社会学有几个主要原则：个人属于群体，影响他们的行为;群体具有独立于其成员的特征（即，整体大于其各部分的总和）;社会学侧重于群体之间的行为模式（由性别，种族，阶级，性取向等定义）。社会学研究涉及几个大的领域，包括全球化，种族和民族，消费，家庭，社会不平等，人口，健康，工作，教育和宗教。虽然民族志最初与人类学有关，但许多社会学家也做人种学，这是一种定性的研究方法。然而，社会学家倾向于进行更多的定量研究 – 研究大型数据集，如调查 – 而不是人类学家。此外，社会学更关注人群和/或机构之间的等级或不平等的权力关系。尽管当代社会学家在世界各地进行研究，但社会学家仍然倾向于研究“他们自己的”社会 – 即美国和欧洲 – 比非西方国家更多。
There are several main principles of sociology: individuals belong to groups and influence their behavior; groups have characteristics that are independent of their members (ie, the whole is greater than the sum of their parts); sociology focuses on behavioral patterns between groups (by gender) , race, class, sexual orientation, etc.). Sociology research involves several major areas, including globalization, race and ethnicity, consumption, family, social inequality, population, health, work, education, and religion. Although ethnography was originally related to anthropology, many sociologists also do ethnography, which is a qualitative research method. However, sociologists tend to do more quantitative research – research large data sets, such as surveys – rather than anthropologists. In addition, sociology pays more attention to the hierarchy or unequal power relations between people and/or institutions. Although contemporary sociologists conduct research around the world, sociologists still tend to study “their own” societies – that is, the United States and Europe – more than non-Western countries.