As was presented during the reading and discussions on chapter one of our text, historically, there have been three primary theoretical perspectives that sociologists have utilized to interpret social life. These are symbolic interaction ism, functional analysis and conflict theory. Students are introduced to these theories in the first chapter of the text and they are revisited on numerous occasions throughout the semester. In addition to these theories, students have also been introduced to the long standing debate in sociology as to whether or not the purpose or goal of social research should be only to advance the understanding of human behavior or if it should be also investigate and reform harmful social arrangements.
Based on the above information, the requirement for this General Education Competency Assignment is that all students complete a paper that summarizes each of the three primary theoretical perspectives by identifying the role of instrumental/influential figures and the key concepts/ideas related to each of these three theories. Students will then identify which of these three theories they believe to be most useful in studying society today and explain the rationale behind their selection. Finally, students will provide their own argument to the debate as to whether the purpose of social research should be only to advance the understanding of human behavior or to investigate/reform harmful social arrangements.