Natural science refers to the study of the physical body or the natural environment and it refers to
subjects such as biology, chemistry and physics. Sociology however is a discilinary approach to studying human social behaviour. There has been a long and heated debate over whether or not sociological research should be based on the methods of natural sciences.
The Positivists sociologists are among those who believe that sociology should be based on the methods of natural sciences. This is because they believe that human behaviour, just like the subjects under study of natural sciences, can be directly observed and objectively measured. They also believe that human behaviour is based on a cause and effect relationship and that it responds to external stimuli. Natural scientists conduct their research on these four principles, and since sociologists can also use these principles to study human behaviour, then they should adopt the methods of natural science, according to Positivist sociologists.
Popper (1959), though not a positivist, he agrees with them on them matter that sociological research
should adopt the methods of natural sciences. He believed that sociological research, just like that of
natural science, is deductive rather than inductive. This means that it produces specific statements after a studying a topic generally, rather than producing general statements after studying a subject specifically. He also believes that the more difficult it is to falsify a sociological theory, the closer it comes to being true, which is a method used by natural scientists also.
On the other hand though, Interpretivists sociologists postulate that sociological research cannot be
based on the methods of natural sciences. This is because they believe that human behaviour has
meanings and purpose, and thus it is not just a reaction to external stimuli. Additionally, humans have a consciousness which comprises of thoughts, feelings and emotions, all of which...