There are three main levels of sociological work: foundational, applied, and clinical. These levels build on each other, but have differing emphases. Foundational sociology is most akin to traditional academic sociology, focusing primarily on investigation (e.g., data collection and analysis). Here findings are usually communicated to academic audiences. In contrast, applied sociology emphasizes translation and dissemination of findings to nonacademic audiences as well as academics. Clinical sociology takes things a step further by designing interventions to address the problems uncovered in the investigation.
Levels of Sociological Work:
Foundational Sociology – the use of sociological theories, concepts, and methods to examine topics of interest for the purpose of communicating those findings primarily to academic audiences
Applied Sociology – the use of those same theories, concepts, and methods to carry out the same examinations with the primary purpose of translating findings to improve the understanding of non-academic audiences (clients, communities, policy, etc).
Clinical Sociology – the use of those same theories, concepts, and methods to carry out the same examinations with the primary purpose to not only translate findings, but also design, implement, and evaluate interventions meant to improve outcomes and solve challenges.