We will also explore different ways in which this affects the way both qualitative research is conducted and the ways it has affect personal lives and social policy
In order to attempt to make social sciences a 'pure science', sociologists previously gathered data only in the form of quantitative methods. This was primarily to avoid empirical problems involving the lack of 'hard' evidence, but it removed one vital aspect of social studies that essentially set it apart from other sciences: the personal element. Indeed, deductive methods are less refutable but they do not involve the individual and certainly do not entertain the idea of the spiritual or mental differences between two people. Over time, both qualitative and quantitative research have been melded into an interdisciplinary approach to social research but this depends on the type of research, the problem/issue to be dealt with and the question one wishes to answer. How research is conducted depends on the nature of the reality one wishes to study, the knowledge we have about that reality and then the way that knowledge is organized. In other words the ontology, epistemology and methodology of social research refers to the various sectors of sociological information we have. With regards to social policy and personal lives, quantitative research will tell us very little about the way we perceive our surroundings, but qualitative research is focused on the individual for whom that very society is constructed.
Social policies such as welfare systems and educational institutions are built around the specific social group and while it is well known that generalizations about society are often made, qualitative research seeks to verify certain realities. The research essentially grants the scientist the viewpoint 'from the horse's mouth'. For example, what people think about legal systems can be postulated around ones own opinion, but it is only when others are asked that this hypothesis can be true or not. One can always assume that people work for instance in the Care-giving industry because they enjoy it or because they feel a moral obligation to do so, but by asking the recipient themselves a clearer picture is given. That Care work is relegated to those with more compassion than other, may necessarily be assumption, but the relationship between personal lives and this form of social policy cannot be removed. This is because Care work is based on the individual and not the collectivity. Therefore care-workers are often spit into formal and informal (Fink, 2004: 5). This basically splits the category into those that volunteer and those that are paid. Over time there has unfortunately been a great deal of dissention regarding abuse of these positions in cases of potential sexual molestation and physical abuse (Fink, 2004: 11). This meant that prejudices were in place regarding the use of male 'carers' in female homes. Again this problem arose due in part to misconceptions surrounding what men are supposed to be. The biological approaches to sociology often put men across as being the breadwinner who has to go out and kill the beast for meals and then come home and procreate in order to maintain the population and the spread of their seed. This Darwinian hypothesis was proved only