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Social science is the
branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or ...
of
science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts ( descriptive knowledge), skills (procedural knowledge), or objects ...

science
devoted to the study of
societies A society is a group of individuals involved in persistent social interaction In social science, a social relation or social interaction is any relationship between two or more individuals. Social relations derived from individual agenc ...

societies
and the relationships among
individual An individual is that which exists as a distinct entity Entity may refer to: Computing * Character entity reference, replacement text for a character in HTML or XML * Entity class, a thing of interest within an entity–relationship model or d ...
s within those societies. The term was formerly used to refer to the field of
sociology Sociology is a social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those societies. The term was formerly ...
, the original "science of society", established in the 19th century. In addition to sociology, it now encompasses a wide array of
academic discipline An academic discipline or academic field is a subdivision of knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. The usual test for a statement of fact is ...
s, including
anthropology Anthropology is the of ity, concerned with , , , and , in both the present and past, including . studies patterns of behaviour, while studies cultural meaning, including norms and values. studies how language influences social life. studi ...
,
archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch of socio-cultural anthropology, but archaeologists also draw from biological, geological ...
,
economics Economics () is a social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those societies. The term was fo ...

economics
,
human geography Human geography or anthropogeography is the branch of that is associated and deals with humans and their relationships with communities, cultures, economies, and interactions with the environment by studying their relations with and across loca ...
,
linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing ...

linguistics
,
management science Management science (MS) is the broad interdisciplinary study of problem solving and decision making in human organizations, with strong links to management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organization, whether it is a busin ...
,
political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of ...
,
psychology Psychology is the scientific Science (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known ...

psychology
, and
history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...

history
. Positivist social scientists use methods resembling those of the
natural science Natural science is a Branches of science, branch of science concerned with the description, understanding and prediction of Phenomenon, natural phenomena, based on empirical evidence from observation and experimentation. Mechanisms such as peer r ...

natural science
s as tools for understanding society, and so define science in its stricter modern sense. Interpretivist social scientists, by contrast, may use social critique or symbolic interpretation rather than constructing
empirically In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, ...
falsifiable theories, and thus treat science in its broader sense. In modern academic practice, researchers are often
eclectic Eclectic may refer to: Music * Eclectic (Eric Johnson and Mike Stern album), ''Eclectic'' (Eric Johnson and Mike Stern album), 2014 * Eclectic (Big Country album), ''Eclectic'' (Big Country album), 1996 * Eclectic Method, name of an audio-visual ...
, using multiple methodologies (for instance, by combining both
quantitative
quantitative
and
qualitative research Qualitative research relies on data obtained by the researcher from first-hand observation, interviews, questionnaires (on which participants write descriptively), focus groups, participant-observation, recordings made in natural settings, docum ...
). The term "
social research Social research is a research Research is "creativity, creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization and analysis of information to increase understanding of a topi ...

social research
" has also acquired a degree of autonomy as practitioners from various disciplines share the same aims and methods.


History

The history of the social sciences begins in the
Age of Enlightenment The Age of Enlightenment (also known as the Age of Reason or simply the Enlightenment); ger, Aufklärung, "Enlightenment"; it, L'Illuminismo, "Enlightenment"; pl, Oświecenie , "Enlightenment"; pt, Iluminismo, "Enlightenment"; es, link=n ...
after 1650, which saw a revolution within
natural philosophy Natural philosophy or philosophy of nature (from ''philosophia naturalis'') was the study of and the physical that was dominant before the development of . From the ancient world, at least since , to the 19th century, ''natural philosophy' ...
, changing the basic framework by which individuals understood what was "scientific". Social sciences came forth from the
moral philosophy Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of min ...
of the time and were influenced by the
Age of Revolution The Age of Revolution is a period from the late 18th to the mid-19th centuries in which a number of significant revolutionary movements occurred in most of Europe and the Americas. The period is noted for the change from Absolutism (European h ...
s, such as the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...
and the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consi ...

French Revolution
. The ''social sciences'' developed from the sciences (
experimental An experiment is a procedure carried out to support, refute, or validate a hypothesis A hypothesis (plural hypotheses) is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. For a hypothesis to be a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method ...
and applied), or the systematic knowledge-bases or prescriptive practices, relating to the social improvement of a . The beginnings of the social sciences in the 18th century are reflected in the , with articles from
Jean-Jacques Rousseau Jean-Jacques Rousseau (, , ; 28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) was a Republic of Geneva, Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer. His political philosophy influenced the progress of the Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment throughout Europe, as w ...

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
and other pioneers. The growth of the social sciences is also reflected in other specialized encyclopedias. The modern period saw "''social science''" first used as a distinct conceptual field. Social science was influenced by positivism, focusing on knowledge based on actual positive sense experience and avoiding the negative;
metaphysical Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and ...

metaphysical
speculation was avoided.
Auguste Comte Isidore Marie Auguste François Xavier Comte (; 19 January 1798 – 5 September 1857) was a French philosophy, French philosopher and writer who formulated the doctrine of positivism. He is often regarded as the first Philosophy of science, phil ...

Auguste Comte
used the term "''science sociale''" to describe the field, taken from the ideas of
Charles Fourier François Marie Charles Fourier (;; 7 April 1772 – 10 October 1837) was a French philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit=philosophos, meanin ...

