Sociologist Job Description
A sociologist is a social scientist who studies the development, structure, and functioning of human society. Sociologists carry out research to find solutions to social problems and to help formulate public policies.
A sociologist should be responsible, perceptive, enquiring, objective, analytical and methodical, and have the ability to communicate effectively. They should also be open-minded to tolerate people who think differently from them.
Famous sociologists include Emile Durkheim (reform of the French school system), Karl Marx (“The Communist Manifesto" and "Das Kapital"), Max Weber (rationalization and historical-comparative approach), Erving Goffman (symbolic interaction) and Pierre Bourdieu (class deprivation theory).
Pursue a career in sociology if you have an analytical mind and interest in exploring human social relationships.
What does a Sociologist do?
Sociologists may do some or all of the following:
- study the origin and structure of human societies
- study how human societies change
- study the effect of social relationships
- perform research to solve social problems and help formulate public policies
- collect data through surveys, observations, interviews, and other sources
- prepare and report findings
- analyze data for clients (government officials, market researchers or others)
- give advice and recommendations to clients and policy makers
- give public presentations on sociological issues
- teach at colleges and universities
Where does a Sociologist work?
Sociologists usually work normal office hours, but may sometimes work evenings and weekends to meet deadlines. They work in offices, but may also work outdoors when conducting research. They may travel to conduct research or to attend conferences or seminars.
What is Required to Become a Sociologist ?
To become a sociologist, you will need a master's or doctoral degree in sociology or a similar discipline.
Just to give you an idea, some of the classes that you’ll be taking in college may include:
- Sociological concepts and processes
- Human Sexuality
- Social Problems
- Social Research
- Social Inequality
- Classical Social Theory
- Contemporary Social Theory
A sociologist may specialize to become any of the following:
- Rural sociologist – a sociologist who studies rural society
- Public sociologist - a sociologist who specializes in the field of public sociology
- Political sociologist – a sociologist who studies the relationship between politics and society
- Environmental sociologist – a sociologist who specializes in the field of environmental sociology
- Industrial sociologist – a sociologist who studies human interactions in industrial organizations
- Architectural sociologist – a sociologist who specializes in the field of architectural sociology
- Visual sociologist - a sociologist who specializes in the field of visual sociology
- Feminist sociologist – a sociologist who specializes in the field of feminist sociology
- Relational sociologist – a sociologist who specializes in the field of relational sociology
- Military sociologist – a sociologist who studies the military
- Social psychologist – a psychologist who studies social behaviors and how people's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the group to which they belong
- Criminologist – a sociologist who studies crime
- Demographer – a person who studies human populations
Knowledge, Skills and Attributes
Sociologists need to have:
- self motivation
- social perceptiveness
- moral courage
- integrity and reliability
- good attention to detail
- good interpersonal skills
- good listening and communication skills
- good judgment and decision making skills
- analytical and problem solving skills
- time management and organizational skills
- leadership skills
- research and Interviewing skills
- negotiation and persuasion skills
- the ability to tolerate people who think differently from them
- the ability to stay up to date on current affairs
- the ability to make presentations and give speeches
- the ability to work well under pressure
- knowledge of political science and the ability to follow political trends
- knowledge of system analysis and evaluation
- knowledge of social theories
- knowledge of social problems
- knowledge of sociological research methods
Should I be a Sociologist ?
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