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Sociology (from Latin: socius, "companion"; and the suffix -ology, "the study of", from Greek λόγος, lógos, "knowledge" ) is the scientific study of society, including patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture. Areas studied in sociology can range from the analysis of brief contacts between anonymous individuals on the street to the study of global social interaction. Numerous fields within the discipline concentrate on how and why people are organized in society, either as individuals or as members of associations, groups, and institutions. As an academic discipline, sociology is usually considered a branch of social science.
Sociological research provides educators, planners, lawmakers, administrators, developers, business leaders, and people interested in resolving social problems and formulating public policy with rationales for the actions that they take.