum (1951:59–60) identified three unique American developments, each of which influenced the direction of American sociology throughout the entire twentieth century. The first of these developments is the symbiotic relationship between the discipline and the American society and culture. The ideology that focused on the American Dream and its realization had a great influence.

The second development, according to Odum, is the emphasis on moral development and the motivation to establish ethics as a component of the educational curricula,American literature, and the social sciences, especially as these relate to ethical conduct, social justice, and public morality. Within sociology, this orientation is found in the application of sociological principles into economic and organizational behavior and the founding of the American Institute of Christian Sociology.

Finally, Odum (1951) notes, the American experience led to a research emphasis on social problems of a moral and economic nature. In an effort to better understand these social problems, sociologists organized the systematic study of issues such as waves of immigration, the working class, public disorder, neglect of children, violence toward women, intergroup conflict, urbanism, alcoholism, suicide, crime, mental illness, delinquency, and poverty (see also Fine 2006). This was the application side of sociology that held important social policy implication. However, there was also an early emphasis on a “general sociology” as opposed to a “special sociology” as was found at the more elite institutions of higher learning. Clearly, this difference foreshadowed the pure versus applied dichotomy that has generated so much discussion within the discipline (see Odum 1951:51–74).

Because of the important influence of the social science movement in the United States, there is some disagreement pertaining to who the founders and members of the first generation of American sociologists are (see Odum 1951, [1927] 1965). But publication of Lester Ward’s book Dynamic Sociology in 1883 does appear to mark the beginning of American sociology (Bramson 1961:84–85). On the other hand, there does not seem to be any disagreement as to the purpose of the American founders, and that was to establish a scientific theoretical base. Later, at the University of Chicago the goals were to establish a relationship between sociology and the classical problems of philosophy by focusing on process issues relating to elements of social control, such as conflict, competition, and accommodation (Kurtz 1986:95).

American sociology emerged concomitant with the challenges to legal philosophy and the discussion of questions relating to myriad questions that arose as the effects of industrialization were observed Calhoun (1919). Such questions have their focus on marriage, divorce, immigration, poverty, and health and how to employ the emerging scientific model to topical data that had been gathered by the nineteenth-century moral statisticians.

Leon Bramson (1961:47–48) observed that the most interesting aspect of American sociology in the first half of the twentieth century is that when affected by European theories of mass behavior and collective behavior, American sociologists, in their haste to establish a role for sociology in America, either transformed the meaning of the concepts to meet their needs or created new concepts to apply to the more liberal American social and political context. American sociologists, according to Bramson, also applied European theoretical concepts such as social pathology, social disorganization, and social control to the data referring to the American experience without regard for whatever special conditions should have been accounted for or even possible theoretical distortions; this issue is also discussed by Lester R. Kurtz (1986:60–83) in his evaluation of the Chicago School of Sociology.

Albert J. Reiss, Jr. (1968) notes that the first formal instruction of a sociology course in the United States was offered by William Graham Sumner, a professor of political and social science at Yale University, during 1876. The first, second, and third American Departments of Sociology were established at Brown University, the University of Chicago, and Columbia University, respectively (Kurtz 1986:93–97). Between 1889 and 1892, 18 American colleges and universities offered instruction in sociology, but in 1893, the University of Chicago was the first to develop a program that led to the granting of a Ph.D.

Despite the recognition of the emerging field of sociology as a distinctive area of inquiry, the focal point of a religious orientation and perhaps fervor expressed by social commentators in their discussions and analyses of the social issues that were to constitute the purview of sociology also engaged the attention of other early practitioners of the discipline. The social problems identified in the wake of expansion of the American West and the building of the railroads included issues relating to “the influx of immigrants, the rise of the factory system and the concentration of people in big cities. These comprised the now familiar catalogue of crime, delinquency, divorce, poverty, suicide, alcoholism, minority problems and slums” (Bramson 1961:75).

Alfred McClung Lee (1978:69) notes that ever since that time, sociologists have been attempting to divorce themselves from an ancestry that is historically rooted in the clergy, the police, utopian ideologues, social reformers, conservative apologists, journalistic muckrakers, radical thinkers, agitators, and civil libertarians.

Given the moral tone of much of the writing of many early American sociologists, it is noteworthy that in articulating the six “aims” of the American Journal of Sociology established at the University of Chicago in 1895, the scientific view of sociological concern so clearly defined several decades later by E. A. Ross (1936) was not so clear to many if not all of the moral philosophers of this earlier period. Witness the following comments offered by the founding editor of the American Journal of Sociology, Albion W. Small (1895):

Sociology has a foremost place in the thought of modern men. Approve or deplore the fact at pleasure, we cannot escape it. . . . To many possible readers the most important question abut the conduct of the Journal will be with reference to its attitude toward “Christian Sociology.” The answer is, in a word, towards Christian sociology sincerely deferential, toward “Christian sociologists” severely suspicious. (Pp. 1, 15)

These comments were of particular significance given that the American Journal of Sociology was not only the first journal of sociology created anywhere, but it was also, until 1936, the official journal of the American Sociological Society. Thus, the influence of both the Chicago School and the large number of contributions by its faculty and students to the American Journal of Sociology placed the work of the Chicago School at the forefront in shaping the early direction and substance of American, Canadian, and Polish sociology (Kurtz 1986:93–97). This was especially true in the subareas of urban and community studies, race and ethnic relations, crime and juvenile delinquency, deviance, communications and public opinion, and political sociology.

Leon Bramson (1961:73–95) identified three important phases in the rise of American sociology. The first period began in 1883 with the publication of Lester Ward’s Dynamic Sociology to about 1915 or 1918 with the publication of Robert E. Park’s essay on the city and/or the end of World War I, respectively. During this period, the founders began their earnest quest to establish the theoretical foundation as it related to the American experience focusing on “a liberal sociology of change and process, rather than one of conservation and equilibrium” (Bramson 1961:85).

This focus on change and process became even more evident during the second stage of American sociology, identified as the period between the two world wars. This was a period of academic expansion, with major increases in faculty and students, but even more important, led by sociologists at the University of Chicago, this was a period of specialization and the beginning of differentiation within sociology as the quest to develop a viable methodology began in earnest. This also was a meaningful period during which sociologists worked to establish the scientific status of the discipline and to earn respectability and academic legitimization. It was also a period during which many of the conceptual problems of sociology first began to emerge as its practitioners developed an increasingly complex technical vocabulary, a vast array of classification schema, and other abstract systems categories of thought. Perhaps assuming the need to compensate for a past that included so many nonscientifically moral reformistoriented representatives of the discipline, sociologists responded during this phase of development by creating complex theories that, for an extended period of time, were not only unintelligible to the layperson, but also the abstract nature of these grand theories exceeded the ability of social scientists to create methodologies appropriate to empirically test these theoretical models (Lee 1978). But despite this theoretical/methodological problem, this second stage of sociological development was also one in which much substance was created.

