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Comparative Method In Sociological Research

Topic: Sociology

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The Phrase “comparative method” refers to the method of comparing different societies or groups within the same society to show whether and why they are similar or different in certain respects. Both Montesquieu and Auguste Comte, often regarded as the founders of sociology, used or recommended ‘comparison’ to establish and explain both differences and similarities between societies. The comparative method was for long considered the method par excellence of sociology. According to Andre Beteille, comparative method is used distinctly by two sets of scholars. Firstly, the ‘enthusiasts’ those who make cross board analysis. These include Edward Tylor, Herbert Spencer, Emile Durkheim and Radcliff Brown . Secondly the ‘skeptics’- those who use comparative method with great degree of caution. These include Franz Boas, Gouldner, And Evans Pritchard. Auguste Comte used the comparative method by suggesting the comparison of human with non- human characteristics, to show what was distinctive ...

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