Research and the Sciences
There has long been an ongoing argument: Is social science scientific? Which approach is better in conducting natural sciences and social sciences? It is believed that 'hypothetico-deductive' approach may be applicable to the natural sciences while it does not relate well to the social sciences. By analyzing research from different levels, this essay presents a judgment that social sciences are sciences. First of all, the concept of research and science are given. Secondly, by accepting that social sciences are different from natural sciences, the features that identify social sciences from natural sciences are summarized. There are many choices of approaches to conduct research. In the level of philosophy, research approaches could go to inductive approach and deductive approach. Qualitative research and quantitative research distinguish each other methodologically. In this essay, the different approaches are compared and contrasted after a concise interpretation of these concepts. And finally, the question better approach to research in natural sciences and social sciences is considered.
Research is defined by Join and Keith as seeking through methodical process to add one's knowledge and, hopefully to others by the discovery of nontrivial and insight (Join and Keith, 1996). Williams defined science as the ensemble of knowledge and practices that best reflect and operationalize a critical attitude to the discovery of the world at that moment in time (Williams, 2000 p.26). Basically, sciences can be divided into social sciences and natural sciences. Social sciences study human being and their behavior, while natural sciences study physical world.
The presupposition that natural science is the benchmark of research, in some degree, accounts for why most people associate the word 'research' with activities that are substantially removed from daily life and which usually take place in a laboratory. And accordingly arises the doubt whether social science is...