The history of sociology in America from prior to World War I to approximately the mid-1930s is, according to Kurtz (1986), a history of the school of thought promoted by the University of Chicago. If the second phase of American sociology is to be distinguished as a period dominated by the Chicago sociologists, it is also one that led Pitirim Sorokin to observe that American sociology was emerging as a distinctive brand:

The bulk of the sociological works in America are marked by their quantitative and empirical character while the bulk of the sociological literature of Europe is still marked by an analytical elaboration of concepts and definitions; by a philosophical and epistemological polishing of words. (Cited in Bramson 1961:89)

The period is characterized by a marked increase in the development of new and expanding methodologies and measurement. These new techniques included a plethora of scales intended to measure the theoretical concepts developed previously.

As noted, Goudsblom and Heilbron (2001) identify five phases of development of the discipline that cover the period prior to 1830 to the very end of the twentieth century. But the third phase of the development of American sociology, identified by Bramson (1961) as covering the period from 1940 to 1960, is noteworthy because this was a period during which the development and adoption of theories of the “middle-range” advocated by Robert K. Merton led to even greater specialization and differentiation of the discipline. In turn, sociologists began to develop ever-expanding areas of inquiry. Robert K. Merton ([1957] 1968), who wrote in reaction to the abstractness of the previous dominant position of the functionalist school of sociology, stated that theories of the middle range are

theories that lie between the minor but necessary working hypotheses that evolve in abundance during day-to-day research and the all-inclusive systematic efforts to develop a unified theory that will explain all the observed uniformities of social behavior, social organization and social change. (P. 39)

The all-inclusive efforts refer, of course, to the contributions of Talcott Parsons in The Structure of Social Action, originally published in 1937, and in 1951 with the appearance of The Social System.

The third phase of development can be characterized as the most enthusiastic period during which greater emphasis was placed on the application of sociological knowledge. As the field expanded, new outlets for sociological studies and knowledge were created, sociologists found employment in nonacademic settings such as government and business, and the new specialty areas of interest reflected the changes in American society, including a growing rise in membership in the middle class, the expansion of the suburbs, more leisure time, and the growth of bureaucracy. In lieu of the previous sociological interest in the reform of society and the more traditional social problems orientation of the discipline, the new sociology opted to leave such concerns to the social work profession and to special studies programs such as criminology. Thus, specialty areas emerged—areas such as the sociology of marriage and the family, and aging (later to be defined as gerontology), industrial sociology, public opinion, organizations, communications, and social psychiatry (later called mental health). From this point forward, the continued rise to respectability of sociology is attributed by analysts such as Robert Nisbet (1966) to the public recognition that societal problems are more integrative in nature than previously thought. This may also serve as a partial explanation for why the discipline is viewed by some as fragmented.

The logic and ethos of science is the search for the truth, the objective truth. Thus, the most fundamental problem the social scientist confronts, according to Gunnar Myrdal (1969), is this:

What is objectivity, and how can the student attain objectivity in trying to find out the facts and the causal relationships between facts? [That is,] How can a biased view be avoided? The challenge is to maintain an objectivity of that which the sociologist is a part. (P. 3)

Although the sociologies of the United States and Europe differ in perspective, both attempt to answer similar albeit distinguishable questions. In his discussion of “the two faces of sociology,” Touraine (1990:240) states that these differences lie in the scholarly research response to two problems: (1) How does society exist? (2) How are culture and society historically created and transformed by work, by the specific way nature and its resources are put to use, and through systems of political, economic, and social organization? Because the intellectual legacy of American sociological thought has been shaped to a large extent by the historical experience of creating a nation in which the rights and the will of the American people have been dominant, American sociologists have long focused on “institution” as a central concept and the significance of efforts of reform movements within the American society to affect its social organization. Thus, the substance of American sociology has been on topics such as the family, social organization, community, the criminal justice system, and law and society among the numerous institutionallevel areas of inquiry that are evaluated within the context of yet another American theoretical focus—namely, the emphasis on theories of the middle range. European sociologists, on the other hand, tend to focus on the second question while emphasizing the concept “revolution” in their analyses. Thus, even when similar topics such as social movements serve as the focus of inquiry, the American and European sociology responds from a different perspective (Touraine 1990). To understand the importance of this difference in perspective between the two sociologies, Alain Touraine (1990) poses the view that American sociology has a symbiotic relationship between culture and society, whereas European sociology integrates society and its history. Americans sociologists focus on society; the European sociology is focused on the rich history that serves as the backdrop for any attempt to understand social change.

Because the American experience is predicated on building a nation through the rule of law; the concepts of individualism, capitalism, and territorial conquest; and the attempt at integration of successive waves of immigrants to the North American continent,American sociology began its rise in prominence through an elitist intellectual process that dominated the academy during the early formative years of the discipline. Thus, it is perhaps ironic that an American sociology housed within the university setting would assume a critical teaching and research posture toward an elitist system of institutions that the early sociology assisted in creating. Within the context of certain kinds of social problems areas, such as ethnic studies, discrimination, and segregation, sociology and sociologists have been able to exert some influence. But in other important areas within which issues relating to elitist society may be involved, such as social class relations and economic and political power, the official and public perceptions of the efforts of American sociologists may not be as well received.

Many analysts of the past can be called on to render testimony in support of or apologize for the past efforts of sociologists to provide useful information, but none is perhaps more relevant than the following statement offered by George A. Lundberg (1947): “Good intentions are not a substitute for good techniques in either achieving physical or social goals” (p. 135). During the 1960s and 1970s, sociology, psychology, and other social science undergraduate job candidates customarily responded to interviewer queries with “I want to help people.” Similar to those who attended graduate school after World War II, these individuals were influenced by the potential of sociology to make a difference. But good intentions aside, the real issue is, How do we go about assisting/helping people? Perhaps the more educated and sophisticated we become, the more difficult are the answers to social problems and social arrangements that are deemed inappropriate or at least in need of some form of rearrangement. That is, the more we believe we already know the answers, the less apt we are to recognize the importance of the sociological perspective. Within this context, sociology necessarily must adhere to and advocate the use of the methods of science in approaching any social problem, whether this is local or international in scope.

Sociology has utility beyond addressing social problems and contributing to the development of new social policy. Indeed, the sociological perspective is empowering. Those who use it are in a position to bring about certain behavior in others. It has been said that “behavior that can be understood can be predicted, and behavior that can be predicted can likely be controlled.” It is not surprising that sociologists are often used to help select juries, develop effective advertising campaigns, plan political strategies for elections, and solve human relations problems in the workplace. As Peter Berger (1963) phrases it, “Sociological understanding can be recommended to social workers, but also to salesmen, nurses, evangelists and politicians—in fact to anyone whose goals involve the manipulation of men, for whatever purpose and with whatever moral justification” (p. 5). In some ways, it might be said that the sociological perspective puts one “in control.”

