Sociology Index


Typology is the branch of knowledge that deals with classes with common characteristics. Typology is classification, especially of human behaviour or characteristics according to type.

A set of two or more ideal types used for categorizing behaviors, events, societies, groups, etc. For example, Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) developed four types of suicide: anomic, egoistic, altruistic and fatalistic. Ferdinand Tonnies (1855-1936) identified two types of society: Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft.

A Factor Analytic Test of Houle's Typology of Professionals' Modes of Learning 
Ronald M. Cervero, University of Georgia, Athens, GA., Katherine H. Dimmock, University of Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN., Adult Education Quarterly, Vol. 37, No. 3, 125-139 (1987) - Houle has proposed a typology of professionals' modes of continuing learning. Three modes are hypothesized: inquiry, instruction, and performance.

The purpose of the study was to test the adequacy of this typology with a population of staff nurses in a community hospital. A 47-item instrument that has been shown to be a valid and reliable measure of the universe of nurses' continuing learning activities was used. The survey was administered to the same population twice, one year apart. Oblique factor analysis produced a four-factor solution for the data collected in each year. The four factors were labelled Inquiry, Performance, Group Instruction, and Self-instruction. A revised typology is proposed and an explanatory framework for the new typology is given.

Commentary on Typology of Religious Characteristics of Social Service and Educational Organizations and Programs - F. Ellen Netting, Virginia Commonwealth University
In this commentary about Sider and Unruh’s typology, four questions are raised: 
(a) When religion is visibly expressed, is it the expression of religion? 
(b) When organizations move within the continuum, do they move in multiple and even counterintuitive directions? 
(c) How do beneficiaries benefit? 
(d) How does the “faith factor” figure into macro programs? It is concluded that it is in both what the typology is designed to do 
and not designed to do that informs future research.