Course of Human Sciences

Professor TODOROKI Makoto (Sociology)

[Theme] Sociological Social Psychology and Social Research Methods

1. The Fun of Sociology

Sociology is not something that most high school students are familiar with. Furthermore, it is probably a little more difficult to visualize compared to other social sciences such as law or economics, humanities such as literature or philosophy, or psychology. However, it is actually a highly recognized and esteemed subject in corporate society. Sociology is often called "the last social science" in that it is the newest of the various disciplines for studying society.

Sociology is characterized by its pioneering nature that delves into a phenomena unexplored by the other social sciences along with a sense of integration that perceives complex societies from an overall perspective. For example, whenever a new social phenomenon such as the Web society emerges, sociology actively engages it through research and tries to decipher its connection to various other elements. I still get excited when I think of what type of explanations sociology can offer for various events, and feel that it keeps me informed on various subjects.

2. Survey Research Methodology and Sociological Social Psycology

My special area of study is social research methods. We require various data to study society in a scientific manner. If we do not have data, then anything we say will be nothing more than idle talk. The social research I am referring to here is a method of data collection conducted by businesses and government offices, namely, enquete. However, enquete is often considered as being a little suspicious, maybe because they do not always seem very academic. As if to confirm these suspicions, the truth is that many questionnaire surveys have various flaws in terms of being considered as a scientific technique. If we are to attain a proper awareness of society, then we need to practice appropriate social research. Therefore, I currently work alongside my colleagues in developing a practical survey research technique.

Using data obtained from social research, I also study how people in our society think of things (social awareness), what causes discrepancies in social awareness, and how social awareness changes with time. In my thesis "Shokugyoukan to Gakkou Seikatsukan ? Wakamono no ‘Majime' wa Houkai Shita no ka" (Career Views and the Sense of School Life ? Have Our Youth Lost Their Seriousness?), I clarified how the social awareness of high school students changed over a period of seventeen years. At present, I am attempting to use national survey data from 2005 in order to analyze how people's values and political attitudes changed, with one example being unraveling the mystery behind the general public's support of Koizumi. I also study topics such as "organization and consensus building," but I think I will save that for next time.

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