The term sociology is a combination of two words, socius and logos, which mean respectively society and study. Thus, a simple etymological definition of sociology is that it is the science of society. Sociology is a social or behavioral science that originated in the 19th century in Western Europe; its main concern is discovering the basic laws and principles that govern human social life, the social world, the working and development of society and its institutions. It grew out of
the great revolutionary contexts, with great concern to address the social changes, disorders and problems of the modern world.
Micro-sociology studies the micro aspects of human society, that is the social processes and phenomena taking place at small scale levels; macro-sociology studies the macro aspects, that is, the overall structure, functioning, change, development and processes of social phenomena at large-scale levels. The six major filed of study in sociology are social organization and social theory, social change, social problems, social processes, social groups, and social control.
Learning sociology provides us with sociological imagination, an illuminating way of understanding the forces and factors that affect our lives as individuals, groups, communities and nations. Sociology provides us with much practical benefit and it contributes greatly to the solutions for contemporary societal problems.
Research is very important in sociology. Although some challenge its scientific status, it uses the scientific method to produce, store and disseminate scientific knowledge on society and social phenomena. A typical sociological research may involve seven steps, and each step is very important and has to be carefully followed to do standard and quality research. Sociology is not an island; it is interdependent with other sciences; and as to its subject matter it is more or less
similar with the other social or behavioral sciences such as anthropology, social psychology, political science, economics, and human geography. However, as to its methods, focus, unit of analysis, and approaches, it is different. The closest discipline to sociology is social anthropology; they share similar historical development, concepts, theories, and approaches; although the
former focuses on modern societies and quantitative research and the latter focuses on traditional societies and qualitative research techniques.