Social Research vs Scientific Research
Both research areas, social and scientific, are crucial in understanding the social and natural phenomena and generating new knowledge; however, there is difference between social research and scientific research in many aspects. The purpose of a research is to generate new knowledge. Scientists do researches on the physical aspects of the world whereas social scientists conduct researches to analyze social behavior of human beings. In both cases, scientists use various methods to carry out their work and these methods vary based on the research. Social scientists use social research and this could be either qualitative or quantitative or both. Scientific research is used in natural sciences and the methods are mostly quantitative. However, both research areas are important in understanding the natural and social phenomena. Let us look at the terms in detail.
What is Social Research?
Social research is used to investigate the behavior of humans in the social life. Lately, the research methods of social sciences were developed to be more objective and scientific. As mentioned above, social research is either qualitative or quantitative or both. Qualitative approach can be seen in participant observation, communication with research participants, etc. This approach is related to the quality. The quantitative approach relies on statistical data and social phenomenon is analyzed through countable evidence. This is related to the quantity. At present, most social researchers use both these methods in their findings and the research field is stepping towards the objectivity. The most difficult thing related to social research is that sometimes the researcher’s personal feelings may get involved in the findings and the research may be subjective and biased. Nevertheless, with the new research methodologies now the situation has been changed. The findings are more or less objective in many social researches.
Further, social researches look deep into human nature and analyze social phenomena. However, no social scientist can observe the whole of the world population to come into a certain conclusion. As a result, he/she may take a sample of the population and investigate data and later they may form a general theory based on those data. On the other hand, some social scientists use participant observation as the research method. Here, the researcher goes into a particular community and become a member of that and he/she participates in the community activities while observing the residents. The community people do not know that they are being observed because then their spontaneous behavioral patterns may change. The researcher may spend a long period there and collect findings and later he/she analyzes them and forms a theory. Social research is a difficult subject area because no one can predict the human behavior. However, social research is a well-developed area and we have been able to understand a lot of things related to human behavior and the society in which we live due to social research.
What is Scientific Research?
Scientific research is connected with natural sciences like physics, chemistry, etc. In scientific research also, scientists try to generate new knowledge. Here, researcher investigates the phenomenon by using empirical and measurable techniques. Scientific studies are mostly accurate and they are objective. Scientific researches follow measurable analytical method and the specialty is that anybody can repeat the same research anytime. Also, if there are some modifications, scientist can change one or two variables and get the preferred result. Scientific research usually starts with a hypothesis and then the variables are tested in order to check whether the hypothesis is true or false. If it is true, then the hypothesis may become a theory and if proved to be false, it may leave out. When it comes to natural sciences, it is easy to do predictions and tests unlike in social sciences. Natural phenomena are less likely to change overtime and the theories remain constant for a long time.
What is the difference between Social Research and Scientific Research?
When we take both social and scientific research, we can see that both subject areas try to be more objective to get more accurate results. Also, in conducting the research, the researcher should be unbiased and he/she should follow a systematical and transparent path to get the intended result.
• If we look at the differences, we see that social research is difficult to repeat because the variables may change over the time whereas scientific research can be repeated many times if necessary.
• Also, the results of social research are subjected to change anytime with the change of considered variables whereas scientific research result lasts longer.
• Moreover, the social researcher has more chance to feel bias towards the subject area but in scientific research this chance is very low.
• Social researches take place within a society and scientific research takes place in a laboratory.
However, both research areas are crucial in understanding the social and natural phenomena and also they are significant in generating new knowledge in the world.