Ohio University

Why Study Sociology?

Sociology is the scientific study of the development, structure, and processes of human society. It uses systematic methods to examine and explain the social world by careful and objective analysis of human behavior. Sociologists focus on the actions, beliefs, values, norms, organizations, institutions, and other social forces that characterize a society and shape people's lives. To study all of these factors, sociologists use a variety of theoretical perspectives and scientific methods including surveys, interviews, and observation.

By carefully collecting and analyzing this information, sociologists produce explanations of how our social world works and how it influences our personal lives. This has turned sociology into a useful tool for solving social problems such as crime, discrimination, poverty, and inequality. Sociological research often helps business and labor officials, community organizations, educators, policymakers, public and private administrators, and the general citizenry to understand and solve issues that confront society on local, national, and international levels.

Students who study sociology are generally interested in human behavior, the human condition, and social justice. They want to know more about the cultural dynamics, institutions, norms, organizations, roles, structures, values, and other social forces that define societies. They are curious about how societies work—and importantly, why they often do not.