The manipulation of others, even for commendable purposes, however, is not without critical reaction or detractors. Some years back, industrial sociologists who worked for, or consulted with, industrial corporations to aid them to better address problems in the workplace were sometimes cynically labeled as “cow sociologists” because “they helped management milk the workers.” Knowledge is power that can be used for good or evil. The sociological perspective is utilitarian and empowering in that it can accomplish things for whatever purposes. Berger (1963) goes on to reflect the following:

If the sociologist can be considered a Machiavellian figure, then his talents can be employed in both humanly nefarious and humanly liberating enterprises. If a somewhat colorful metaphor may be allowed here, one can think of the sociologist as a condottiere of social perception. Some condottieri fight for the oppressors of men, others for their liberators. Especially if one looks around beyond the frontiers of America as well as within them, one can find enough grounds to believe that there is a place in today’s world for the latter type of condottiere. (P. 170)

Responding to the question, “Can science save us?” George A. Lundberg (1947) states “yes,” but he also equates the use of brain (the mind) as tantamount to employing science. Lundberg also posed the following: “Shall we place our faith in science or in something else?” (p. 142). Physical science is not capable of responding to human social issues. If sociologists have in a vain effort failed to fulfill the promise of the past, this does not indicate that they will not do so at some future time. Again, as Lundberg (1947) heeded long ago, “Science is at best a growth, not a sudden revelation. We also can use it imperfectly and in part while it is developing” (pp. 143–144).

And a few years later but prior to the turmoil that was to embroil the decades of the 1960s and 1970s, John Madge (1962) urged that a century after the death of the positivist Auguste Comte (now 150 years later) the structure of sociology remains incomplete. However, Madge recognized and demonstrates in The Origins of Scientific Sociology that sociology was slowly gaining in maturity and with this growth was on the verge of or within reach of achieving the status of a science. But it is also important to keep in focus the goals of science as articulated by Gunnar Myrdal (1969)—more specifically, “The goals of objectivity and effectiveness in research are honesty, clarity, and effectiveness” (p. 72). If the results of sociological research have been less than to the liking of policymakers and government and corporate leaders, then yet another of Myrdal’s insights is especially germane. That is,

Research is always and by logical necessity based on moral and political valuations, and the researcher should be obligated to account for them explicitly. When these valuations are brought out into the open any one who finds a particular piece of research to have been founded on what is considered wrong valuation can challenge it on that ground. (P. 74)

There are other reasons as well, reasons that complicate the delivery of the important message promoted by the discipline’s practitioners, for as noted by Joel Best (2003:11), sociology “is a perspective built on relativism, built on the recognition that people understand the world differently.” Indeed, many years earlier George C. Homans (1967) observed,

If some of the social sciences seem to have made little progress, at least in the direction of generalizing and explanatory science, the reason lies neither in lack of intelligence on the part of the scientists nor in the newness of the subject as an academic discipline. It lies rather in what is out there in the world of nature. (P. 89)

Such statements lie at the heart of the epistemological debate that began in the 1920s (see Reiss 1968:10–11) and continues into the modern era. Despite the vastness of sociological inquiry, it is obvious that a strong orientation toward the scientific study of human behavior, social interaction, and organizations continues and that this scientific focus is predicated on the assumption that such study is possible because it is based on the examination of phenomena that are subject to the operation of universal laws, a point not lost in the minds of the discipline’s founders. The counterpoint that the social sciences are cultural sciences and thereby fundamentally different from the physical sciences and also subject to different methodology and other evaluative criteria is representative of a longstanding European influence that also began in the 1920s.

Given the diversity and fluidity of the topics addressed and the levels of theories employed by sociologists, it is not surprising that many others do not agree. The counterargument is based on the premise that given the circumstances behind the evolution of science and the support it received in the past and the more repressive attention it receives in the contemporary experience from powerful interest groups, objective social science and the establishment of universal laws that are based on such inquiry may not be possible (see Turner 2001).

Whether or not one argues that the study of human society is unique, it is still extraordinary given the vast array of extant theories used to express the human experience and capacity. Witness the statement of one contemporary analyst who, in an intriguing assessment of the contemporary American “wilding” experience, wrote,

Sociology arose as an inquiry into the dangers of modern individualism, which could potentially kill society itself. The prospect of the death of society gave birth to the question . . . what makes society possible and prevents it from disintegrating into a mass of sociopathic and self-interested isolates? This core question of sociology has become the vital issue of our times. (Charles Derber 2003:18)

Only in part is Derber referring to the American experience. His assessment also speaks to the experience of Western Europe. Much social change has taken place, and the efforts of sociologists to describe and explain this change and to draw upon these insights to develop predictive models has led to a diversity of theories. Indeed, over time, the scientific paradigm shifts more generally described by Thomas Kuhn ([1962] 1970) are obvious in our discipline (see Friedrichs 1970). There have been, there are at present, and there undoubtedly will be future paradigm shifts within this evolving and apparently expanding discipline of sociology, many of which will focus, as has been the case in the past, on the social change process. And for all the so-called objectivity of a scientific sociology advocated by analysts such as George A. Lundberg (1947), the development of which is so eloquently described by Leon Bramson (1961)), sociologists have been involved in social activism and social engineering, that first occurred during the embryonic years of the discipline’s development (Volkart 1968). Such activism occurred again during the 1960s and 1970s, in many social justice areas, and in occupational settings such as those of the criminal justice system.

At present, sociological inquiry represents a vast array of topics and offers many competing theoretical models while its practitioners attempt to make sense of a rapidly changing world. For all its middle-range theories and studies that reflect the efforts of those dedicated to cumulative knowledge, it is also important that we recognize that the building of a paradigm as well as challenges to an extant paradigm are not relegated to the gathering of information alone. Indeed, if sociology is to advantage itself in the twenty-first century, it may be imperative that a dominant paradigm begins to identify the kinds of community needs that it can usually serve, for as Joseph R. Gusfield (1990) so clearly notes, sociology has been at odds with and a critic of the classical economic and individualistic interpretations of American life. Thus, whatever issues sociology may need to address at this juncture, perhaps we are hampered only by the limits of the sociological imagination. Again, the following comment by Homans (1967) is noteworthy:

The difficulties of social science lie in explanation rather than discovery. . . . Our trouble has not been with making discoveries but with organizing them theoretically—showing how they follow under a variety of given conditions from a few general principles. (Pp. 79, 105)

The present diversity of the discipline welcomed by so many social critics also serves as a barrier to the creation of a dominant theoretical paradigm. Without this focus, sociology remains in the minds of many of the discipline’s representatives a less-than-coherent discipline. Perhaps this is not different from the struggle of the 1960s as described by Gouldner (1970), a period that also was far less than organized and coherent and certainly far less civil in disagreement. It is important that sociologists take stock of their trade and question in earnest the utility of the work we do. As noted by Herbert L. Gans (1990),

By and large, we sociologists have been too distant from the society in which we operate and in which we are embedded, which funds us even if too poorly and which influences us surely more than we influence it. We are too busy trying to understand how that society functions . . . that we rarely think about our own functions—and dysfunctions. To some extent our failure to do so stems from a typical professional blindness, which results in our inability to distance ourselves sufficiently from ourselves and our routines to look systematically at what we are for and to whom. (Pp. 12–13)

Not all may agree, of course. Indeed, sociology in the United States and in Europe has been a critique of modern urban life with its emphasis on the individual, capitalism, and bureaucracy. In some instances, this critique of American society has been radical and reformist in its thrust (Gusfield 1990:31–46). And although American sociology had been shaped in part by psychology in establishing its methodology during the first two-thirds of the twentieth century, especially through a common socialpsychological area (see, e.g., Reiss 1968), it can be safely stated that American sociology has been transformed during the latter decades of the twentieth century.

