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Q: How can moral degeneration be scientifically studied? Delineate the entire research process for studying this phenomenon.

Lets exchange ideas over this!
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Q: How can moral degeneration be scientifically studied? Delineate the entire research process for studying this phenomenon.

Lets exchange ideas over this!
Looking at it from a purely research based perspective, it is not possible to study the whole concept of moral degeneration via the scientific method. You can select a certain aspect of moral degeneration such as, the reasons for the decline of social mores while interacting with women in an office setting in Pakistan. I was baffled by the very nature of this question when I saw it in the exam. When you set out to scientifically study a topic, you make sure that you pick an aspect that is narrow and focused, not broad and general. Even if you look at it purely as a CSS exam question, it is not feasible to attempt it because there is no way you can satisfactorily cover all aspects of moral degeneration. If sociological commentary on this topic was required, without research centrism, it would have been much more prudent to spend time on this question. The reason is that you can apply sociological theory to answer the different aspects of moral degeneration which not only covers multiple aspects but also provides a theoretical base to discuss those aspects. The scientific research method can only focus on one aspect at a time. For example, if I were to prove scientifically that one reason for moral degeneration is the decline of religion, I would go about choosing a population and a subsequent sample and control group for observation and interviews. However, the decline of religion requires a separate sample, as do other aspects of moral degeneration. Theoretically, however, I would be much better served by Marx's theory of religion, or Weber's and Durkheim's subscriptions of religion to answer the reason of this decline. Moreover, the Theory of Anomie and other relevant theories can also help me explain other aspects of moral degeneration in the time required for me to answer one question in the exam. Therefore, this question is, in my opinion, is put there to lull the student into a false sense of security. Its statement is overly simplistic, and it is a deceptively long question to answer in just 35 minutes.

I would love your views on whether there is a simplified approach to answering this question.
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Originally Posted by Muhammadwd View Post
Looking at it from a purely research based perspective, it is not possible to study the whole concept of moral degeneration via the scientific method. You can select a certain aspect of moral degeneration such as, the reasons for the decline of social mores while interacting with women in an office setting in Pakistan. I was baffled by the very nature of this question when I saw it in the exam. When you set out to scientifically study a topic, you make sure that you pick an aspect that is narrow and focused, not broad and general. Even if you look at it purely as a CSS exam question, it is not feasible to attempt it because there is no way you can satisfactorily cover all aspects of moral degeneration. If sociological commentary on this topic was required, without research centrism, it would have been much more prudent to spend time on this question. The reason is that you can apply sociological theory to answer the different aspects of moral degeneration which not only covers multiple aspects but also provides a theoretical base to discuss those aspects. The scientific research method can only focus on one aspect at a time. For example, if I were to prove scientifically that one reason for moral degeneration is the decline of religion, I would go about choosing a population and a subsequent sample and control group for observation and interviews. However, the decline of religion requires a separate sample, as do other aspects of moral degeneration. Theoretically, however, I would be much better served by Marx's theory of religion, or Weber's and Durkheim's subscriptions of religion to answer the reason of this decline. Moreover, the Theory of Anomie and other relevant theories can also help me explain other aspects of moral degeneration in the time required for me to answer one question in the exam. Therefore, this question is, in my opinion, is put there to lull the student into a false sense of security. Its statement is overly simplistic, and it is a deceptively long question to answer in just 35 minutes.

I would love your views on whether there is a simplified approach to answering this question.
Fully agree with your point of view. The term "Moral Degeneration" is far too broad and with far too many factors involved for a single comprehensive study to be created that can ever even hope to study all of it. And then on top of all that "morality" is necessarily subjective and hence any study revolving it can neither be conclusive nor universally accepted. I found this really interesting article which though I can't read as its a paid journal it still raises very valid questions regarding the sociology of morality and ethic theories. ( https://link.springer.com/article/10...186-007-9044-y ) It also seeks to contrast Weber and Durkheim's approaches to Morality which is an interesting contrast in itself.

Personally if I was pressed to attempt this question and couldn't see any other option I'd focus on the first half more. "How can moral degeneration be scientifically studied?" This question most definitely is doable and you can add in approaches of previous sociologists to illustrate how it has been studied scientifically. I'd also add a portion while attempting which focuses on the WHY is it so difficult as a sociological concept; mainly rooted in how any attempt at studying moral degeneration is based on a baseline concept of "morality" itself which not only changes across time but is not the same even among people living in the same locality. Religion influences it but so do things like economic and social class. This adds layers of complexity to this topic which need to be handled carefully by any researcher.

Also the wording of the second half is really interesting to me; "Delineate the entire research process for studying this phenomenon." I could interpret this as being an extension of what I discussed above and instead of creating a specific research design as an example would simply work out the steps theoretically. So for example step one would be doing some preliminary digging into what has been done before and what theories people have based their researches on. Step two would be maybe to get a basic survey into how people living in the locality/social/economic/professional etc class (aka the people who we are interested in) define morality to begin with so that we have a baseline to go on in order to study the phenomenon of moral degeneration and so on and so forth the steps would continue being more general rather than written around a specific hypothesis.

