Several ways of knowing are practiced across disciplines, but in general, the scientific method is the dominant way of knowing. This essay explores the ways of knowing and applies it to the issue of marrying older for many people, who have higher educational background and socio-economic status.
When thinking about the social world, people use one or more of the four processes of knowing: 1) observing through the five senses, 2) making generalizations of what have been observed from other people, events, and places, 3) reasoning about observed connections in the world, and 4) “reevaluating” the understanding of the social world through these processes (Schutt, 2012, p.5). These are the basic means of acquiring and changing knowledge. Moreover, they can also be ways of learning, if something in the person changes because of the process of knowing.
The aforementioned ways of knowing, however, are not always “scientific,” which means that they can lead to faulty knowledge, and so scientific ways of knowing have been developed to aid a more logical and credible way of acquiring knowledge. On September 13, 2012, the class discussed the basic ways of knowing and they are experience, traditions, social expectations, formal training, and research. These examples show that some people may rely on traditions to build their knowledge, while others depend on experience. Social scientists, however, mostly learn through formal training and research. The class syllabus talks about the ways of knowing with a focus on the scientific methods of knowing.
The ways of knowing are important to the sociological research process because it wants to gather social patterns, not stereotypes, about society and individuals. In the lecture on 30 August 2012, the class discussed C. Wright Mills and his ideas on sociological imagination. Mills differentiated social patterns as something can that can be empirically proven while