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Sociologists need to develop transferable skills such as objectivity, their sensitivity to and interest in social issues, have good oral and written communication skills and an aptitude for research.

Much of a sociologist's time is utilised performing research of various natures. This is done by observing and investigating social groups and subjects, such as the family, the community, education, industrial relations, crime, politics, minority and ethnic relations, poverty and mass communications, collecting and analysing data via various qualitative and quantitative methods, recording and interpreting facts and figures and writing reports. Sociologists often live in the community being studied to assist their understanding and may have to travel to conduct research and to consult with other social scientists. They are often involved in designing surveys, carrying out interviews, and analysing and interpreting information collected through investigative research, often to assist other groups, e.g. urban planners, mining groups, health authorities.

Depending upon the combination of courses studied, graduates can specialise in fields including:

  • Urban Sociologist - study social life and human interaction in metropolitan areas. They use a variety of analytical methods to research a range of topics, including migration and demographic trends, economics, poverty, race relations, economic trends, and etc. Research on these topics may include such issues as the political identity of waterfront type redevelopment areas, re-conceptualisation of places, work and communities, and the impact of large events on communities and the environment.
  • Political Sociologist - use comparative history sociological data to analyse systems of government and economic organisation to understand the political climate of a society, how major social trends affect the political process, and how social forces can change political policies.
  • Economic Sociologist - analyse economic phenomena which can be affected by social context. Often focus is directed toward social consequences of economic exchanges, any social meanings that may be involved and social interactions that may be affected.