This approach might make the question appear a tad bit haphazard but I'd avoid committing to a single end all sort of study/research.
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Some more interesting questions from CSS past papers;
  1. Discuss the status of elderly people in Pakistani society.
  2. Is Max Weber more relevant than Durkheim in today's globalising world? Discuss with reference to their theoretical contributions.
  3. Define the term "Social Problem" and discuss Crime (In one year "Smuggling" came instead) as a Social Problem?
  4. How evolutionary theories of sociology provide a stimulating gesture to transform societies? Compare and contrast the classical and neo-classical school of thoughts for understanding phenomenon of social change.
  5. Terrorism has become a real and potential threat to the global peace and stability. What role social scientists can play to combat their problem?
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Originally Posted by aishalam View Post
Fully agree with your point of view. The term "Moral Degeneration" is far too broad and with far too many factors involved for a single comprehensive study to be created that can ever even hope to study all of it. And then on top of all that "morality" is necessarily subjective and hence any study revolving it can neither be conclusive nor universally accepted. I found this really interesting article which though I can't read as its a paid journal it still raises very valid questions regarding the sociology of morality and ethic theories. ( https://link.springer.com/article/10...186-007-9044-y ) It also seeks to contrast Weber and Durkheim's approaches to Morality which is an interesting contrast in itself.

Personally if I was pressed to attempt this question and couldn't see any other option I'd focus on the first half more. "How can moral degeneration be scientifically studied?" This question most definitely is doable and you can add in approaches of previous sociologists to illustrate how it has been studied scientifically. I'd also add a portion while attempting which focuses on the WHY is it so difficult as a sociological concept; mainly rooted in how any attempt at studying moral degeneration is based on a baseline concept of "morality" itself which not only changes across time but is not the same even among people living in the same locality. Religion influences it but so do things like economic and social class. This adds layers of complexity to this topic which need to be handled carefully by any researcher.

Also the wording of the second half is really interesting to me; "Delineate the entire research process for studying this phenomenon." I could interpret this as being an extension of what I discussed above and instead of creating a specific research design as an example would simply work out the steps theoretically. So for example step one would be doing some preliminary digging into what has been done before and what theories people have based their researches on. Step two would be maybe to get a basic survey into how people living in the locality/social/economic/professional etc class (aka the people who we are interested in) define morality to begin with so that we have a baseline to go on in order to study the phenomenon of moral degeneration and so on and so forth the steps would continue being more general rather than written around a specific hypothesis.

This approach might make the question appear a tad bit haphazard but I'd avoid committing to a single end all sort of study/research.
Absolutely right. To your point on the second half of this question, it is really intriguing isn't it? You are right that the delineation of the entire process requires specificity which is not offered by the examiner. The best possible way is to, as you said, be general at the expense of the structure of the answer.
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Originally Posted by aishalam View Post
Some more interesting questions from CSS past papers;
  1. Discuss the status of elderly people in Pakistani society.
  2. Is Max Weber more relevant than Durkheim in today's globalising world? Discuss with reference to their theoretical contributions.
  3. Define the term "Social Problem" and discuss Crime (In one year "Smuggling" came instead) as a Social Problem?
  4. How evolutionary theories of sociology provide a stimulating gesture to transform societies? Compare and contrast the classical and neo-classical school of thoughts for understanding phenomenon of social change.
  5. Terrorism has become a real and potential threat to the global peace and stability. What role social scientists can play to combat their problem?
1. How can one go about explaining the status of elderly people in Pakistan? The options in my mind are:
a. to approach the issue from the perspective of Family as a social institution and how it helps support the elderly. Case in point, Pakistan's family system
b. The concept of Religion as a social institution that provides rights to the elderly. Present a reference from Islamic sources of knowledge.
c. A contrasting view with modernity and western influence having an effect on younger generation to pursue materialistic interests at the expense of spending time with their aging parents. This can lead and to some extent has led to a rising trend of more senior centers and adult care centers.
d. Needless to say that some statistical references will be needed to back these arguments.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muhammadwd View Post
Looking at it from a purely research based perspective, it is not possible to study the whole concept of moral degeneration via the scientific method. You can select a certain aspect of moral degeneration such as, the reasons for the decline of social mores while interacting with women in an office setting in Pakistan. I was baffled by the very nature of this question when I saw it in the exam. When you set out to scientifically study a topic, you make sure that you pick an aspect that is narrow and focused, not broad and general. Even if you look at it purely as a CSS exam question, it is not feasible to attempt it because there is no way you can satisfactorily cover all aspects of moral degeneration. If sociological commentary on this topic was required, without research centrism, it would have been much more prudent to spend time on this question. The reason is that you can apply sociological theory to answer the different aspects of moral degeneration which not only covers multiple aspects but also provides a theoretical base to discuss those aspects. The scientific research method can only focus on one aspect at a time. For example, if I were to prove scientifically that one reason for moral degeneration is the decline of religion, I would go about choosing a population and a subsequent sample and control group for observation and interviews. However, the decline of religion requires a separate sample, as do other aspects of moral degeneration. Theoretically, however, I would be much better served by Marx's theory of religion, or Weber's and Durkheim's subscriptions of religion to answer the reason of this decline. Moreover, the Theory of Anomie and other relevant theories can also help me explain other aspects of moral degeneration in the time required for me to answer one question in the exam. Therefore, this question is, in my opinion, is put there to lull the student into a false sense of security. Its statement is overly simplistic, and it is a deceptively long question to answer in just 35 minutes.

