Behaviorism and Empiricism

Because of the emphasis on operationalism and quantitative data, neopositivists tend to study the pattern of observable behavior, concentrating on specific instances of interaction, sometimes counting frequency and patterns of repetition. Substantive problems of social structure and the history of institutions and ideas are often ignored, the concrete behavior becomes the focus of sociological inquiry. Neopositivists develop non-subjective, non-voluntarist theories of action and interaction. Based on mechanistic and field-theoretic conceptions, extreme variants of Neopositivism can border on behavioral determinism.


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Whether survey research or experimental observation, empirical work follows a standard pattern. The problem must be investigated by fact-finding research. Formulating a set of hypotheses that can be tested based on individual responses to a group of questions. Collection of answers in an interview schedule, structured questionnaire.