Social sciences, such as political science, economics, sociology, anthropology, psychology, and geography, have emerged as its own group much more recently in comparison to the natural sciences. Natural sciences involve physics, biology, chemistry, geology, and astronomy – all of which deal with the laws that relate to nature. The social sciences all deal with the study of human behavior, either individually or as a whole. However, since human behavior can be altered or developed as a result of a chemical imbalance, or even by socialization, it can also be considered as a natural science.
To favor importance over social sciences verses natural sciences is not possible; it is important to understand both sciences – to understand one science, you must understand the other. According to Strada, modern-day social sciences are very complicated. “In defining social scientists professionally, most identify with a specific social science discipline. ” For example, not only are there separate departments of political science, economics, sociology, psychology, etc. there are sub-categories to them: social psychologists, political geographers, economic psychologists, anthropological geographers, etc. Despite the number of categories, all social scientists use similar research methods. They can utilize survey research, experimental design, and participant observation, which place the researcher in the midst of the action. Another research method is called content analysis, which uses written documents as a source of information about the person or group in question.
Case studies, another research design, seek truth by dissecting past events and applying relevant insight to similar situations. A question they may frequently ask when browsing for good case studies is, “Of what is this an instance? ” Natural science on the other hand relies more on the loosely structured scientific method to conduct their experiments and theories. Instead of observing human behavior, natural scientists will observe biological matter, atomic matter, the natural earth, and the natural forces and interactions that the universe exerts on one another.
The study of social and natural sciences has benefitted our modern day society in more ways than one. Examples of social science benefits include: establishing Maslow’s hierarchy of need, the alleviation of poverty, estimating and predicting the economy’s health, finding fossils and other matter, globalization, and the theory of evolution – to name a few. The essence of social sciences ultimately consists of understanding and explaining human behavior. But without studying natural science, one cannot seem to explain nor understand human behavior on the molecular level.
Natural science seeks to clarify the rules that govern the natural world through the use of theories and scientific methods. Benefits of natural science research include: DNA testing, discovery of genetics, technological advances (touch screen phones, smaller and faster laptops), and an advance in medical technology (diagnostic imaging, biomaterials). The natural sciences are studied so that social scientists can use the quantitative information to back up their study or theory.
This is because natural sciences have been around for much longer than social sciences, which has emerged much more recently. The social sciences are built upon the foundation of the natural sciences. Now, it is imperative to note that a social scientist does not necessarily have to completely understand one natural science to understand a social science. However, the difference between a good social scientist to an excellent one is the knowledge of both social and natural science to fully understand and explain human behaviors, our society, etc.
Thus, to adequately understand economics, one must understand metaphysics; to fully understand the minds of sociopaths, one must understand the chemical imbalances within the brain; to master the field of archaeology, one must be able to apply analytical techniques from physics, chemistry, and engineering; to adequately comprehend human geography, one must examine the natural environment such as climate, soil, life, vegetation, and water.
In studying several branches of sciences, a scientist may be able to fully delve into the subject matter and research and experiment with purpose, which would translate the research analysis much more effectively to the masses – like how Galileo’s works and theories were translated to the average public to understand. Social and natural science is interconnected in one way or another, and to utilize both sciences in understanding certain research topics and theories is much more effective than understanding just one.
Thus, it is not more important to study society over nature, nor is it more important to study nature over society. In order to fully comprehend either science, it is absolutely necessary to study both nature and society – they cannot exist without each other. Works Cited Strada, Michael J. Through the Global Lens: An Introduction to the Social Sciences. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2003. Print. ——————————————– [ 1 ]. Michael J. Strada, Through the Global Lens: An Introduction to the Social Sciences (Prentice Hall, 2003), 36.