Science vs Social Science: Difference and Comparison

“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 problem or situation, and at the same time can create and destroy life.


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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 streams derived from the limitless area of knowledge.

Key Takeaways

  1. Science concerns the natural world and its phenomena, while social science studies human behavior and social interactions.
  2. Science relies on empirical evidence and experiments to make predictions, while social science uses qualitative and quantitative methods to analyze data.
  3. While science aims to explain natural phenomena, social science aims to understand and improve human society.

Science vs Social Science

Science seeks to understand the natural world through empirical observation, hypothesis testing, experimentation, and theoretical modelling. Social science is concerned with understanding human behaviour, social structures, and the cultural, economic, and political institutions that shape our lives.

Science vs Social Science

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonScienceSocial Science
DealingIt deals with the aspects of the physical world, its applications and related phenomena.It deals with human behavioural 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 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 different scientific phenomena.The method mainly includes surveys, interviews, and case studies that involve less quantitative data handling than 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 behavioural 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 behaviour 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 a 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 physical and natural world’s attributes, structure, and phenomena, which may be based on general laws and principles, experimentation, and research.

Science is subcategorized into ‘physical science’, ‘social science’, and ‘biological science’. ‘Physical science’ consists of physics, chemistry, astronomy, earth science, etc. ‘Biological science’, 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, 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 behaviour and society and is a subjective science. It comprises psychology, human behaviour, anthropology, political science, civics, economics, philosophy, history, and geography.

It is said that social science began to evolve in 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 behaviour changes when a person is conscious of being observed. Therefore, it isn’t easy to achieve a controlled setting during observations.

Social science recruits qualitative and quantitative methods like surveys, interviews, and case studies. Still, it has a lot of lesser quantitative data to be handled in comparison to physical science.

Also, the validity and accuracy of any data are less in the case of social science because it focuses its observations mainly on human beings, who are very diverse.

social science

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 is the branch of science that involves human interaction and behaviour 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 than physical and life sciences since the former involves human observation, which is subject to change in the setting or environment. At the same time, the latter has a controlled environment and is more accurate regarding data.
  4. Science is divided into physical, biological, and social science with their respective subdivisions, including physics, chemistry, astronomy, zoology, botany, etc.(for physical and biological science). Social science includes psychology, political science, economics, history, and geography.
  5. Physical and biological sciences always use scientific methods for all experiments and observations. In contrast, 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.
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