SOC 106 Acadia University Comparative Historical Approaches Paper

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Please take some time to reflect upon the central concepts, questions, and main case studies that
we have explored in our class this quarter. What kinds of questions and what kinds of
comparative methods, evidence/data, and conceptual frameworks have we seen at work in the
scholarship under consideration? How have our authors used comparative and historical methods
in their accounts of change over time? What kinds of answers or conclusions have they come to
using comparative historical methods? Simply put – how are comparative historical approaches
to questions of social change put to use?

For Your Response:
? What are central strengths and uses of critical comparative historical
research in the context of sociological research? In what ways do comparative
historical methods help answer questions concerning the emergence,
reproduction, and/or changes in social ideas, values, practices, and/or institutions?
? Please consider and respond to both the historical and the comparative
components of this method: What, specifically, about the use of historical
evidence is helpful for answering sociological questions? What,
specifically, about the use of comparative methodology is helpful for
answering sociological questions? When responding, please use at least
four examples from our course materials.
? To your estimation, are there limitations to using comparative historical
methods in sociological research? Are there particular issues or kinds of
research questions for which comparative historical methods are not the
strongest or most appropriate approach? Why? – Or why not?
Continued on Next Page…

? Given our readings, lectures, discussions, and midterm reflections, please
respond to the following four questions. For each of the four questions,
please use at least one example from our course materials when providing your
(Please Note: The following questions do not have simple or agreed upon
‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers – your responses should reflect your carefully
considered evaluation and assessment in light of our course materials and
1.) Are some factors or variables more important than others when researching
and explaining social change? Yes? No? It depends? If so, which ones? If
not, why not?
2.) Are there identifiable patterns or ‘trends’ in history that help explain social
change? If so, what sorts of socio-historical patterns and trends are
particularly significant?
3.) Are large-scale social changes somewhat or very predictable? Are the
reasons or causes of social change relatively generalizable? If so, how/why?
4.) Are social changes somewhat or very unpredictable? Are the reasons or
causes of social change somewhat or very difficult to generalize from? If so,

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