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Previous Year Papers – Sociology (Paper 1)

By November 17, 2022May 22nd, 2023Announcement, Sociology Optional

Previous Year Papers - Sociology
(Topic-wise Segregated)


“History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce.”  – Karl Marx

With the intention of knowing and understanding sociology’s history, we bring to you this small booklet. It contains previous year questions for sociology optional (2013-2021).

The PYQs have been segregated chapter-wise for you to solve and raise the level of your preparation.

Sociology Downloads

Let’s write, revise and analyse.

This is just a small gift from us at Sleepy Classes to the entire student community.

This is to help you make your present ‘sharp’ and future ‘bright’. May you make the most of it. With you in your UPSC journey always!

Team Sleepy Classes

Paper 1 Part 1

Chapter 1

Sociology the Discipline

a)     Modernity and social changes in Europe and the emergence of sociology.

  1. How did the Intellectual forces lead to the emergence of Sociology? Discuss (20/I/1a/10)
  2. Discuss the historical antecedents of the emergence of sociology as a discipline. (19/I/1a/10)
  3. “Sociology is pre-eminently study of modern society.” Discuss (16/I/2c/10)
  4. How had enlightenment contributed to the emergence of Sociology? (15/I/3c/10)
  5. Write short answer of the following in about 150 words: How did the emergence of industrial society change the family life in Western Europe? (14/I/1b/10)
  6. “Sociology emerged in Europe and flourished to begin with on social reformist orientation in the U.S.A.” -Comment. (150 Words) (13/I/1a/10)
  7. Europe was the first and the only place where modernity emerged. Comment
  8. What aspects of Enlightenment do you think paved way for the emergence of sociology? Elaborate. 20 (2a/ 2022)

b)    Scope of the subject and comparison with other social sciences

  1. In the Context of globalization, has the scope of Sociology been changing in India? Comment (20/I/5a/10)
  2. The sociological imagination enables us to grasp history and biography and the relationship between the two in a society. C.W. Mills. Explain. (18/I/8a/20)
  3. Explain how sociology has emerged as a distinct discipline based on rationality and scientific temper. (17/I/1a/10)
  4. Discuss the changing equations of discipline of Sociology with other social sciences. (17/1/2a/20)
  5. Write Short answer of the following in about 150 words: How is Sociology approach to human actions different from that of psychological approach? (14/I/1c/10)
  6. Compare and contrast Sociology with Anthropology. (150 Words) (13/I/1b/10)
  7. From the viewpoint of growing importance of multidisciplinary, how do you relate sociology to other social sciences? (2021)
  8. Delimit the scope of Sociology in relation to other social sciences. 10 marks (1a/2022)

c)     Sociology and common sense

  1. The focal point of Sociology rests on interaction. How do you distinguish it from common sense? (18/I/1a/10)
  2. Is sociology common sense? Give reasons in support of your argument. (16/I/2c/10)
  3. How is Sociology related to common sense? (2021)


Chapter 2

Sociology as Science

a)     Science, scientific method and critique.

  1. Does scientific method make Sociology a science? Illustrate your answer with Durkheim’s method. (18/I/5c/10)
  2. Describe the basic postulates of Scientific method. How far are these followed in sociology research? (16/I/3b/20)
  3. Is Sociology a science? Give reasons for your answer.  (15/I/1a/10)
  4. Discuss the relevance of historical method in the study of Society? (15/I/1b/10)
  5. How does a researcher achieve objectivity in interpretative research? 10 (1b/ 2022)

b)    Major theoretical strands of research methodology

  1. Methodology is a system of rules, Principles and procedures, which forms scientific investigation. Comment. (20/I/1c /10)
  2. Elaborate the main tenets of interpretative perspective in sociology. (17/I/2c/10)
  3. In what way ‘Interpretative’ method is different from ‘positivist’ approach in the study if social phenomena? Explain with examples, the explanatory and exploratory designs of Social research. (18/I/6c/10)

c)     Positivism and its critique

  1. Phenomenological perspectives in Sociology reject many of the assumption of positivism, Comment. (20/I/7b/20)
  2. Explain ethnomethodological and phenomenological perspectives as critique of positivism. (17/I/1b/10)
  3. Examine the basic postulates of positivism and post-positivism. (17/I/2b/20)
  4. Critically examine positivistic approach in sociology studies. (150 Words (13/I/1c/10)
  5. What are the shortfalls of positivist philosophy that gave rise to the non-positivist methods of studying social reality? 20 marks (3a/ 2022)

d)    Fact value and objectivity

  1. Is Sociology a Value -free Science? Discuss. (20/I/1b/10)
  2. What is ‘Value free Sociology’? Clarify. (16/I/1b/10)
  3. Write short answer of the following in about 15c words: How is objectivity different from value neutrality? Discuss with reference to Weber’s views on methodology. (14/I/11/10)

e)     Non-positivist methodologies

  1. Is non-positivism methodology scientific? Illustrate. (18/I/2a/20)


  1. “Non – positivistic methodology is essential for understanding human behavior.” Discuss.
  2. Do you think ethnomethodology helps us in getting reliable and valid data? Justify your answer. (2021)
  3. How far are sociologists justified in using positivist approach to understand social reality? Explain with suitable illustrations. (2021)

    Chapter 3

    Research Methods & Analysis

    a)    Qualitative and quantitative methods

    1. Distinguish between quantitative and qualitative techniques of data collection with suitable examples from Indian society. (18/I/5d/10)
    2. Examine epistemological foundations of qualitative methods of social research. (17/I/3c/10)
    3. Analyze the importance of qualitative method on social research. (16/I/1c/10)
    4. Analyse the limitation of quantitative methods in social research. (13/I/2a/20)
    5. Discuss the challenges involved in collecting data through census method (2021)
    6. How do qualitative and quantitative methods supplement each other in sociological enquiry? (2021)

    b)   Techniques of data collection

    1. Analyse the      strengths and           weakness of social  survey method in social research. (20/I/6c/10)
    2. Bring out the significance of Ethnography in social research. (19/I/2b/20)
    3. “Participants observation is the most effective tool for collecting facts.” Comment. (16/I/4b/20)
    4. Write short answer of the following in about 150 words: In what ways biographies could be used to satisfy correlates? Explain. (14/I/2a/20)
    5. Which research technique would be most suitable for the study of consumer behaviour and its social correlates? Explain. (14/I/2a/20)

    c)     Variables, sampling, hypothesis, reliability and validity

    1. Discuss the importance and source of hypothesis in social research. (20/I/5b/10)
    2. Explain the probability sampling strategies with examples. (19/I/1e/10).
    3. Illustrate with example the significance of variables in sociological research. (17/I/1c/10)
    4. How can one resolve the issue of reliability and validity in the context of sociological research on inequality? (17/I/4c/10)
    5. “Hypothesis is a statement of the relationship between two or more variables.” Elucidate by giving examples of poverty and illiteracy. (16/I/3c/10)
    6. What are variables? Discuss their role in experimental research. (15/I/1c/10)
    7. Examine the Problems of maintaining objectivity and value neutrality in Social Science research. (15/1/2b/20)
    8. Why is random sampling said to have more reliability and validity in research? (15/I/3a/20)
    9. The difference between information and data in social science is subtle. Comment. (1c/ 2022)
    10. Explain the different types of non-probability sampling techniques. Bring out the conditions of their usage with appropriate examples. 20 (2 b/ 2022)
    11. Suggest measures to minimize the influence of the researcher in the process of collecting data through focus group discussion. (3c/2022)
    12. What is reliability? Explain the different tests available to social science researchers to establish reliability. 10 (4c/ 2022)   



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