Copyright

What Is Paradigm? - Definition, Development & Examples

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Scientific Method Applications to Human Growth and Development Research

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Defining Paradigms
  • 1:10 Where Do Paradigms Come From?
  • 1:43 Theoretical Paradigms…
  • 3:36 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: David White
In this lesson, you will learn what paradigms are and gain insight into how paradigms are used as an approach to sociological research. When you are through with the lesson, you can test your new knowledge with the supplemental quiz.

Defining Paradigms

Have you ever stopped to consider all of the little pieces that make up the culture in which you live? There are, of course, many traditions and institutions, like public schools, but what about the beliefs that you share with those around you, like friends and family? These ideas, concepts, and beliefs that you and others share about religion, nationality, and other pieces of culture are probably a big part of your individual and collective identities, but how often do you consider where they came from or how they might change?

The collection of beliefs and concepts is what is known as a paradigm, which is a set of theories, assumptions, and ideas that contribute to your worldview or create the framework from which you operate every day. For example, you've probably heard the phrase 'the American way of life,' which is a paradigm because it refers to a collection of beliefs and ideas about what it means to be American. For people who find this paradigm very important, it may serve as the foundation of how they view or interact with the world around them. This emphasizes one of the most important purposes of a paradigm, which is that it is comprised of beliefs and ideas that form a framework to approach and engage with other things or people.

Where Do Paradigms Come From?

In sociology, paradigms originated in the work of some key European philosophers, like Karl Marx and Emile Durkheim, during the mid-to-late 19th century. Although they may not have specifically labeled them paradigms, these thinkers constructed a number of theories to explore how certain elements of society were related or to address social problems caused by, among other things, the growing power of capitalism. Throughout the 20th century, sociologists built on these earlier concepts and theories to form the basis of modern sociological approaches and traditions.

Theoretical Paradigms in Sociology

Within sociological tradition, there are three major paradigms that researchers use as the foundation for analysis of societies:

1.) Structural Functionalism is a perspective that relates to the ways that individual pieces of a society or culture intersect and rely on each other to form a functioning whole. For example, in cities and towns, there is a formal government that exists to provide and maintain services for residents, like schools and highways, and in turn, those residents pay taxes to the government in order for them to keep operating. The functionalist perspective would view these as interdependent relationships in which each side is cooperating with the other to ensure the whole function of the city.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support