Sociologists may be accused of engaging in an affair with their work. Witness the stirring comments of one colleague:

I fell in love with sociology when I was twelve. . . . Sociology was my savior. It saved me from the vexing confusion caused by my once despising the mundaneness of everyday life and deeply loving and admiring my people. It stabilized me by articulating the dedication that I felt for social justice. (Shahidian 1999:303–04)

We share this passionate approach to social science based on the insightful development of theory and empirical research, an approach that has, in turn, led to a vast array of subject matter. In light of these impressive contributions, the only aspect of this endeavor that may seem perplexing to some is that as we move further into the twenty-first century, there are those who continue to believe in and practice the scientific method; there also are those who argue that if the logic of science and the methods of scientific objectivity are to be carried to an extreme, sociology will lose or has already lost its humanistic perspective and, with this loss, the inclination toward active community involvement through social policy advocacy and practical intervention. As Peter L. Berger (1963) phrases it,

At the same time it is quite true that some sociologists, especially in America, have become so preoccupied with methodological questions that they have ceased to be interested in society at all. As a result, they have found out nothing of significance about any aspect of social life, since in science as in love a concentration on technique is quite likely to lead to impotence. (P. 13)

This dichotomy certainly is a matter of considerable debate, but perhaps most advocates and active practitioners of the discipline would fall somewhere in between these two orientations (see, e.g., Reiss 1968:10–11). In this regard, we are also optimistic that the sociological imagination will continue to be an important part of the work of sociologists as they take into consideration “a quality of mind that will help them to use information and to develop reason in order to achieve lucid summations of what is going on in the world and of what may be happening within themselves” (Mills 1959:5).

More than 170 years ago, sociology began to emerge from its philosophical and biological roots to it current status as an important social science. Early sociologists achieved renown based on their interest in providing information useful to appraise social policy issues. However, in the contemporary instance, there are strong indicators that sociology has not achieved the eminent position envisioned by the founders. Note the less-than-enthusiastic assessment offered by Black (1999):

The problems endemic to the discipline of sociology include the lack of a paradigm, disciplinary fragmentation, and the irreconcilability of science, ideology, and politics . . . and the lack of an occupational niche—[all these] place sociologists in the position of having constantly to defend the profession. (Pp. 261, 263)

Thus, as we move well into the twenty-first century, it is clear that sociology is engaged in yet another struggle to (re)identify itself. Perhaps such a struggle is to be expected of any science of human behavior. And nowhere is this situation more contentious than in the responses of representatives of the discipline to the question as to whether sociology is or is not yet considered an activity worthy of the label “scientific activity.”

At the center of this struggle lies the heart of any discipline—namely, sociological theory. Among the eminent theorists reporting on the status of sociology in this Handbook are individuals who represent the very best of what the discipline has to offer. That the message is suggestive of a continuing debate within the discipline is both disheartening and encouraging. It is disheartening in that after a period of more than 175 years, representatives of the discipline should be able to exclaim with great pride the accomplishments of so much activity instead of debating their scientific worth. It is encouraging because the current debate over the theory and the substance of the work sociologists engage in can only lead to the exploration of new and challenging frontiers. But the substance of sociological inquiry also represents a matter of contention for many research- and practitioner-oriented representatives of the discipline. Some contemporary analysts who have observed the developments within the academy during the past several decades call for a critical reevaluation of that which sociologists identify as the substance of research and understanding. Sociology has given birth to and generated intense interest in many areas of study that are no longer identified with the discipline. Because the specific subareas developed by sociologists became well accepted as legitimate applied disciplines within the academy, independent, overlapping units within the academy have been created.

If the 1960s represent the golden era of sociology, it is also a period, as described by Turner and Sica (2006), that is “remembered as a time of violence, massive social change, and personal transformation” (p. 4). The period had a profound effect on an entire generation of students, many of whom were instrumental in creating the new sociological emphasis that today is criticized for its diversity, the lack of continuity, and a failure to develop a unified paradigm. Whatever reservations that may continue to exist as we progress well into the twenty-first century, these can be hailed as a challenge. Thus, at the same time that community involvement and applied research are increasingly being devalued in the academic world, there is a distinct pressure, according to Harris and Wise (1998), for sociologists to become increasingly involved in the community and society.

This call to establish a public sociology may well combine with the three types of knowledge identified by Burawoy (2005)—the professional, critical, and policyspecific databases. In each of these areas, the initiative would be consistent with enthusiastic proclamations of the past. George A. Lundberg’s (1947) Can Science Save Us? serves as but one important example of those who promoted the application of social science insights to solve social problems. Of course, one major difference between the time when Lundberg wrote and now is that we are not rebounding from the tragedy of a world war. Indeed, it was during the post-World War II period and during the subsequent several decades that American sociology assumed its theoretical and empirical dominance (Odum 1951), especially in the area of deviant behavior (see Touraine 1990). Yet another important difference between then and now, as Harris and Wise (1998) suggest, is that sociologists need to be perceived as problem solvers rather than as social critics, and similar to the pleas of Marion Talbot (1896) at the end of the nineteenth century, much of the sociological may necessarily become interdisciplinary in nature. This perspective is supported as a portion of a more scholarly editorial philosophy articulated by Wharton (2006:1–2). Most noteworthy for our purpose are points three and four:

(3) Be aware and reflective about the . . . broader contributions to scholarship, policy, and/or activism . . . ; (4) produce useful knowledge—not merely in the applied sense of solving problems, but knowledge that is useful as basic research that can help people better understand and transform the social world. (P. 1)

These same kinds of issues—social activism and public policy research—were recognized at the end of the nineteenth century as strengths of the new discipline.

Thus, there appears to be hopeful as well as worrisome aspects of sociology at the end of the twentieth century (Lewis 1999). But this kind of enthusiasm and concern appears to be periodic throughout the history of the discipline as sociologists attempt to both define and then redefine the parameters of what some argue is too extensive a range of topics to allow practitioners of the discipline to be definitively identified (Best 2003). Witness the statement attributed to one of the coeditors of this Handbook who, in the early 1980s, wrote the following:

Future prospects for sociology(ists) no doubt will depend upon our ability to identify and respond to community needs, to compete for funds available from nontraditional sources, to work in applied areas, and to establish creative problemsolving strategies. The challenge before us should generate a healthy response. (Peck 1982:319–20)

Since that time and in the wake of a declining influence of the social sciences, there has been a response as evidenced by the many new areas of inquiry, many interdisciplinary in nature, that currently curry attention from sociologists. Indeed, there does appear to be a fragmentation, but this so-called fragmentation is consistent with an assessment offered by Beck (1999), “Sociology today, as throughout its history, is not unified. . . . we have never been able to sustain . . . unanimity and consistency for very long. Thank goodness” (p. 121).

