The perspective of psychology

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Psychology from a social perspective examines how people behave and think, then applies what it learns to a variety of routine and expressive human activities. The focus of sociology is on how people behave in social contexts, various facets of social life, and social connections generally, with a focus on social groups and institutions. Anthropology views human existence as a whole, including languages, artifacts, and physical and social circumstances (The University of Calicut, n.a.). Gerontology's point of view is on human aging and its associated social, cognitive, cultural, and other challenges (Luborsky, Sankar, 1993). The similarity between disciplines includes their common interest to human behavior, subject indivisible accurately to compartments. That fact leads to overlapping between social sciences boundaries and produce topics common for all fields, hybrid disciplines as social anthropology. The difference between disciplines include the level of specialization, for example, sociology gives the broadest view, while other disciplines concentrate on particular aspects: mental functions, aging, early cultures (The University of Calicut, n.a.).

The concept of social science interdisciplinarity involves the combination of some academic fields within one discipline. It is very important because it provides conditions for methods synthesizing and brand-new ideas emerging that will be oriented to needs never existed before. As an example of such interdisciplinarity, I would notice educational programs studying particular social problems with methods of a number of social sciences (The University of Calicut, n.a.).

Case research (case study) is a systematical empirical study of collected cases or phenomenon chosen by the researcher to represent some broader class of events, the accent in this method placed on in-depth investigation, detailed study of one or few events with next development of theoretical explanations (Porta, Keating, 2008).

This methodology in compare to an experimental design has such strengths as a deeper understanding of every particular phenomenon, holistic description, qualitative nature and such weaknesses as a little control over the traced process, inability to test particular features of objects separately, evaluate their influence. In compare to survey research methods it has such strengths as the faster availability of data, is holistic form, and weaknesses as less ability to modify data, emphasize some aspects of research through changing questionnaire (Porta, Keating, 2008).

With the methodology of case research related some validity, reliability, replicability issues as pre-existing theories applied in the study may be not reliable, cases might be hard to distinguish, empirical data not available, cognitive biases involved in explanation building (Ruzzene, 2014).

In the sociologists practice program evaluation is "the use of social research methods to systematically investigate the effectiveness of social intervention programs in ways that are adapted to their political and organizational environments and are designed to inform social action to improve social conditions" (N.A., n.a.). It includes such key components as need assessment, design assessment, implementation assessment, impact assessment, efficiency assessment (N.A., n.a.).

Program evaluation usage in causation determination related to such problems as self-selection, to avoid bias it is recommended to conduct evaluation with a random assignment. However, that design building is often impossible and therefore causation cannot be determined clearly. This type of study has some issues of reliability and validity, the first parameter is dependent on the statistical power of used measures, the second is dependent on the consensus of stakeholders (Miller, Salkind, 2002).

Methodological constraints and challenges in conducting program evaluation are; budget (usually evaluation is not included in initial project budgets), time (no time for adequate planning, less time in comparison to the life of the study), and data (no baseline data in a case of late evaluation initiation) constraints. Main challenges in the program evaluation process may arise in a case the researchers are unfamiliar with language or culture of program application (Rossi, Lipsey, & Freeman, 2004). The most frequent usage of program evaluation is for distinguishing worthwhile social programs from ineffective (N.A., n.a.).

Ethnographic method is naturalistic, it includes observation, without external intervention, interviewing, usually the research is longitudinal. In general, this method supposed to provide an understanding of people's perspective in the context of their casualty (Porta, Keating, 2008).

Sociologists and anthropologists use this method in a slightly different way that is related to different preferences in the study questions. An example of usage of the ethnographic method by sociologists is a study on understanding family institute in an early community (Gold, 1997). An example of usage of ethnographic method by anthropologists is a study about tribal potters of hunters work (Balan, n.a.).

The ethnographic method usage may be related to some ethical issues as during the study researchers are entering live of others. To avoid ethical issues, the work of researcher should be transparent for a studied community, its purpose clearly described to participants, special permission for delving into private aspects of life should be given by them. A researcher should be neutral in a case of conflict situations within the community. For the interview, he should use not too intimate questions, and keep confidence of provided information using invented names where it is required (Porta, Keating, 2008).


Balan, S. (n.a.). Ethnographic method in anthropological research. Retrieved on September 13, 2017 from

Delbert Charles Miller, Neil J. Salkind (2002) Handbook of Research Design & Social Measurement. Edition: 6, revised. Published by SAGE.

Gold, R.L. (1997). The Ethnographic Method in Sociology. Retrieved on September 13, 2017 from

Luborsky, M.R., Sankar, A. (1993). Extending the Critical Gerontology Perspective: Cultural Dimensions. Retrieved on September 14, 2017, from

N.A. (n.a.). An overview of Program Evaluation. Retrieved on September 15, 2017 from

Porta, D.D., Keating, M. (2008). Approaches and Methodologies in the Social Sciences: a pluralist perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rossi, P. Lipsey, M. W., & Freeman, H.E. (2004). Evaluation: A systematic approach (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Ruzzene, A. (2014). Using case studies in the social sciences: methods, inferences, purposes. Retrieved on September 14, 2017, from

The University of Calicut. (n.a.). Methodology and perspectives of social sciences. Retrieved on September 15, 2017 from

April 06, 2023

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