Charles Fourier
; Comte also referred to the field as ''social physics''. Following this period, five paths of development sprang forth in the social sciences, influenced by Comte in other fields. One route that was taken was the rise of social research. Large
statistical survey Survey methodology is "the study of survey (disambiguation), survey methods". As a field of applied statistics concentrating on Survey (human research), human-research surveys, survey methodology studies the sample (statistics), sampling of indivi ...
s were undertaken in various parts of the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
and
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered ...

Europe
. Another route undertaken was initiated by
Émile Durkheim David Émile Durkheim ( or ; 15 April 1858 – 15 November 1917) was a French sociologist. He formally established the academic discipline of sociology and, with Max Weber Maximilian Karl Emil Weber (; ; 21 April 186414 June 1920) was a Ge ...

Émile Durkheim
, studying "social facts", and
Vilfredo Pareto Vilfredo Federico Damaso Pareto ( , , , ; born Wilfried Fritz Pareto; 15 July 1848 – 19 August 1923) was an Italian civil engineer A civil engineer is a person who practices civil engineering Civil engineering is a Regulation and licensur ...

Vilfredo Pareto
, opening metatheoretical ideas and individual theories. A third means developed, arising from the methodological dichotomy present, in which
social phenomenaSocial phenomena or social phenomenon (singular) are any behaviours, actions, or events that takes place because of social influenceSocial influence comprises the ways in which individuals change their behavior to meet the demands of a social environ ...
were identified with and understood; this was championed by figures such as
Max Weber Maximilian Karl Emil Weber (; ; 21 April 186414 June 1920) was a German Sociology, sociologist, historian, jurist, and political economy, political economist regarded as among the most important theorists of the development of Modernity, modern ...

Max Weber
. The fourth route taken, based in economics, was developed and furthered economic knowledge as a
hard science Hard science and soft science are colloquial Colloquialism or colloquial language is the style (sociolinguistics), linguistic style used for casual communication. It is the most common functional style of speech, the idiom normally employed in con ...
. The last path was the
correlation In , correlation or dependence is any statistical relationship, whether or not, between two s or . In the broadest sense correlation is any statistical association, though it actually refers to the degree to which a pair of variables are rel ...

correlation
of knowledge and
social values In ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong action (philosophy), behavior".''Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy'"Ethics"/ref> The field of ...
; the
antipositivism In social science Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life ...
and
verstehen ''Verstehen'' (, ), in the context of German philosophy and social science Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , ...

verstehen
sociology of Max Weber firmly demanded this distinction. In this route, theory (description) and prescription were non-overlapping formal discussions of a subject. The foundation of social sciences in the West implies conditioned relationships between progressive and traditional spheres of knowledge. In some contexts, such as the Italian one, sociology slowly affirms itself and experiences the difficulty of affirming a strategic knowledge beyond philosophy and theology (Cfr. Guglielmo Rinzivillo, ''La scienza e l'oggetto. Autocritica del sapere strategico'',
Milan Milan (, , Milanese: ; it, Milano ) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the List of cities in Italy, second-most populous city proper in Italy after Rome. The city proper has a population of about 1.4 million, while its ...

Milan
, Franco Angeli editor, 2010, p. 51 e sg. ). Around the start of the 20th century,
Enlightenment philosophy The Age of Enlightenment (also known as the Age of Reason or simply the Enlightenment); ger, Aufklärung, "Enlightenment"; it, L'Illuminismo, "Enlightenment"; pl, Oświecenie , "Enlightenment"; pt, Iluminismo, "Enlightenment"; es, link=n ...
was challenged in various quarters. After the use of classical theories since the end of the scientific revolution, various fields substituted mathematics studies for experimental studies and examining equations to build a theoretical structure. The development of social science subfields became very quantitative in methodology. The
interdisciplinary Interdisciplinarity or interdisciplinary studies involves the combination of two or more academic disciplines into one activity (e.g., a research project). It draws knowledge from several other fields like sociology, anthropology, psychology, ...
and cross-disciplinary nature of
scientific inquiry Models of scientific inquiry have two functions: first, to provide a descriptive account of ''how'' scientific inquiry is carried out in practice, and second, to provide an explanatory account of ''why'' scientific inquiry succeeds as well as it app ...

scientific inquiry
into human behaviour, social and environmental factors affecting it, made many of the natural sciences interested in some aspects of social science methodology. Examples of boundary blurring include emerging disciplines like social research of
medicine Medicine is the science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts ( descriptive knowledge), skills (proced ...

medicine
,
sociobiology Sociobiology is a field of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology ...
,
neuropsychology Neuropsychology is a branch of psychology. It is concerned with how a person's cognition and behavior are related to the brain and the rest of the nervous system. Professionals in this branch of psychology often focus on how injuries or illness ...
, bioeconomics and the
history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...

history
and
sociology of science Sociology is a social science that focuses on society, human social behaviour, patterns of Interpersonal ties, social relationships, social interaction, and aspects of culture associated with everyday life. It uses various methods of Empirica ...
. Increasingly, quantitative research and qualitative methods are being integrated in the study of human action and its implications and consequences. In the first half of the 20th century, statistics became a free-standing discipline of applied mathematics. Statistical methods were used confidently. In the contemporary period,
Karl Popper Sir Karl Raimund Popper (28 July 1902 – 17 September 1994) was an Austrian-British , and . One of the 20th century's most influential , Popper is known for his rejection of the classical views on the in favour of . According to Popper, a ...