Perhaps we do not engage in “normal science,” at least not in the sense that Thomas Kuhn ([1962] 1970) refers to it. That is, academic sociologists continue to function quite well even though they are outside the single frame of reference that usually serves as the paradigmatic foundation for the physical sciences. Normal science is rigid, but it is also burdened by uncertainty and inconsistency, as Friedrichs (1970) observes. In the case of sociology, this is found in the diversity of theoretical models and topical areas. Although some analysts lament the current state of the discipline, Jacobs (2004) recently observed that “some might view this diversity [of topics] as evidence of excessive fragmentation, (but) there are important theoretical connections” (p. v). Of course, the substance of manuscripts submitted for possible publication, the rubrics under which the research can be categorized, is quite different from the search for a common sociological paradigm. To wit, classic studies do exist, but none serve to forge a single paradigm. Thus, the future of the discipline will depend, as usual, on the contributions of those who may be relatively silent in the wake of less-than-acceptable “scholarship,” as suggested by Lewis (1999), but who nonetheless commit themselves to excellence by producing significant contributions to theory and application (see, e.g., Rossi 1999) that should, in the long run, counter the myriad productions that are less significant. Concomitant with this effort will be an increased awareness of and involvement in the applied and an earnest effort to again be a viable force in the policy-related aspects of sociology and society. In other words, we believe there will be a reawakening of and involvement in those aspects of sociology that served the discipline well during its early years of development in the United States (see Ross 1936) even as the applied social work-oriented practitioners broke away to form their own professional association (Odum 1951; Rossi 1999). Indeed, there exists a need for answers to myriad policy-oriented questions as well as applied concerns at all governmental levels.

But in the end, sociologists may, as Beck (1999:123) suggests, go where they go, where they want to go. This may again mean that sociologists will abandon important areas of inquiry that they helped to establish, leaving the sociological legacy to others. Sociologists will also move to create other areas of inquiry while questioning past and present assumptions and knowledge claims in an ongoing quest to better understand social arrangements and to engage in, as Beck (1999) observes, “life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the sociological imagination” (p. 124). To this we can add the quest to establish the meaning of social justice in a rapidly changing democratic society.

Thus, contrary to dubious predictions of an ominous obscure future, the content of this Handbook attests to a much more positive and grand future orientation within the discipline that will include much more than the rigorous efforts to clean up conceptual problems that sociologists are supposedly noted for. Moreover, the epistemological debates of the past will undoubtedly continue as Turner (2001) and Best (2003) suggest, but in so doing, the future of academic sociology will again be broadened. This expansion will again, we think, involve the applied aspects of the discipline and engagement of the public through active involvement of sociologists in the four traditional areas—namely, through a public sociology with an emphasis on further development of the profession and a critical civic activism with the intent to broadly influence social policy. Moreover, the increasing influence of European sociology in the global community will undoubtedly continue; this influence is not only important, it is most welcome. Given the above, it may well be that another call to arms will result. There has been a movement, albeit a small movement, among highly regarded intellectuals (the National Association of Scholars) to enhance the substance and quality of academic teaching and scholarly activity. This, too, is welcome in sociology.

The world that engages a scientist, as noted by Friedrichs (1970), is one that emerges from a scientific tradition, along with its special vocabulary and grammar and environment. Sociology’s laboratory is the social world and on occasion its practitioners are criticized by those who argue the arcane nature of all that is considered scientific. If the normal science, as described by Thomas Kuhn ([1962] 1970) and Robert W. Friedrichs (1970), is to be realized within the discipline of sociology, then it may depend on efforts of young sociologists (see, e.g., Frickel and Gross 2005) who may capture the essence of such a paradigm in a general theory of scientific/intellectual movements. Such work may also serve to stimulate more thought as to the requisite initiatives essential for subsequently developing the kind of intellectual movement that will define once again, and actively promote, the substance of the sociological perspective.

If the emphasis of American sociology at the beginning of the twentieth century was unsophisticated, armchair science that “featured the study of general society and the ‘system’ of social theory, it reflected not only the almost universal philosophical approach but also the consistency of the best minds in interaction with European philosophy and American higher education” (Odum 1951:421–22). In the mid-twentieth century, sociology, similar to other social and physical sciences, struggled to determine whether the future of the discipline would continue to pursue a general systems theory of society or whether the discipline’s practitioners would develop more theory and then relate these theories to research and the scientific method (Odum 1951:422). At this critical midpoint of the century past, and in recognition of the importance of the discipline, Odum (1951) wrote that there is

the extraordinary need in the contemporary world for a social science to seek special knowledge of human society and welfare and meet the crises brought on by science and technology, so often out of perspective to human relations, and so to provide the basis for not only a social morale in an age of science but for societal survival as well. (P. 3)

At the end of the twentieth century, these comments rang clear, and as we move forward and well into the greater twenty-first-century experience, Odum’s words seem no less germane today than in the past.

Toward establishing the prospects for the future of this great academic discipline, we hasten to add how critical it is and will be to again acknowledge the important work of the founding mothers and fathers of sociology. Thus, at the end of the twentieth century, the state of sociology may have been debatable, but during the initial decades of the twenty-first century, sociologists will undoubtedly take up the challenge to pursue answers to vexing social problems that are, as Fine (2006:14–15) states, embedded with complex, dynamic, interconnected social systems. Some of the solutions to be tendered in the near future may not serve well the needs of all citizens, but these should nonetheless address policy issues relating to social freedom, social justice, and social equality while recognizing that such policies determine the behavior of those actors whom sociologists are intent to study. Herein American sociologists may now have achieved the requisite disciplinary maturity to employ the kind of sociological imagination envisioned by C. Wright Mills (1959) half a century ago. Such a sociology would, in the tradition of Europe, encompass a biography and history within society, thereby allowing sociology to represent not only a scientific enterprise but also to serve as a sensitizing discipline that allows us to continue to view the world in a new and interpretive fashion.

Finally, in some peculiar ways, the vexing problems that capture our attention during the early portion of the twenty-first century parallel those of the early twentieth century; this is true at all levels of society and perhaps even more so within those sectors that heretofore were barricaded from a critical analyses. The actors may have changed but, in general, the public concerns regarding the kinds of behavior tolerated and considered to be appropriate tend to remain the same. And as the moral entrepreneurs of the twenty-first century push their agendas, the new prohibitionist movements continue to capture the attention of policymakers, which may of necessity be cause for some sociologists at least to revisit many of the same topics that held sway in the past. Thus, we will continue to use templates in our lives to understand the world, physical and social, in which we exist. The sociological templates derived from the many conceptual constructs available provide us with a unique and perceptive perspective. As sociology further develops, new conceptual constructs will be added and will contribute to its unique perspective, thereby enhancing our ability to better analyze and understand human social behavior.

Bibliography:

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  • Frickel, Scott and Neil Gross. 2005. “A General Theory of Scientific/Intellectual Movements.” American Journal of Sociology 70:204–32.
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Research Paper

Social experiment research paper.

social policy research paper examples

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A social experiment is the random assignment of human subjects to two groups to examine the effects of social policies. One group, called the “treatment group,” is offered or required to participate in a new program, while a second group, the “control group,” receives the existing program. The two groups are monitored over time to measure differences in their behavior. For example, a social experiment can compare a program that gives unemployed individuals a financial reward for finding a job with one that does not. Or, a social experiment might compare students in schools that receive a new curriculum with students in schools that do not. Because the randomization procedure guarantees that the two groups are otherwise similar, the measured differences in their behavior can be causally attributed to the new program. The behavioral differences are sometimes called the “impacts” of the program. Commonly measured behavioral outcomes in social experiments include earnings, employment, receipt of transfer payments, health, educational attainment, and child development. Sample sizes in social experiments have ranged from under 100 to well over 10,000.

