There is an ongoing debate on whether or not sociology is a science; science is defined as a systematic knowledge of the physical or material work gained through observation and experimentation. Natural sciences have few key aims – the principal aim is to base laws and theories on objective facts that are obtained through investigation of observable phenomena. This involves using statistical techniques to test the relationship between variables, objectivity is very important in science where research and knowledge are free from bias.
Positivists believe that what goes on in reality is not random or by chance, but patterned and it is science's job to observe and record these patterns in a system to be able to explain them. Compte argues that sociology should be based on the methodology of the natural sciences and that it would result in 'invariable laws' within society. The patterns that are observed whether they are in nature or in society can all be explained the same way through finding facts that cause them. According to Compte sociology is therefore a science as like science it consists of gathering information about the social world, analysing data and making conclusions on the social laws which govern society.
Durkheim although a positivist criticised Compte, he argued that in sociology could only be considered a natural science if it was studied objectively and so social facts were studied as objects. Though this is often difficult as social facts tend to be unnoticeable therefore sociologists must avoid being bias when developing their theories and concepts.
Positivist Popper suggested in his theory of falsification that in order for something to be regarded as a valid science it must try to disprove their hypothesis. He believed that science can never have absolute truth, but the longer it can go without being falsified the truer it is. He rejects theories in sociology such as Marxism as it creates theories such as 'false consciousness' which...