I would love your views on whether there is a simplified approach to answering this question.

Agreed to an extent! Though the question is vague to be specific and to focus on the way to study the subject is really wide. Right! much of your thoughts are centered around theoretical take on the topic. But, if im pushed to write on it i will try to narrow down the concept of "moral degeneration" by certain Hypothesis and then delineating the research process as it exist: defining the topic, hypothesis, selecting research method and etc... Because, sticking to theoretical viewpoint as pointed would be risky in exam and im feel one should play safe.

And for the first part of question,"How can moral degeneration be scientifically studied?",which is equally important. I would focus on how other scientists have studied it. Besides, giving it theoretical touch and then centering on qualitative/quantitative ways to study it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aishalam View Post
Fully agree with your point of view. The term "Moral Degeneration" is far too broad and with far too many factors involved for a single comprehensive study to be created that can ever even hope to study all of it. And then on top of all that "morality" is necessarily subjective and hence any study revolving it can neither be conclusive nor universally accepted. I found this really interesting article which though I can't read as its a paid journal it still raises very valid questions regarding the sociology of morality and ethic theories. ( https://link.springer.com/article/10...186-007-9044-y ) It also seeks to contrast Weber and Durkheim's approaches to Morality which is an interesting contrast in itself.

Personally if I was pressed to attempt this question and couldn't see any other option I'd focus on the first half more. "How can moral degeneration be scientifically studied?" This question most definitely is doable and you can add in approaches of previous sociologists to illustrate how it has been studied scientifically. I'd also add a portion while attempting which focuses on the WHY is it so difficult as a sociological concept; mainly rooted in how any attempt at studying moral degeneration is based on a baseline concept of "morality" itself which not only changes across time but is not the same even among people living in the same locality. Religion influences it but so do things like economic and social class. This adds layers of complexity to this topic which need to be handled carefully by any researcher.

Also the wording of the second half is really interesting to me; "Delineate the entire research process for studying this phenomenon." I could interpret this as being an extension of what I discussed above and instead of creating a specific research design as an example would simply work out the steps theoretically. So for example step one would be doing some preliminary digging into what has been done before and what theories people have based their researches on. Step two would be maybe to get a basic survey into how people living in the locality/social/economic/professional etc class (aka the people who we are interested in) define morality to begin with so that we have a baseline to go on in order to study the phenomenon of moral degeneration and so on and so forth the steps would continue being more general rather than written around a specific hypothesis.

This approach might make the question appear a tad bit haphazard but I'd avoid committing to a single end all sort of study/research.
Agreed with your view. Limited theoretical aspect can be added and question can be handled as you mentioned. But, being exam specific, won't (your approach) centering attention to theoretical aspect rather than specific research sail the ship against the winds?

P.S. I didn't attempt the question there for it was broad.
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Originally Posted by aishalam View Post
Some more interesting questions from CSS past papers;
  1. Discuss the status of elderly people in Pakistani society.
  2. Is Max Weber more relevant than Durkheim in today's globalising world? Discuss with reference to their theoretical contributions.
  3. Define the term "Social Problem" and discuss Crime (In one year "Smuggling" came instead) as a Social Problem?
  4. How evolutionary theories of sociology provide a stimulating gesture to transform societies? Compare and contrast the classical and neo-classical school of thoughts for understanding phenomenon of social change.
  5. Terrorism has become a real and potential threat to the global peace and stability. What role social scientists can play to combat their problem?
I take up your questions and would express my thoughts subsequently.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aishalam View Post
Some more interesting questions from CSS past papers;
  1. Discuss the status of elderly people in Pakistani society.
  2. Is Max Weber more relevant than Durkheim in today's globalising world? Discuss with reference to their theoretical contributions.
  3. Define the term "Social Problem" and discuss Crime (In one year "Smuggling" came instead) as a Social Problem?
  4. How evolutionary theories of sociology provide a stimulating gesture to transform societies? Compare and contrast the classical and neo-classical school of thoughts for understanding phenomenon of social change.
  5. Terrorism has become a real and potential threat to the global peace and stability. What role social scientists can play to combat their problem?
1. Discuss the status of elderly people in Pakistani society.

Looking at the question at first i drew some other picture but then i pondered over this thought.

Status of elderly people in Pakistani society portrays a bleak picture. As the society is deprived of providing social and economic program for them. Therefore, they lack health facilities, face chronic diseases and mental health issues like depression, loneliness, etc. Besides, they also confront lack of resources, for instance, loss of income for their personal sustenance, economic dependency, social problems like loss of social relations, alienation from family and scarcity of elderly care units. Such a poor status of elderly people in Pakistani society is evident from society's reluctance to celebrate International Day for Older People.

Whats your take? Awaiting for views.
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