Some social experiments have more than one treatment group. In such cases, each treatment group is assigned to a different program. The various treatment groups may be compared to each other to determine the differential impacts of two of the tested programs, or they may be compared to the control group to determine the impact of the program relative to the status quo. The human subjects may be chosen randomly from the general population or, more commonly, may be chosen randomly from a target population, such as the disadvantaged.

Social experiments have been used extensively since the late 1960s. According to Greenberg and Shroder (2005) almost 300 social experiments have been conducted since then. Social experiments are very much like medical laboratory experiments in which the treatment group is given a new drug or procedure, while the control group is given a placebo or the standard treatment. Laboratory experiments have also been used extensively in the field of economics, since the 1970s (Smith 1994), but they differ from social experiments in that they are used mainly to test various aspects of economic theory, such as the existence of equilibrium or the efficiency of market transactions, rather than the effects of a social program. Also, economics laboratory experiments usually do not have a control group; instead, cash-motivated members of a treatment group are given the opportunity to engage in market transactions in a controlled environmental setting to determine whether they behave in a manner consistent with the predictions of economic theory. Some laboratory experiments in economics have been used to test public policy alternatives.

History Of Social Experiments

Much of the foundation of the modern approach to social experimentation can be traced back to the work of the famous statistician Ronald Fisher in the 1920s. Fisher refined the notion of random assignment and pointed out that no two groups could ever be identical. He noted that allocation of subjects to treatment and control groups by pure chance (by the flip of a coin or from a table of random numbers, for example) ensures that differences in the average behavior of the two groups can be safely attributed to the treatment. As a result, the direction of causality can be determined using basic statistical calculations. Fisher also recognized that randomization provides a means of determining the statistical properties of differences in outcomes between the groups.

The first major social experiment was the New Jersey Income Maintenance Experiment, which was initiated in the United States in 1968. Although a few smaller social experiments preceded the New Jersey Experiment (such as the Perry Preschool Project in 1962), they were much smaller in scope and much less sophisticated. The New Jersey Experiment tested the idea of a negative income tax (NIT), first proposed by the economists Milton Friedman and James Tobin in the 1960s. The New Jersey Experiment was the first of five NIT experiments conducted in North America (four in the United States and one in Canada) that had very sophisticated designs and many treatment groups. Problems evaluating certain aspects of these complex experiments led to much simpler experimental designs in ensuing years.

From the 1970s to the present, social experiments have been conducted in numerous social policy areas, including child health and nutrition, crime and juvenile delinquency, early child development, education, electricity pricing, health services, housing assistance, job training, and welfare-to-work programs. Notable experiments include the Rand Health Insurance Experiment, which tested different health insurance copayment plans; the Moving to Opportunity Experiments, which tested programs enabling poor families to move out of public housing; four unemployment insurance experiments that tested the effects of various financial incentives to induce unemployed individuals to return to work; and a number of welfare-to-work experiments that tested ways of helping welfare recipients find jobs.

Limitations Of Social Experiments

Although widely acknowledged as the ideal way to determine the causal effects of proposed social policies, social experiments have several important limitations. First, and perhaps most importantly, social experiments require that a control group be denied the policy change given to the treatment group. Because control groups in social experiments are typically disadvantaged, denial of program services may be viewed as constituting an ethical breach, thus limiting social experiments to places where resources prevent all eligible individuals from being served. Also, treatments that make a participant worse off are also viewed as unethical and politically infeasible.

social policy research paper examples

Second, although well-designed experiments have a high degree of internal validity (inferences are valid for the tested sample), they may not have external validity (they are not generalizable to other settings). One common criticism of experiments is that because of their limited size, they do not generate the macroeconomic, “community,” effects that a fully operational program would generate. For example, a fully operational job training program may affect the wages and employment of nonparticipants and may affect social norms and attitudes, whereas a limited size experiment would not. Additionally, there is no way of knowing for sure whether a successful experiment in one location would be successful in another location, especially because social experiments are typically conducted in places that are chosen not randomly, but for their capability and willingness to participate in an experiment.

Third, social experiments take time to design and evaluate, usually several years. Policymakers may not want to wait the required time to find out if a particular program works.

Finally, in practice, it has often proven difficult to implement random assignment. For one reason or another, individuals may not be willing to participate in a research study, and in cases where collaboration between researchers and government agencies is required, some may be unwilling to participate. As a result, the treatment and control groups that are tested may turn out to be unrepresentative of the target population.

Because of the various limitations of social experiments, other means of evaluating the effects of social policies have been developed. These are generally termed “nonexperimental” or “quasi-experimental” methods. Nonexperimental methods monitor the behavior of persons subjected to a new policy (the treatment group) and select a “comparison group” to serve the role of a control group. But because randomization is not used to select the two groups, it is never known for sure whether the comparison group is identical to the treatment group in ways other than receipt of the treatment. Many researchers match treatment group members to persons in the nonpar-ticipating population to make the groups as similar as possible. The matches are usually done using demographic and economic characteristics such as age, education, race, place of residence, employment and earnings history, and so on. One popular matching technique is propensity score matching, which uses a weighted average of the observed economic and demographic characteristics of the nonparticipating population to create a comparison group.

A particularly attractive nonexperimental method is the “natural experiment.” Natural experiments often are used to test the effects of social policies already in place. The natural experiment takes advantage of the way a new policy has been implemented so that the comparison group is almost a true control group. For example, military conscription (being draft eligible) during the Vietnam War was done by a national lottery that selected individuals for military service solely according to their date of birth. Thus, theoretically the group selected for military service should be identical to those not chosen, because the only difference is date of birth. Researchers wanting to test the effects of military conscription on individuals’ future behavior could compare outcomes (for example, educational attainment or earnings) of those conscripted with those not conscripted and safely attribute the “impacts” to conscription (Angrist 1990). Because not all conscripted individuals actually serve in the military and because some non-conscripted individuals volunteer for military service, it is also possible to estimate the impact of actual military service on future behavior by adjusting the impacts of conscription for differences in the proportion serving in the military in the treatment and comparison groups. However, the validity of this procedure rests crucially on the comparability of the military service veterans in the two samples.

The Future Of Social Experiments

Social experiments have changed in character since the late 1960s. Many early social experiments such as the NIT experiments, the Unemployment Insurance Experiments, and the Rand Health Insurance Experiment tested a “response surface” in which subjects were given “quantifiable” treatments of varying tax or subsidy rates. In contrast, most of the more recent social experiments are “black box,” meaning that a package of treatments is given to the treatment group, and it is not possible to separately identify the causal effects of each component of the package.

Black-box experiments have been criticized because they tend to have much less generalizability than response-surface experiments. Hence, many researchers have called for a return to nonexperimental evaluation as the preferred method of analyzing the effects of social policies. However, those favoring experimental methods have countered that social experimentation should remain the bedrock of social policy evaluation because the advantages are still great relative to nonexperimental methods (Burtless 1995). In an attempt to “get inside the black box,” those sympathetic with the social experiment as an evaluation tool have proposed ways of combining experimental and nonexperimental evaluation methods to identify causal effects of social policies (Bloom 2005). Nonexperimental methods are necessary because of a selection bias that arises when members of the treatment group who receive certain components of the treatment are not a random subset of the entire treatment group. In the future, social policy evaluation may make greater use of both evaluation methodologies—using experiments when feasible and combining them with nonexperimental methods when experiments cannot answer all the relevant policy questions.