Karl Popper
and
Talcott Parsons Talcott Parsons (13 December 1902 – 8 May 1979) was an American sociologist of the classical tradition The Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, ...

Talcott Parsons
influenced the furtherance of the social sciences. Researchers continue to search for a unified consensus on what methodology might have the power and refinement to connect a proposed "grand theory" with the various midrange theories that, with considerable success, continue to provide usable frameworks for massive, growing data banks; for more, see
consilience In science and history, consilience (also convergence of evidence or concordance of evidence) is the principle that evidence from independent, unrelated sources can "converge" on strong conclusions. That is, when multiple sources of evidence are i ...
. The social sciences will for the foreseeable future be composed of different zones in the research of, and sometime distinct in approach toward, the field. The term "social science" may refer either to the specific ''sciences of society'' established by thinkers such as Comte, Durkheim, Marx, and Weber, or more generally to all disciplines outside of "noble science" and
arts The arts refers to the theory, human application and physical expression of creativity Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something somehow new and somehow valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible (such as an idea, a scienti ...

arts
. By the late 19th century, the academic social sciences were constituted of five fields:
jurisprudence Jurisprudence, or legal theory, is the theoretical study of the propriety of . Scholars of jurisprudence seek to explain the nature of law in its most general form and provide a deeper understanding of , , , and the proper application and rol ...
and amendment of the
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundari ...
,
education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, habits, and personal development. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelling, discussion ...

education
,
health Health, according to the World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations and each ...

health
,
economy An economy (; ) is an area of the production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products ( ...

economy
and
trade Trade involves the transfer of goods from one person or entity to another, often in exchange for money. Economists refer to a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of r ...

trade
, and
art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use o ...

art
. Around the start of the 21st century, the expanding domain of economics in the social sciences has been described as economic imperialism.


Branches

The social science disciplines are branches of knowledge taught and researched at the college or university level. Social science disciplines are defined and recognized by the
academic journal An academic or scholarly journal is a periodical publication Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of serial Serial may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media The presentation of w ...
s in which research is published, and the learned social science societies and academic departments or faculties to which their practitioners belong. Social science fields of study usually have several sub-disciplines or branches, and the distinguishing lines between these are often both arbitrary and ambiguous.


Anthropology

Anthropology is the holistic "science of man", a science of the totality of human existence. The discipline deals with the integration of different aspects of the social sciences,
humanities Humanities are List of academic disciplines, academic disciplines that study aspects of human society and culture. In the Renaissance, the term contrasted with Divinity (academic discipline), divinity and referred to what is now called classic ...

humanities
, and
human biology Human biology is an interdisciplinary area of academic study that examines humans through the influences and interplay of many diverse fields such as human genetics, genetics, human evolution, evolution, human physiology, physiology, anatomy, epidem ...
. In the twentieth century, academic disciplines have often been institutionally divided into three broad domains. The ''natural sciences'' seek to derive general laws through reproducible and verifiable experiments. The ''humanities'' generally study local traditions, through their history, literature, music, and arts, with an emphasis on understanding particular individuals, events, or eras. The ''social sciences'' have generally attempted to develop scientific methods to understand social phenomena in a generalizable way, though usually with methods distinct from those of the natural sciences. The anthropological social sciences often develop nuanced descriptions rather than the general laws derived in physics or chemistry, or they may explain individual cases through more general principles, as in many fields of psychology. Anthropology (like some fields of history) does not easily fit into one of these categories, and different branches of anthropology draw on one or more of these domains. Within the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
, anthropology is divided into four sub-fields: archaeology, physical or biological anthropology,
anthropological linguistics Anthropological linguistics is the subfield of linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The trad ...
, and
cultural anthropology Cultural anthropology is a branch of focused on the study of among humans. It is in contrast to , which perceives cultural variation as a subset of a posited anthropological constant. The portmanteau term includes both cultural and social anth ...
. It is an area that is offered at most undergraduate institutions. The word ''anthropos'' (ἄνθρωπος) in
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
means "human being" or "person".
Eric Wolf Eric Robert Wolf (February 1, 1923 – March 6, 1999) was an anthropologistAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans within past and present Society, societies. Social an ...
described sociocultural anthropology as "the most scientific of the humanities, and the most humanistic of the sciences". The goal of anthropology is to provide a
holistic Holism (from Ancient Greek, Greek ''holos'' "all, whole, entire") is the idea that various systems (e.g. physical, biological, social) should be viewed as wholes, not merely as a collection of parts. The term "holism" was coined by Jan Smuts in hi ...
account of humans and human nature. This means that, though anthropologists generally specialize in only one sub-field, they always keep in mind the biological, linguistic, historic and cultural aspects of any problem. Since anthropology arose as a science in Western societies that were complex and industrial, a major trend within anthropology has been a methodological drive to study peoples in societies with more simple social organization, sometimes called "primitive" in anthropological literature, but without any connotation of "inferior". Today, anthropologists use terms such as "less complex" societies or refer to specific modes of
subsistence A subsistence economy is an economy directed to basic subsistence (the provision of food, clothing, shelter) rather than to the market. Henceforth, "subsistence" is understood as supporting oneself at a minimum level. Often, the subsistence econom ...

