Different sociologists have classified sociological theory into different types. According to Boskoff in a volume entitled “modern sociological theory” classified into two types.
- Social theory
- Non-social theory
Humans identifies the two types of theory
- The Normative Theory
- Non-normative theory
Non-Normative theory is further classified into;
- Psychological theories
Helmut Wagner classification is as under.
- Positive sociological theories.
- Interpretative sociological theories.
- Non-Scientific Or evaluative social theories.
Different Types of Sociological Theory
Every sociologist has its own classification but most of them are agreed on the following various types of sociological theory.
Formal & Informal Theories
Formal theories are based on the structured and organized set of assumptions and propositions which are derived through systematic and Scientific Methods. Formal theories are open for verification in the field. In formal social theories are unstructured and unorganized based on the individual personal thinking and likes and dislikes. No strict logic and scientific methods are used in informal theories.
Descriptive & Explanatory Theories
The descriptive theories are simple and theoretical which gives answer to the questions, what, how, and where. Explanatory theories are clear, specific and logical. It gives explanatory theories are clear, specific and logical. It gives explanation through cause and effect relationship between two independent and dependent variables. These theories gives full explanation of the concepts.
Ideological & Scientific Theories
Ideological theories are based on some ideologies. It is a biased type of theories and qualifies the philosophy of biasness. It have its own aims and contents those particular contents which are in favour and support the some ideology while it does not contain. The propositions which goes against its philosophy.
Scientific theories are empirically testable, objective and neutral and also is a source of information. These theories are based on scientific observations and philosophy.
Intuitive & Objective Theories
Intuitive means immediate understanding without reasoning. These theories are based on the personal experience and long concentration of the scholar. In intuitive theory the contents cannot be repeated by scholar in a particular discipline. Intuition has been a source of many discoveries and inventions both in natural and social services but this cannot be repeated by an average researcher.
The objective theories maintain the fundamental requirements of objectivity of all costs. The researcher or scholar does not include his personal feelings and attitudes into the theory. The researcher remains a neutral person and deeps the objectivity of the theory in mind. These are basically the experimental theories.
Inductive & Deductive Theories
In sociology the inductive theories are used commonly. These are based on observations. Inductive theories focus on from particular to general. Deductive theories are based on classical logic and self-evident truth. It focus on from general to particular.
Microscopic & Macroscopic Theories
The microscopic theories study the minutes things. These theories focus on a few individuals, small groups, role, status etc. These theories goes into depth and study the small things thoroughly.
While the macroscopic theories are general theories which covering all human societies. These study things at large and high level. These theories work on the global basis and making generalization.
Structural Functional & Conflict Theories
Structural functional theories are the explanation of functionalist who are trying to bring order, integration, equilibrium and harmony in the social structure. These theories gives explanation about the structural aspects of a social situation and describes that how the normative order is functioning is that social structure.
Dynamic aspects of the social phenomena. The normative order is consider as a problem and social system is not based on harmony, peace and order. There exists opposition, conflict and tension in the social structure. So, these theories defines the conflict aspect and situation of the social system.
We conclude from the above discussion that every types of sociological theory is workable in a given time and place. All types of social theories are very important for the structure and function of a social system.