Powerful Geography




Main Topic: Human Geography
Secondary Topic: Environment and Society

Overview: Sociologists study society and social behavior by examining the groups, cultures, organizations, social institutions, and processes that develop when people interact and work together.  Sociologists study human behavior, interaction, and organization. They observe the activity of social, religious, political, and economic groups, organizations, and institutions. They examine the effect of social influences, including organizations and institutions, on different individuals and groups. They also trace the origin and growth of these groups and interactions. For example, they may research the impact of a new law or policy on a specific demographic.

Sociologists often use both quantitative and qualitative methods when conducting research, and they frequently use statistical analysis programs during the research process. Their research may help administrators, educators, lawmakers, and social workers to solve social problems and formulate public policy. Sociologists may specialize in a wide range of social topics, including, but not limited to:

    • education and health;
    • crime and poverty;
    • families and population;
    • and gender, racial, and ethnic relations.

Sociologists who specialize in crime may be called criminologists or penologists. These workers apply their sociological knowledge to conduct research and analyze penal systems and populations and to study the causes and effects of crime.  Many people with a sociology background become postsecondary teachers and high school teachers. Most others find work in related jobs outside the sociologist profession such as policy analysts, demographers, survey researchers, and statisticians.

Sociologists need a clear understanding of geography.  The locational patterns of landscapes, climate, cultures, societies, economies, and other characteristics all interact, and how the variations in these attributes by location influence the subjects of their research.  Geographic information systems are also being used in some sociological research.

Geographers at work:  Cultural geographer, human geographer, historical geographer

Recommended College Courses:  Human geography, cultural geography, physical geography, economic geography, urban geography, historical geography

Skills:  Understanding of human behavior, cultures, economies, and physical landscapes, and especially how they are influenced by geography; geographic information systems; database systems; critical thinking

Occupation Group: Life, Physical, and Social Sciences

Learn more about Sociologists from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Labor:  https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/sociologists.htm#tab-2

Written by Christopher Anderson


Sociologists study society and social behavior.
Sociologists study society and social behavior.