subsistence
or
production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products (goods and services) * Production as a statistic, g ...
, such as "pastoralist" or "forager" or "horticulturalist" to refer to humans living in non-industrial, non-Western cultures, such people or folk (''ethnos'') remaining of great interest within anthropology. The quest for holism leads most anthropologists to study a people in detail, using biogenetic, archaeological, and linguistic data alongside direct observation of contemporary customs. In the 1990s and 2000s, calls for clarification of what constitutes a
culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals i ...

culture
, of how an observer knows where his or her own culture ends and another begins, and other crucial topics in writing anthropology were heard. It is possible to view all human cultures as part of one large, evolving global culture. These dynamic relationships, between what can be observed on the ground, as opposed to what can be observed by compiling many local observations remain fundamental in any kind of anthropology, whether cultural, biological, linguistic or archaeological.


Communication studies

Communication studies deals with processes of human
communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to b ...

communication
, commonly defined as the sharing of
symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meanin ...

symbols
to create
meaning Meaning most commonly refers to: * Meaning (linguistics), meaning which is communicated through the use of language * Meaning (philosophy), definition, elements, and types of meaning discussed in philosophy * Meaning (non-linguistic), a general ter ...
. The discipline encompasses a range of topics, from face-to-face
conversation Conversation is interactive communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions between self and other, private and public, and inner tho ...

conversation
to mass media outlets such as
television broadcasting A television network or broadcaster is a telecommunications network for distribution of television program content, where a central operation provides programming to many television stations or pay television providers. Until the mid-1980s, te ...

television broadcasting
. Communication studies also examines how messages are interpreted through the political, cultural, economic, and social dimensions of their contexts. Communication is institutionalized under many different names at different universities, including "communication", "communication studies", "speech communication", "rhetorical studies", "communication science", "media studies", "communication arts", "
mass communication Mass communication is the process of imparting and exchanging information through mass media to large segments of the population. It is usually understood for relating to various forms of media, as its technologies are used for the dissemination ...
", "
media ecologyMedia ecology theory is the study of media, technology, and communication and how they affect human environments. The theoretical concepts were proposed by Marshall McLuhan in 1964, while the term ''media ecology'' was first formally introduced by M ...
", and "communication and media science". Communication studies integrates aspects of both social sciences and the humanities. As a social science, the discipline often overlaps with sociology, psychology, anthropology, biology, political science, economics, and public policy, among others. From a humanities perspective, communication is concerned with rhetoric and persuasion (traditional graduate programs in communication studies trace their history to the rhetoricians of
Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era wa ...
). The field applies to outside disciplines as well, including engineering, architecture, mathematics, and information science.


Economics

Economics is a social science that seeks to analyze and describe the production, distribution, and consumption of wealth. The word "economics" is from the
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
''oikos'', "family, household, estate", and νόμος ''nomos'', "custom, law", and hence means "household management" or "management of the state". An
economist An economist is a professional and practitioner in the social science Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , pl ...

economist
is a person using economic concepts and data in the course of employment, or someone who has earned a
degree Degree may refer to: As a unit of measurement * Degree symbol (°), a notation used in science, engineering, and mathematics * Degree (angle), a unit of angle measurement * Degree (temperature), any of various units of temperature measurement ...
in the subject. The classic brief definition of economics, set out by
Lionel Robbins Lionel Charles Robbins, Baron Robbins, (22 November 1898 – 15 May 1984) was a British economist, and prominent member of the economics department at the London School of Economics (LSE). He is known for his leadership at LSE, his proposed defin ...

Lionel Robbins
in 1932, is "the science which studies human behavior as a relation between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses". Without scarcity and alternative uses, there is no economic problem. Briefer yet is "the study of how people seek to satisfy needs and wants" and "the study of the financial aspects of human behavior". Economics has two broad branches:
microeconomics Microeconomics is a branch of mainstream economics Mainstream economics is the body of knowledge, theories, and models of economics, as taught by universities worldwide, that are generally accepted by economists as a basis for discussion. Als ...
, where the unit of analysis is the individual agent, such as a household or firm, and
macroeconomics Macroeconomics (from the Greek prefix ''makro-'' meaning "large" + ''economics'') is a branch of economics Economics () is a social science Social science is the branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred ...
, where the unit of analysis is an economy as a whole. Another division of the subject distinguishes
positive Positive is a property of Positivity (disambiguation), positivity and may refer to: Mathematics and science * Converging lens or positive lens, in optics * Plus sign, the sign "+" used to indicate a positive number * Positive (electricity), a po ...
economics, which seeks to predict and explain economic phenomena, from
normative economicsNormative economics (as opposed to positive economics) is a part of economics whose objective is Equity (economics), fairness or what the outcome of the economy or goals of public policy ''ought to be''.Paul A. Samuelson and William Nordhaus, William ...
, which orders choices and actions by some criterion; such orderings necessarily involve
subjective Subjective may refer to: * Subjectivity, a subject's personal perspective, feelings, beliefs, desires or discovery, as opposed to those made from an independent, objective, point of view ** Subjective experience, the subjective quality of consciou ...
value judgments. Since the early part of the 20th century, economics has focused largely on measurable quantities, employing both theoretical models and empirical analysis. Quantitative models, however, can be traced as far back as the physiocratic school. Economic reasoning has been increasingly applied in recent decades to other social situations such as
politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of res ...
, law,
psychology Psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. ...
,
history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...
,
religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology ...