Bibliography:

  • Angrist, Joshua D. 1990. Lifetime Earnings and the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery: Evidence from Social Security Administrative Records. American Economic Review 80 (3): 313–336.
  • Bloom, Howard S., ed. 2005. Learning More from Social Experiments. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
  • Burtless, Gary. 1995. The Case for Randomized Field Trials in Economic and Policy Research. Journal of Economic Perspectives 9 (2): 63–84.
  • Greenberg, David, and Mark Shroder. 2005. The Digest of Social Experiments. 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press.
  • Greenberg, David, Donna Linksz, and Marvin Mandell. 2003. Social Experimentation and Public Policymaking. Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press.
  • Smith, Vernon. 1994. Economics in the Laboratory. Journal of Economic Perspectives 8 (1): 113–131.
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Social policy is a scientific and political discipline dedicated to studying (generating theory) and to intervene publicly (state or community) in the consequences material and moral of always uneven development of modern societies (industrialized and urbanized).

As a science and regulations and political activity (dual dimension), it presents the fundamental mission of serving the three major goals of contemporary social action: social justice (in the formal sense), social welfare (in a material sense) and social order (legal sense).

To write a really good research paper on the topic you have to know that as a science, social policy is constructed as a discipline of study and reflection that seeks to achieve a historical and even epistemological mediation between the demands of “economic” (the well-being) and “political” (common good) by a theoretical corpus itself.

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As political activity, it is more specifically defined as a form of general politics (the activity of the government, the proposed program of political parties and activity of so-called social partners – unions and employers) ) by means of a public political system (social state of law, or communal forms of self-organization).

A notion that addresses the major historical forms of social policy first came from Germany (Gustav Schmoller) as the state means of intervention in the economy (“moralizing”) regulating the forms of assistance and protection of the contractual employee (hence it was linked to the world of labor law and labor relations). The second, in the current debate, born in England of Lord Beveridge’s hand during World War II, as the realization of a welfare state to care for the citizens from the “cradle to grave.” In the twentieth century it was transited across Western Europe, although with spacious and current national differences, “labor rights” as the main object of social policy, the “rights of citizenship” as the goal of this science and activity.

The Welfare State is the last and current mode of social policy. Develops the notion of “social state” of the previous model by the State direct intervention in satisfaction of objective (quantitative) and subjective (qualitative) needs of its citizens, according to the dominant ideology of the ruling political party. Mediating between liberal economy (through public intervention) and party democracy (so called “social consensus”), this State constitutionalises “social rights of citizenship,” publicly acknowledging, therefore, the social protection against the effects of social inequality and social imbalances of the Market. Born, based on the economic theories of J.M. Keynes in solving the so-called social issues or social problems (which in the nineteenth and early twentieth received the name “social question,” the problems generated in the lower classes by social transformations arising from the passage of the pre-industrial society to industrial society, while since the second half of the XX derivatives of transition from industrial society to society postindustrial were added.

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Whether you’re an English or a STEM major, you’re probably wondering, “Who can write essay for me?” or “Why should I pay someone to write my paper for me when I know nothing about them?” And you’re absolutely right about asking these questions. After all, thousands of freelancers offer to write essay online, but you can’t know who to trust with your grades and record. To make your life easier, we take over the screening tasks to ensure only the best are hired and have the privilege to write an essay for you.

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How can I pay someone to write a paper for me? What are your payment methods??

We accept credit and debit card payments by Visa, MasterCard, Discover, JCB, and American Express. You can use a reliable and secure payment system that keeps your personal and financial information safe to get us to write an essay for you. So you don’t have to worry and ruminate, “Is it safe to pay someone for writing my papers online?” After all, it’s as safe as getting your next coffee batch on Amazon or paying for your Netflix subscription.

How fast can you write my essay for me?

“Write my essay ASAP!” and “Write my essay, and I need it yesterday!” are two of the most common requests we get from college students. And although we can’t trick time and only have 24 hours in our days, we can deliver short pieces in 6 hours and longer assignments—within a day. As long as you don’t come asking “Write my research paper in six hours,” and are realistic about your expectations, our experts should be able to handle the tightest deadlines. But please account for a preview and revisions not to miss your submission deadline.

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Sure, our rates start as low as $6.99. Despite inflation and global crises, we keep our prices student-friendly. So anyone who comes asking, “write my paper for cheap” or “write my term paper without breaking the bank” will feel welcome and safe in the knowledge they’ll get the best value for money. At the same time, we urge you to beware of online frauds promising free results, as every “Write my research paper for me for free” may end in a scam.

Is it legal to use your service and pay someone to write my paper?

Yes, it is legal. Whether you’re carefully considering “Can someone do my paper for me?” in the privacy of your own mind or clamoring for assistance with the bold demands of “Write my paper for me now!”, you’re in the clear until you submit the paper you purchase for grading under your name. Even that isn’t illegal in most countries, though it is frowned upon in most schools. It’s up to you to decide what to do with the paper you get after we fulfill your order.

Can I pay someone to do my essay after it’s done?

Sadly, no. In an ideal world of perfectly honest people, you’d say, “I need help write my research paper”, and we’d have it ready for you for free and rely on your generosity. In the real world, our writers, editors, and support managers are real people who like to have a roof over their heads and meals on their tables. Our refund policy keeps you safe, but only your upfront payment protects our writers from scams. So whenever you ask, “Can you write my essay cheap?”, we say, “Sure”, but we ask you to cover the cost first.

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Every writer on our team holds a degree in one or more majors, possesses years of academic writing experience, and has a solid reputation among our clients. You can be sure that whenever you run asking, “Write essay for me”, we’ll match you with an expert best suited to handling your academic level, class, and topic. Be safe in the knowledge that we only hire seasoned academics to write papers for you.

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You can select a specific expert to deal with your “write my essay” issue or pick a top or pro-level writer. Although either of these options will add to the bottom line, you won’t have to wonder, “Who will write my essay?”. We recommend selecting one of our premium experts for critical assignments that need a special touch to score top grades and improve your class ranking or GPA. Contact our support team to ask, “Can someone write my paper for me with top results?” to learn more about writer options.

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Your every “write my essay” order goes through a plagiarism checker to guarantee originality. After all, our writers know “write my paper” means crafting an original piece from scratch, not rewriting a stale sample found online. But if you want further proof, you’re welcome to order an official plagiarism report with a similarity percentage. All it takes is checking the box in the order form or asking a support agent to add it to the bottom line when you come asking, “I need you to write an essay for me.”

How can I lower the price when ordering an assignment?

Although we keep our online paper help rates as low as possible, you can play around with the order parameters to lower the price. For example, instead of crying, “I need you to write my essay in 12 hours”, set the deadline for two weeks, and your bottom line will be much more affordable. You can also wait for a seasonal promotion with discounts of up to 15% if you’re thinking, “I’m in no hurry to pay someone to write my essay.”

