Difference Between Science and Social Science (With Table)

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“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”. This extremely commendable statement by Benjamin Franklin holds a great truth. Knowledge is insightful in dealing with any kind of problem or situation, and at the same time is capable of creating and destroying life.

It is highly essential in promoting personal growth and development. It holds a lot of power and is indeed called power. Science and social science are two of the streams that have been derived from the limitless area of knowledge.

Science vs Social Science

The difference between science and social science is that science is the knowledge of the physically existing aspects of the world, its phenomena, and applications through general laws, research, and observations, whereas social science deals with human society and behavior and also explains its political and economic aspects.

Comparison Table Between Science and Social Science

Parameter of ComparisonScienceSocial Science
DealingIt deals with the aspects of the physical world, its applications and related phenomena.It deals with the human behavioral patterns, relationships and human society.
NaturePhysical science and life science are objective. Social science is subjective.
StreamsIt includes physical science, life science (or biological science), and social science which are further divided into sub-streams.It includes subjects like psychology, philosophy, anthropology, economics, political science, civics, history, and geography.
MethodsExperiments, observations, and research in various areas lead to the framing of laws, theories, and principles of the different scientific phenomena.The method mainly includes surveys, interviews, and case studies that involve quite less quantitative data handling in comparison to the qualitative one.
Data accuracy and validityThe data collected in physical and biological sciences is more accurate since it is majorly based on inanimate objects or almost similar test subjects.The data accuracy and validity is not very high in the case of social science as the behavioral patterns in the case of human being are highly diverse.
SettingPhysical and biological science experiment-conduction and observations are done in a controlled environment.Achieving a controlled setting becomes very difficult as human behavior changes when a person is conscious of being observed.
ScopeA person interested in physical or life science can opt for a career as a researcher, doctor, engineer, biologist, geologist, chemist, physicist, astronomer, space scientist, etc.A person interested in social science can pursue their career as a lawyer, linguist, historian, psychologist, geographer, etc.

What is Science?

Science is a general term used to describe the systematic study and real-world applications of the attributes, structure, and phenomena of the physical and natural world, which may be based on general laws and principles, experimentation, and research.

Science itself is subcategorized into ‘physical science’, ‘social science’, and ‘biological science’. ‘Physical science’ consists of the subjects- physics, chemistry, astronomy, earth science, etc. ‘Biological science’, also called ‘life science’, branches into zoology and botany on a broader scale.

Physical science concerns itself with the study of inanimate objects and related phenomena and puts together information regarding the universe in the form of theories and predictions. Biological science on the other hand covers living organisms and their life processes.

Both these fields i.e. physical and life sciences are objective and require a lot of instrument-based experiments and observations to be done in contrast to social science which is devoid of any physical equipment-based requirements.

What is Social Science?

Social science is the branch of science that is concerned with human behavior and society and is a subjective science. It consists of subjects namely psychology, human behavior, anthropology, political science, civics, economics, philosophy, history, and geography. It is said that social science began to evolve since the Age of Enlightenment after 1650, which experienced a revolution in the subject of natural philosophy.

Unlike the other fields of science, the employment of highly scientific methodology in the study of social science becomes difficult because human behavior changes when a person is conscious of being observed. Therefore, it is very difficult to achieve a controlled setting during observations.

Social science recruits both qualitative and quantitative methods like social surveys, interviews, and case studies, but has a lot of lesser quantitative data to be handled in comparison to physical science. Also, the validity and accuracy of any type of data are less in the case of social science because it focuses its observations mainly on human beings, who are very diverse.

Main Differences Between Science and Social Science

  1. Science, in general, is concerned with the knowledge, study, and applications of the physical and natural world. Social science the branch of science that involves human interaction and behavior specifically.
  2. Physical and life sciences are objective, while on the other hand, social science is highly subjective and has little to do with the quantitative aspects.
  3. Social science data tends to be more error-prone in comparison to physical and life sciences since the former involves human observation which is subjected to change with change in the setting or environment while the latter has a controlled environment and hence is more accurate in terms of data.
  4. Science is divided into physical, biological, and social science with their respective subdivisions that include physics, chemistry, astronomy, zoology, botany, etc.(for physical and biological science). Social science consists of subjects like psychology, political science, economics, history, and geography.
  5. Physical and biological sciences always use scientific methods for all experiments and observations whereas social science may or may not involve scientific methods and is more inclined towards surveys and interviews.
  6. Career opportunities include physicist, chemist, geologist, researcher, space scientist, astronomer, etc. for physical science; doctor, zoologist, botanist, bioengineer, researcher, etc. for life science; and historian, psychologist, geographer, linguist, lawyer, etc. for social science.

Conclusion

Science is an ever-evolving subject and continues to be the backbone of our society. There was a time when man could not think it was possible to communicate beyond a certain distance, and today, scientists have reached and explored the universe far beyond our Milky Way galaxy. Psychiatrists can understand a person’s mental health condition and provide the required help immediately to restore it to normal. All of this is a gift of science to humanity and has profoundly improved our living conditions and persists to maintain the sustainability of many living species today.

The main aim of science is to explore deeper into the natural phenomena and use it for the betterment of society and deal with the problems concerning it. There has been remarkable progress in this field, especially in the current times, and will continue to do so incessantly.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1751157709000698
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/43760468?seq=1