religion
, marriage and family life, and other social interactions. This paradigm crucially assumes (1) that resources are scarce because they are not sufficient to satisfy all wants, and (2) that "economic value" is willingness to pay as revealed for instance by market (arms' length) transactions. Rival
heterodox In religion, heterodoxy (from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the follow ...
schools of thought, such as
institutional economics Institutional economics focuses on understanding the role of the evolutionary Evolution is change in the Heredity, heritable Phenotypic trait, characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. These characteristics are ...
,
green economics A green economy is an economy An economy (from Greek language, Greek οίκος – "household" and νέμoμαι – "manage") is an area of the Production (economics), production, Distribution (economics), distribution and trade, as well as ...
,
Marxist economics Marxian economics, or the Marxian school of economics, is a Heterodox economics, heterodox school of political economic thought. Its foundations can be traced back to Karl Marx, Karl Marx's Critique of political economy#Marx's critique of politic ...
, and
economic sociology Economic sociology is the study of the social cause and effect of various economic phenomena. The field can be broadly divided into a classical period and a contemporary one, known as "New economic sociology". The classical period was concerned ...
, make other grounding assumptions. For example, Marxist economics assumes that economics primarily deals with the investigation of
exchange value In political economy and especially Marxian economics, exchange value (German: ''Tauschwert'') refers to one of four major attributes of a commodity#Marxist concept, commodity, i.e., an item or service produced for, and sold on the Market (economics ...
, of which human labour is the source. The expanding domain of economics in the social sciences has been described as economic imperialism.


Education

Education encompasses teaching and learning specific skills, and also something less tangible but more profound: the imparting of knowledge, positive judgement and well-developed wisdom. Education has as one of its fundamental aspects the imparting of culture from generation to generation (see
socialization In sociology, socialization is the process of Internalisation (sociology), internalizing the Norm (social), norms and Ideology, ideologies of society. Socialization encompasses both learning and teaching and is thus "the means by which social an ...
). To educate means 'to draw out', from the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
''educare'', or to facilitate the realization of an individual's potential and talents. It is an application of
pedagogy Pedagogy (), most commonly understood as the approach to teaching, is the theory and practice of learning Learning is the process of acquiring new , , s, s, , attitudes, and s. The ability to learn is possessed by s, s, and some ; there is ...
, a body of theoretical and applied research relating to teaching and learning and draws on many disciplines such as psychology,
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...

philosophy
,
computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures of its computation as well as practical techniques for their application. Computer science is the study of computation, automation, a ...
, linguistics,
neuroscience Neuroscience is the of the . It is a science that combines , , , , , and to understand the fundamental and emergent properties of s, and s. The understanding of the biological basis of , , , , and has been described by as the "epic chal ...

neuroscience
, sociology and anthropology. The education of an individual human begins at birth and continues throughout life. (Some believe that education begins even before birth, as evidenced by some parents' playing music or reading to the baby in the womb in the hope it will influence the child's development.) For some, the struggles and triumphs of daily
life Life is a characteristic that distinguishes physical entities A bubble of exhaled gas in water In common usage and classical mechanics, a physical object or physical body (or simply an object or body) is a collection of matter within a ...

life
provide far more instruction than does formal schooling (thus
Mark Twain Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), known by his pen name A pen name, also called a ''nom de plume'' () or a literary double, is a pseudonym A pseudonym () (originally: ψευδώνυμος in Greek) or ...

Mark Twain
's admonition to "never let school interfere with your education").


Geography

Geography as a discipline can be split broadly into two main sub fields:
human geography Human geography or anthropogeography is the branch of that is associated and deals with humans and their relationships with communities, cultures, economies, and interactions with the environment by studying their relations with and across loca ...
and
physical geography Physical geography (also known as physiography) is one of the two fields of geography Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hell ...
. The former focuses largely on the built environment and how space is created, viewed and managed by humans as well as the influence humans have on the space they occupy. This may involve
cultural geography Cultural geography is a subfield within human geography Human geography or anthropogeography is the branch of that is associated and deals with humans and their relationships with communities, cultures, economies, and interactions with the env ...
, Transportation geography, transportation, Health geography, health, Military geography, military operations, and Urban geography, cities. The latter examines the natural environment and how the climate, vegetation and life, soil, Oceanography, oceans, water and landforms are produced and interact. Physical geography examines phenomena related to the Geodesy, measurement of earth. As a result of the two subfields using different approaches a third field has emerged, which is environmental geography. Environmental geography combines physical and human geography and looks at the interactions between the environment and humans. Other Geography#Branches, branches of geography include social geography, regional geography, and geomatics. Geographers attempt to understand the Earth in terms of physical and spatial relationships. The first geographers focused on the science of mapmaking and finding ways to precisely Map projection, project the surface of the earth. In this sense, geography bridges some gaps between the natural sciences and social sciences. Historical geography is often taught in a college in a unified Department of Geography. Modern geography is an all-encompassing discipline, closely related to Geographic Information Science, GISc, that seeks to understand humanity and its natural environment. The fields of urban planning, regional science, and planetology are closely related to geography. Practitioners of geography use many technologies and methods to collect data such as Geographic Information Systems, GIS, remote sensing, aerial photography, statistics, and global positioning systems (GPS).


