Published in Sociology and Social Research, Volume 65, January 1, 1981, pages 323-331. Copyright © 1981 University of Southern California.
Though most social scientists acknowledge that the general population in the United States accepts individualistic explanations of poverty, a recent study (Henslin and Roesti, 1976) claims that social scientists conversely hold predominantly structural explanations of poverty. The present study questions this conclusion with an analysis of poverty articles in five major sociology journals from 1965 and 1975. The data show that though social scientists may at times make structural theoretical statements, their research overwhelmingly focuses on the characteristics of the poor in explaining poverty. The data also show 111at this type of poverty research has been increasing, and that government funding for poverty research goes almost exclusively to research focusing on characteristics of the poor or poverty programs. In understanding reasons for this focus on the poor in poverty research, the data suggests we must go beyond any individualistic value orientations among sociologists and also see the effects of funding and dominant research methods.
Social and Behavioral Sciences