Social Research Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2012-20, Social Research Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 19 December, 2019 , © Lee Harvey 2012–2020.


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Sociological perspective

core definition

A sociological perspective is a broad theory that attempts to address all forms of all social activity.

explanatory context

Sociological perspective also has another meaning as in taking a sociological view of the world.


The concept of sociological perspective is often reduced to stating that 'there are X sociological perspectives' and then listing what the author regards as the three or four key theories, which is often some combination of conflict theory, consensus theory, functionalism, structuralism and (symbolic) interactionism. For example, Leon-Guerrero (2010, p. 47) claims to review 'the four sociological perspectives to understand the bases of class inequality' and then looks at functionslism, conflict perspective, feminism, interactionism. (More examples below).

analytical review

In an article on self-regulated learning, Vassallo (2011, p. 26) states:

In this analysis, four sociological perspectives are used—functionalism, neo-Marxism, symbolic interactionism, and cultural reproduction theory.

In a chapter entitled 'Perspectives on mental health and illness', Rogers and Pilgrim (2010, p. 1) states:

This chapter will then cover the following four perspectives within sociology: • social causation; • critical theory; • social constructivism; • social realism.

associated issues


related areas

See also

Researching the Real World Section


Leon-Guerrero, A., 2010, Social Problems: Community, Policy, and Social Action, London, Pine Forge Press.

Rogers, A. and Pilgrim, R., 2010, A Sociology of Mental Health and Illness, Buckingham, Open University Press.

Vassallo, S., 2011, 'Implications of institutionalizing self-regulated learning: an analysis from four sociological perspectives', Educational Studies, 47, pp. 26–49.

copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2020


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