History

History is the continuous, systematic narrative and research into past human events as interpreted through historiographical paradigms or theories. When used as the name of a field of study, ''history'' refers to the study and interpretation of the record of humans, societies, institutions, and any topic that has changed over time. Traditionally, the study of history has been considered a part of the humanities. In modern academia, history is occasionally classified as a social science. In the United States the National Endowment for the Humanities includes history in its definition of humanities (as it does for applied linguistics). However, the United States National Research Council, National Research Council classifies history as a social science. The historical method comprises the techniques and guidelines by which historians use primary sources and other evidence to research and then to historiography, write history. The Social Science History Association, formed in 1976, brings together scholars from numerous disciplines interested in social history.


Law

The social science of law, jurisprudence, in common parlance, means a rule that (unlike a rule of ethics) is capable of enforcement through institutions. However, many laws are based on norm (philosophy), norms accepted by a community and thus have an ethical foundation. The study of law crosses the boundaries between the social sciences and humanities, depending on one's view of research into its objectives and effects. Law is not always enforceable, especially in the international relations context. It has been defined as a "system of rules", as an "interpretive concept" to achieve justice, as an "authority" to mediate people's interests, and even as "the command of a sovereign, backed by the threat of a sanction". However one likes to think of law, it is a completely central social institution. Legal policy incorporates the practical manifestation of thinking from almost every social science and the humanities. Laws are politics, because politicians create them. Law is philosophy, because moral and ethical persuasions shape their ideas. Law tells many of history's stories, because statutes, case law and codifications build up over time. And law is economics, because any rule about contract, tort, property law, labour law, company law and many more can have long-lasting effects on the distribution of wealth. The noun ''law'' derives from the late Old English language, Old English ''lagu'', meaning something laid down or fixed and the adjective ''legal'' comes from the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
word ''lex''.


Linguistics

Linguistics investigates the cognitive and social aspects of human language. The field is divided into areas that focus on aspects of the linguistic signal, such as syntax (the study of the rules that govern the structure of sentences), semantics (the study of meaning), morphology (linguistics), morphology (the study of the structure of words), phonetics (the study of speech sounds) and phonology (the study of the abstract sound system of a particular language); however, work in areas like evolutionary linguistics (the study of the origins and evolution of language) and psycholinguistics (the study of psychological factors in human language) cut across these divisions. The overwhelming majority of modern research in linguistics takes a predominantly wikt:synchronic, synchronic perspective (focusing on language at a particular point in time), and a great deal of it—partly owing to the influence of Noam Chomsky—aims at formulating theories of the cognitive processing of language. However, language does not exist in a vacuum, or only in the brain, and approaches like contact linguistics, Creole language, creole studies, discourse analysis, social interactional linguistics, and sociolinguistics explore language in its social context. Sociolinguistics often makes use of traditional quantitative analysis and statistics in investigating the frequency of features, while some disciplines, like contact linguistics, focus on qualitative analysis. While certain areas of linguistics can thus be understood as clearly falling within the social sciences, other areas, like acoustic phonetics and neurolinguistics, draw on the natural sciences. Linguistics draws only secondarily on the humanities, which played a rather greater role in linguistic inquiry in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Ferdinand Saussure is considered the father of modern linguistics.


Political science

Political science is an academic and research discipline that deals with the theory and practice of politics and the description and analysis of political systems and political behaviour. Fields and subfields of political science include political economy, political philosophy, political theory and philosophy, civics and comparative politics, theory of direct democracy, apolitical governance, participatory direct democracy, national systems, cross-national political analysis, political development, international relations, foreign policy, international law, politics, public administration, administrative behaviour, public law, judicial behaviour, and Policy, public policy. Political science also studies power in international relations and the theory of great powers and superpowers. Political science is methodologically diverse, although recent years have witnessed an upsurge in the use of the scientific method, that is, the proliferation of formal-deductive model building and quantitative hypothesis testing. Approaches to the discipline include rational choice, classical political philosophy, Interpretivism (social science), interpretivism, structuralism, and behavioralism, behaviouralism, Philosophical realism, realism, pluralism, and Institutionalism in political parties, institutionalism. Political science, as one of the social sciences, uses methods and techniques that relate to the kinds of inquiries sought: primary sources such as historical documents, interviews, and official records, as well as secondary sources such as scholarly articles, are used in building and testing theories. Empirical methods include sample survey, survey research, statistical analysis econometrics, or econometrics, case studies, experiments, and model building. Herbert Baxter Adams is credited with coining the phrase "political science" while teaching history at Johns Hopkins University.


