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Problems of Objectivity in Sociological Research

Sociology being a science aspires for the goal objectivity but it continues to be an elusive goal at the practical level. All research is guided by certain viewpoints which involve subjectivity. The ideological biases acquired in the course of education and training has a bearing on the choice of the topic of research. Subjectivity can also creep in at the time of formulation of hypotheses. All sociological theories are limited to particular groups whose viewpoints and interests they represent. Thus formulation of hypotheses will automatically introduce a bias in the sociological research.

Another level at which subjectivity creeps in the course of research is that of collection of empirical data.

No technique of data collection is perfect. In case of participant observation the observer acquires a bias in favour of the group he is studying. While in non-participant observation of the sociologist belongs to a different group than that under study he is likely to impose his values and prejudices. In all societies there are certain prejudices which affect the research studies. In case of interview as a technique the data may be influenced by context of the interview, the interaction of the participants, and participant's definition of the situation and if adequate rapport does not extend between them there might be communication barriers.