Saturday, June 15, 2024

Methods of Sociology and Why is it Important for Physiotherapists


Methods of Sociology

Method means an appropriate way of doing something and since sociology is a science it uses some methods to collect, analyze sociological facts, put them into proper form, and draw certain conclusions from them.

Sociology uses an appropriate methodology that eliminates the possibility of personal bias from influencing the evaluation and interpretation of social facts. There are many methods in sociology- historical method, observation method, laboratory or experimental method, common-sense method, statistical method, anthropological or comparative method, survey method, detective method, philosophical method, etc.

Let us look at some of the common methods of sociology.

Case Study Method

It is a form of qualitative analysis. It focuses on an all-inclusive and intensive study of an individual or group in which the variables that are being measured and explored for empirical relations are characteristics of that individual or group and not a sub-unit of it.

Characteristics of Studying Methods of Sociology:

  • The researcher can study a single social unit
  • Studying of all facets of the selected unit
  • It studies mutual inter-relationship of casual factors
  • Generalization- may not be possible


  • Principle of Acceptance– refers to the attitude of the researcher, respect for the client as a person. Making the client feeling secure and encouraging him to speak frankly about his/her problems.
  • Principle of Self Determination– allows the client to decide for himself/herself instead of the professional deciding for him/her
  • Principle of Confidentiality– implies that the relationship between professional and client is that of trust and any information revealed is to remain confidential and not shared with anyone (except with the permission of the client)

The method of case study is used in various settings such as:

  • Child guidance clinics
  • Medical and psychiatric settings
  • Family welfare centers
  • Marriage counseling centers
  • Institutions for the old
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • De addiction centres etc

Opinion Poll Method

This is a popular method to collect information from a huge sample about a specific social phenomenon. This method is used to look for and determine the beliefs and attitudes of the public on various social, economic, and political situations.

It is easy to use. The public gives its views simply by answering as “YES”, “NO” or “DO NOT KNOW” to the proposition. The results help the concerned authorities to bring about the necessary changes.

Interview Method

In this method, there is direct personal contact between the interviewer and the concerned person or group under the study. This method allows for a clear understanding of the problems as they are discussed personally and then can be remedied accordingly.

The interview method, in general, is more flexible. Each question means something different to each interviewee and such discrepancies can be removed by the interviewer. The interviewer here can also probe for truthful answers and draw conclusions based on the overall behavior of the person.

On the contrary, interviews are time-consuming and can have personal influences. And there is the possibility of the person not being completely truthful in the fear of being judged.

Questionnaire Method

This method makes use of a questionnaire- a list of important questions regarding a problem, instructing the participants to answer one or more questions to the best of their knowledge and ability.

It is a simple, feasible, and time-efficient method of collecting data and can be easily constructed by beginning researchers. IT can be useful to collect data from a widely scattered sample in a limited time. However, questions must be formulated carefully so that they are not ambiguous, too difficult, too many, or too personal for a man of average intelligence and common understanding. This method provides enough time for the respondent to think and answer and complete anonymity usually encourages them to answer truthfully.

On the other hand, questionnaires lack depth and some questions may force the subject to select responses that are not their actual choice. Mailed questionnaires limit the sample as only the literate can participate.

Survey Methods of Sociology

The social survey method is concerned with collecting data from a particular area about the living and working conditions of people there. It targets a specific social problem and the results help formulate a constructive program for the solution.

Types of Social Surveys:

  • General or specialized surveys
  • Direct or indirect surveys
  • Census surveys or sample surveys
  • Primary or secondary surveys
  • Official, semi-official or private surveys
  • Postal or personal surveys; etc.

 Steps in Social survey:

  1. Defining the purpose or objects
  2. Defining the problem to be studied
  3. Analysing this problem in a schedule
  4. Delimiting the area or scope
  5. Examining all documentary sources
  6. Fieldwork
  7. Arranging, tabulating, and statistically analyzing the collected data
  8. The interpretation of the results
  9. Deduction
  10. Graphic expression

Why is it important to study sociology for Physiotherapists?

The following points will elaborate on why studying sociology and its methods are important for a Physiotherapist and how it helps:

  • The knowledge of sociology helps the health professionals know the cultural background of patients and their social life. In a diverse country like India having numerous religions, cultures, castes, tribes, and communities it becomes all the more important to know about these before treating a patient.
  • Many times, the customs, beliefs, traditions, folkways, and values can hinder a particular treatment, therefore to make the physiotherapy services more effective, the therapist must know about these beforehand. Here knowledge of sociology is essential.
  • For treating a disease, a cooperative effort is required by the complete rehab team including medical, paramedical, and non-medical personals. Knowledge of sociology will help the physiotherapists to maintain a congenial relationship with different members of the team and the patient as well.
  • The patient is the most important member of the rehab team and his/her contribution is necessary for recovery. It is impossible to treat a patient unless he desires it. So, a physiotherapist must be able to gain the confidence of the patient and build a rapport such that the patient is willing to cooperate in the treatment. The knowledge of social systems and relationships is vital in this scenario.
  • To provide physiotherapy services and understand the patients and their needs, physiotherapists must be emotionally, mentally, morally, and socially mature. The study of sociology along with psychology is useful in this process and helps the therapists to develop self-understanding
  • Today physiotherapy focuses on both preventive services, and the promotion of health and no just curing an illness. Sociology- the science of human society, equips the physiotherapists to understand more about community so that they can help in its improvement.
  • Knowledge of the communities, facilities and available resources is essential to be an effective agent of health promotion.
  • Nowadays, physiotherapists not just work in hospitals, they serve in various areas like- public health, multinational companies, educational institutions, and so on. Since physiotherapists work near different parts of society, the knowledge of sociology is extremely useful in dealing with patients.
  • The advent of technology and continuous progress has had a very useful impact on society and eliminated many diseases as well, but on the other hand, it has brought new challenges to physiotherapists like- conditions of the elderly and their problems, patients suffering from AIDS, people with permanent disabilities, etc.
  • To serve all these people of society, a deep understanding of human behavior, relationships, and psychology is important.

References –

Read more

Our Categories

Local News