Psychology

Psychology is an academic and applied field involving the study of behaviour and mental processes. Psychology also refers to the application of such knowledge to various spheres of human activity, including problems of individuals' everyday life, daily lives and the treatment of mental illness. The word ''psychology'' comes from the
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
ψυχή ''Psyche (psychology), psyche'' ("soul", "mind") and ''-logy, logy'' ("study"). Psychology differs from anthropology, economics, political science, and sociology in seeking to capture explanatory generalizations about the mental function and overt behaviour of individuals, while the other disciplines focus on creating descriptive generalizations about the functioning of social groups or situation-specific human behaviour. In practice, however, there is quite a lot of cross-fertilization that takes place among the various fields. Psychology differs from biology and neuroscience in that it is primarily concerned with the interaction of mental processes and behaviour, and of the overall processes of a system, and not simply the biological or neural processes themselves, though the subfield of neuropsychology combines the study of the actual neural processes with the study of the mental effects they have subjectively produced. Many people associate psychology with clinical psychology, which focuses on assessment and treatment of problems in living and psychopathology. In reality, psychology has myriad specialties including social psychology, developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, educational psychology, Industrial and organizational psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, mathematical psychology, neuropsychology, and quantitative analysis of behaviour. Psychology is a very broad science that is rarely tackled as a whole, major block. Although some subfields encompass a natural science base and a social science application, others can be clearly distinguished as having little to do with the social sciences or having a lot to do with the social sciences. For example, biological psychology is considered a natural science with a social scientific application (as is clinical medicine), social and occupational psychology are, generally speaking, purely social sciences, whereas neuropsychology is a natural science that lacks application out of the scientific tradition entirely. In British universities, emphasis on what tenet of psychology a student has studied and/or concentrated is communicated through the degree conferred: B.Psy. indicates a balance between natural and social sciences, B.Sc. indicates a strong (or entire) scientific concentration, whereas a B.A. underlines a majority of social science credits. This is not always necessarily the case however, and in many UK institutions students studying the B.Psy, B.Sc, and B.A. follow the same curriculum as outlined by The British Psychological Society and have the same options of specialism open to them regardless of whether they choose a balance, a heavy science basis, or heavy social science basis to their degree. If they applied to read the B.A. for example, but specialized in heavily science-based modules, then they will still generally be awarded the B.A.


Sociology

Sociology is the systematic study of society, individuals' relationship to their societies, the consequences of difference, and other aspects of human social action. The meaning of the word comes from the suffix "-logy", which means "study of", derived from
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
, and the stem "soci-", which is from the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
word ''socius'', meaning "companion", or society in general. Auguste Comte (1798–1857) coined the term, Sociology, as a way to apply natural science principles and techniques to the social world in 1838. Comte endeavoured to unify history, psychology and economics through the descriptive understanding of the social realm. He proposed that social ills could be remedied through sociological positivism, an epistemological approach outlined in ''The Course in Positive Philosophy'' [1830–1842] and ''A General View of Positivism'' (1844). Though Comte is generally regarded as the "Father of Sociology", the discipline was formally established by another French thinker, Émile Durkheim (1858–1917), who developed positivism as a foundation to practical social research. Durkheim set up the first European department of sociology at the University of Bordeaux in 1895, publishing his ''Rules of the Sociological Method''. In 1896, he established the journal ''Année Sociologique, L'Année Sociologique''. Durkheim's seminal monograph, ''Suicide (Durkheim book), Suicide'' (1897), a case study of suicide rates among Catholic Church, Catholic and Protestant populations, distinguished sociological analysis from psychology or philosophy. Karl Marx rejected Comte's positivism but nevertheless aimed to establish a ''science of society'' based on historical materialism, becoming recognized as a founding figure of sociology posthumously as the term gained broader meaning. Around the start of the 20th century, the first wave of German sociologists, including Max Weber and Georg Simmel, developed sociological antipositivism. The field may be broadly recognized as an amalgam of three modes of social thought in particular: Durkheimian positivism and structural functionalism; Marxist historical materialism and conflict theory; and Weberian antipositivism and verstehen analysis. American sociology broadly arose on a separate trajectory, with little Marxist influence, an emphasis on rigorous experimental methodology, and a closer association with pragmatism and social psychology. In the 1920s, the Chicago school (sociology), Chicago school developed symbolic interactionism. Meanwhile, in the 1930s, the Frankfurt School pioneered the idea of critical theory, an interdisciplinary form of Marxist sociology drawing upon thinkers as diverse as Sigmund Freud and Friedrich Nietzsche. Critical theory would take on something of a life of its own after World War II, influencing literary criticism and the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, Birmingham School establishment of cultural studies. Sociology evolved as an academic response to the challenges of modernity, such as industrialization, urbanization, secularization, and a perceived process of enveloping Rationalization (sociology), rationalization. The field generally concerns the social rules and processes that bind and separate people not only as individuals, but as members of Voluntary association, associations, Group (sociology), groups, Community, communities and social institution, institutions, and includes the examination of the organization and development of human social life. The sociological field of interest ranges from the analysis of short Social relation, contacts between anonymous individuals on the street to the study of globalization, global social processes. In the terms of sociologists Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann, social scientists seek an understanding of the ''Social Construction of Reality''. Most sociologists work in one or more Subfields of sociology, subfields. One useful way to describe the discipline is as a cluster of sub-fields that examine different dimensions of society. For example, social stratification studies inequality and class structure; demography studies changes in a population size or type; criminology examines criminal behaviour and deviance; and political sociology studies the interaction between society and state. Since its inception, sociological epistemologies, methods, and frames of enquiry, have significantly expanded and diverged. Sociologists use a diversity of research methods, collect both quantitative and qualitative data, draw upon empirical techniques, and engage critical theory. Common modern methods include case studies, historiography, historical research, interviewing, participant observation, social network analysis, survey research, statistical analysis, and model building, among other approaches. Since the late 1970s, many sociologists have tried to make the discipline useful for purposes beyond the academy. The results of sociological research aid educators, lawmakers, administrators, developers, and others interested in resolving social problems and formulating public policy, through subdisciplinary areas such as evaluation research, methodological assessment, and public sociology. In the early 1970s, women sociologists began to question sociological paradigms and the invisibility of women in sociological studies, analysis, and courses. In 1969, feminist sociologists challenged the discipline's androcentrism at the American Sociological Association's annual conference. This led to the founding of the organization Sociologists for Women in Society, and, eventually, a new sociology journal, Gender & Society. Today, the sociology of gender is considered to be one of the most prominent sub-fields in the discipline. New sociological sub-fields continue to appear — such as community studies, computational sociology, environmental sociology, network analysis, actor-network theory, gender studies, and a growing list, many of which are List of academic disciplines, cross-disciplinary in nature.


