Comte believed a positivist stage would mark the final era, after conjectural theological and metaphysical phases, in the progression of human understanding.
In observing the circular dependence of theory and observation in science, and having classified the sciences, Comte may be regarded as the first philosopher of science in the modern sense of the term.
Social researchers draw upon a variety of qualitative and quantitative techniques.
The linguistic and cultural turns of the mid-twentieth century led to increasingly interpretative, hermeneutic, and philosophic approaches towards the analysis of society.
Social analysis has origins in the common stock of Western knowledge and philosophy, and has been carried out from as far back as the time of ancient Greek philosopher Plato, if not before.
The origin of the survey, i.e., the collection of information from a sample of individuals, can be traced back to at least the Domesday Book in 1086, Islamic scholar from North Africa (Tunisia), to have been the first sociologist and father of sociology (see Branches of the early Islamic philosophy); his Muqaddimah was perhaps the first work to advance social-scientific reasoning on social cohesion and social conflict.
The sociological treatment of historical and moral problems, which Comte and after him, Spencer and Taine, had discussed and mapped, became a precise and concrete study only when the attack of militant Marxism made its conclusions a burning issue, and so made the search for evidence more zealous and the attention to method more intense.