从广义上讲，社会学是对社会的研究。社会学是一门非常广泛的学科，研究人类如何相互作用以及人类行为如何由社会结构（群体，社区，组织），社会类别（年龄，性别，阶级，种族等）和社会机构（政治，宗教，教育等）。社会学的基础是相信一个人的态度，行为和机会都是由社会的所有这些方面所塑造的。社会学的观点有四个方面：个人属于群体;群体影响我们的行为;群体具有独立于其成员的特征（即整体大于其各部分的总和）;社会学家关注群体的行为模式，例如基于性别，种族，年龄，阶级等的差异。社会学起源于19世纪早期的工业革命并受其影响。社会学有七位主要创始人：August Comte，W.E.B。 Du Bois，Emile Durkheim，Harriet Martineau，Karl Marx，Herbert Spencer和Max Weber。 August Comte被认为是“社会学之父”，因为他在1838年创造了社会学一词。他认为社会应该被理解和研究，而不是它应该是什么。他是第一个认识到理解世界和社会的道路是以科学为基础的人。 W.E.B.杜波伊斯是一位早期的美国社会学家，为种族和民族社会学奠定了基础，并在内战后立即对美国社会作出了重要分析。马克思，斯宾塞，涂尔干和韦伯帮助定义和发展社会学作为一门科学和学科，每一个都贡献了当今领域中仍然使用和理解的重要理论和概念。哈里特马蒂诺是一位英国学者和作家，也是建立社会学视角的基础，他对政治，道德和社会，性别歧视和性别角色之间的关系进行了大量写作。今天有两种主要的社会学研究方法。首先是宏观社会学或整个社会的研究。这种方法强调了对大规模和高水平理论抽象的社会系统和人口的分析。宏观社会学确实涉及个人，家庭和社会的其他方面，但它总是与他们所属的更大的社会系统相关。第二种方法是微观社会学或小群体行为研究。这种方法侧重于小规模日常人际互动的本质。在微观层面，社会地位和社会角色是社会结构中最重要的组成部分，微观社会学是基于这些社会角色之间持续的相互作用。许多当代社会学研究和理论将这两种方法联系起来。
Sociology, in the broadest sense, is the study of society. Sociology is a very broad discipline that examines how humans interact with each other and how human behavior is shaped by social structures (groups, communities, organizations), social categories (age, sex, class, race, etc.), and social institutions (politics, religion, education, etc.). The basic foundation of sociology is the belief that a person’s attitudes, actions, and opportunities are shaped by all of these aspects of society. The sociological perspective is fourfold: Individuals belong to groups; groups influence our behavior; groups take on characteristics that are independent of their members (i.e. the whole is greater than the sum of its parts); and sociologists focus on behavior patterns of groups, such as differences based on sex, race, age, class, etc. Sociology originated from and was influenced by the industrial revolution during the early nineteenth century. There are seven major founders of sociology: August Comte, W.E.B. Du Bois, Emile Durkheim, Harriet Martineau, Karl Marx, Herbert Spencer, and Max Weber. August Comte is thought of as the “Father of Sociology” as he coined the term sociology in 1838. He believed that society should be understood and studied as it was, rather than what it ought to be. He was the first to recognize that the path to understanding the world and society was based in science. W.E.B. Du Bois was an early American sociologist who laid the groundwork for the sociology of race and ethnicity and contributed important analyses of American society in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War. Marx, Spencer, Durkheim, and Weber helped define and develop sociology as a science and discipline, each contributing important theories and concepts still used and understood in the field today. Harriet Martineau was a British scholar and writer who was also fundamental to establishing the sociological perspective, who wrote prolifically about the relationship between politics, morals, and society, as well as sexism and gender roles. Today there are two main approaches to studying sociology. The first is macro-sociology or the study of society as a whole. This approach emphasizes the analysis of social systems and populations on a large scale and at a high level of theoretical abstraction. Macro-sociology does concern individuals, families, and other aspects of society, but it always does so in relation to the larger social system to which they belong. The second approach is micro-sociology or the study of small group behavior. This approach focuses on the nature of everyday human interaction on a small scale. At the micro level, social status and social roles are the most important components of social structure, and micro-sociology is based on the ongoing interactions between these social roles. Much contemporary sociological research and theory bridges these two approaches.