What do I do if you write my paper for me, and I don’t like it?

You can get a revision or a refund, depending on how much your “write my essay for me” order went off track. We know when you pay someone to write your paper you expect the best results, and we strive to follow every instruction to a T when we write a paper for you, but miscommunication can occur. In this case, don’t be shy about requesting a free revision or a new writer to rework your assignment. And if you feel the paper is unsalvageable, you may be liable for a partial or full refund.

How do I know you’ve finished writing my paper?

We’ll notify you via email the moment the writer uploads the first draft for your revision. You can then preview it and approve the piece to download an editable file or get it sent for a revision round with your comments about necessary corrections. Besides, you can always request a progress update from your writer or a support manager. Just ask them, “Any progress since I hired you to write my essay for me?”. As you see, you don’t need to fret, thinking, “How will I know when you write my essay, and it’s ready?”

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  1. Essay Paper 2021

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  1. A Systematic Approach to Social Policy Analysis

    This paper develops a definition, or general model, of the concept "social policy," and proposes a general framework for systematic analysis of specific social policies. The regula- tion of intrasocietal human relations and the shaping of the quality of life are viewed as the domain of social policy. The development of resources, the allocation of statuses, and the distribution of rights are ...

  2. Social Policy Resources

    Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) CLASP is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that conducts research, policy analysis, and advocacy on issues related to economic security for low-income families with children. This site is a rich source of electronic publications on many issues including welfare policy, child welfare, child ...

  3. Social Policy thesis and dissertation collection

    Wang, Fei (The University of Edinburgh, 2022-07-29) In traditional Chinese family life, intergenerational households provided support for older people. Social and cultural changes in the past decades have seen a growing trend towards smaller families and new family ... To GDP or not to GDP?

  4. 99 Social Policy Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

    🏆 Best Social Policy Topic Ideas & Essay Examples Social Welfare Policy That Facilitates Reduction of Poverty and Inequality in the US In spite of the scale of the increase in the inequality, the political class in the US rarely discusses this subject in the public. The Formation of Social Policy Based on Theoretical Assumptions

  5. Social Policy

    Seminar Papers—Students must complete three seminar-style research papers, one of which should fulfill the social policy program's requirement to complete a research paper in a topical area with major literatures in government and social policy. This latter paper is ordinarily developed in the course of the Proseminar in Inequality and ...

  6. Journal of Social Policy

    The Journal of Social Policy carries high quality articles on all aspects of social policy in an international context. It places particular emphasis upon articles which seek to contribute to debates on the future direction of social policy, to present new empirical data, to advance theories, or to analyse issues in the making and implementation of social policies.

  7. Social Work and Social Policy Practice: Imperatives for Political

    I have conceptualised a three Ps model consisting of 'personal being', 'people' and 'paper' to promote effective policy practice by social workers. In other words, social workers need to work with these three Ps to effectively engage in policy practice. These three Ps are delineated as follows (see Figure1).

  8. Policy Topics

    Russia-Ukraine War COVID-19: Insights and Solutions HKS experts contribute to solutions and thought leadership on problems ranging from government responsiveness to health to the economy to human rights and more. COVID-19 Opposing Racism and Discrimination

  9. Social Policy Essays: Examples, Topics, Titles, & Outlines

    Social Policy Essays (Examples) 1000 results for "Social Policy" . ★Recommended Essay Social Policy Words: 719 Length: 2 Pages Document Type: Case Study Paper #: 93084369 Read Full Paper Social Policy Analysis and Practice How did Sara help clients to define and resolve their own problems?

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    Social Policy Research Paper Sample Type of paper: Research Paper Topic: Society, Discrimination, Sexual Abuse, Family, Criminal Justice, Victimology, Children, Crime Pages: 1 Words: 275 Published: 2020/10/22 Order now

  11. Social Policy: Definition, Types & Examples

    Examples of social policy . The best way to understand social policies is to look at concrete, real-life examples. Below, you can find examples of different types of social policies in different sectors. Education and social policy in sociology. Since 2015, the school-leaving age has been 18 in England.

  12. Social Policy

    You can find degree program-specific admissions requirements below and access additional guidance on applying from the PhD Program in Social Policy. Writing Sample. A writing sample is required as part of the application and should be a research paper approximately 20 pages in length. Additional requirements can be found on the Social Policy ...

  13. 40 Social Issues Research Paper Topics

    40 Social Issues Research Paper Topics Social issues don't exist without the society, its cultural, ethical and moral boundaries. What is considered a social issue in one country or timeframe, maybe an absolutely mundane event in other. So every social issue research paper should start from explaining the cultural context where it happened.

  14. Sample Research Paper On Political Context Of Social Policy

    It is important to understand the political context in which a social policy issue is embedded when lobbying for social change. This is due to the inherent relationship between social issues and the direction of political will. The policies themselves take place within a political setting. The political situation of a society, and how it ...

  15. Social Welfare Policies And Gender Research Paper

    A number of trends in research on gender and social welfare policies are discernible during the 1980s and 1990s. The initial emphasis on studying the impact of social welfare policies on women has been supplanted by a concern with how gender structures policies and how policies affect gender relations (O'Connor 1996).

  16. 10 Social Policy Examples (2023)

    migration (Blakemore, 2003). Examples of social policies include raising the minimum wage, reforming marriage law, and mandating a minimum school leaving age of 16 years of age. A government's social policy is interwoven with the social values it aims to promote. For example:

  17. Choosing Strong PhD Dissertation Topics About Social Policy

    15 Inspiring Dissertation Topics in Social Policy. The consequences of guns permission and social attitudes to them. An example of the "age of austerity" in Greece: the role of government protection. Changing of the world's social policy attitudes towards Muslims after the 9/11 attacks. The causes of positive discrimination in education ...

  18. Examples of Biographical Statement and Abstract

    Biographical Statement Once articles have been selected and accepted for publication each year, authors will be asked to submit a biographical statement to be included in the Advocates' Forum. The biographical statement should include the author(s) full name. In addition, it is also appropriate to discuss your personal history, academic program and/or field placement, and interest in the ...

  19. Social Welfare Policy

    Social Welfare Policy - Research Paper Example Add to wishlist Cite this document Summary The paper "Social Welfare Policy" highlights that social welfare programs are able to provide maximum benefits through either entitlement programs or means-testing programs (Paul, 2008).

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    More Sociology Research Paper Examples: Disaster Research Paper Gambling Research Paper Group Dynamics Research Paper Human Ecology Research Paper Knowledge Research Paper Love Research Paper Quality of Life Research Paper Social Change Research Paper Social Movements Research Paper Social Networks Research Paper

  21. Social Experiment Research Paper

    A social experiment is the random assignment of human subjects to two groups to examine the effects of social policies. One group, called the "treatment group," is offered or required to participate in a new program, while a second group, the "control group," receives the existing program. The two groups are monitored over time to ...

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    To write a really good research paper on the topic you have to know that as a science, social policy is constructed as a discipline of study and reflection that seeks to achieve a historical and even epistemological mediation between the demands of "economic" (the well-being) and "political" (common good) by a theoretical corpus itself.

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