Additional fields of study

Additional applied or interdisciplinary fields related to the social sciences include: * Archaeology is the science that studies human cultures through the recovery, documentation, analysis, and interpretation of material remains and environmental data, including architecture, artifacts, features, biofacts, and landscapes. * Area studies are interdisciplinary fields of research and scholarship pertaining to particular geographical, national/federal, or cultural regions. * Behavioural science is a term that encompasses all the disciplines that explore the activities of and interactions among organisms in the natural world. * Computational Social Science, Computational social science is an umbrella field encompassing computational approaches within the social sciences. * Demography is the statistical study of all human populations. * Development studies a multidisciplinary branch of social science that addresses issues of concern to developing countries. * Environmental social science is the broad, transdisciplinary study of interrelations between humans and the natural environment. * Environmental studies integrate social, humanistic, and natural science perspectives on the relation between humans and the natural environment. * Gender studies integrates several social and natural sciences to study gender identity, masculinity, femininity, transgender issues, and sexuality. * Information science is an interdisciplinary science primarily concerned with the collection, classification, manipulation, storage, retrieval and dissemination of information. * International studies covers both International relations (the study of foreign affairs and global issues among states within the international system) and International education (the comprehensive approach that intentionally prepares people to be active and engaged participants in an interconnected world). * Legal management is a social sciences discipline that is designed for students interested in the study of state and legal elements. * Library science is an interdisciplinary field that applies the practices, perspectives, and tools of management, information technology, education, and other areas to libraries; the collection, organization, preservation and dissemination of information resources; and the political economy of information. * Management consists of various levels of leadership and administration of an organization in all business and human organizations. It is the effective execution of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives through adequate planning, executing and controlling activities. * Marketing the identification of human needs and wants, defines and measures their magnitude for demand and understanding the process of consumer buying behaviour to formulate products and services, pricing, promotion and distribution to satisfy these needs and wants through exchange processes and building long-term relationships. * Political economy is the study of production, buying and selling, and their relations with law, custom, and government. * Public administration is one of the main branches of political science, and can be broadly described as the development, implementation and study of branches of government policy. The pursuit of the public good by enhancing civil society and social justice is the ultimate goal of the field. Though public administration has been historically referred to as government management, it increasingly encompasses non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that also operate with a similar, primary dedication to the betterment of humanity. * Religious studies and Academic study of Western esotericism, Western esoteric studies incorporate and inform social-scientific research on phenomena broadly deemed religious. Religious studies, Western esoteric studies, and the social sciences developed in dialogue with one another.


Methodology


Social research

The origin of the survey can be traced back at least early as the Domesday Book in 1086, while some scholars pinpoint the origin of demography to 1663 with the publication of John Graunt's ''Natural and Political Observations upon the Bills of Mortality''. Social research began most intentionally, however, with the positivist philosophy of science in the 19th century. In contemporary usage, "social research" is a relatively autonomous term, encompassing the work of practitioners from various disciplines that share in its aims and methods. Social scientists employ a range of methods in order to analyse a vast breadth of social phenomena; from census survey data derived from millions of individuals, to the in-depth analysis of a single agent's social experiences; from monitoring what is happening on contemporary streets, to the investigation of ancient historical documents. The methods originally rooted in classical sociology and statistical mathematics have formed the basis for research in other disciplines, such as political science, media studies, and marketing and market research. Social research methods may be divided into two broad schools: * Quantitative method, Quantitative designs approach social phenomena through quantifiable evidence, and often rely on statistical analysis of many cases (or across intentionally designed treatments in an experiment) to create valid and reliable general claims. * Qualitative research, Qualitative designs emphasize understanding of social phenomena through direct observation, communication with participants, or analysis of texts, and may stress contextual and subjective accuracy over generality. Social scientists will commonly combine quantitative and qualitative approaches as part of a multi-strategy design. Questionnaires, field-based data collection, archival database information and laboratory-based data collections are some of the measurement techniques used. It is noted the importance of measurement and analysis, focusing on the (difficult to achieve) goal of objective research or statistical hypothesis testing. A mathematical model uses mathematical language to describe a system. The process of developing a mathematical model is termed 'mathematical modelling' (also modeling). Eykhoff (1974) defined a ''mathematical model'' as 'a representation of the essential aspects of an existing system (or a system to be constructed) that presents knowledge of that system in usable form'. Mathematical models can take many forms, including but not limited to dynamical systems, statistical models, differential equations, or Game theory, game theoretic models. These and other types of models can overlap, with a given model involving a variety of abstract structures. The system is a set of interacting or interdependent entities, real or abstract, forming an integrated whole. The concept of an ''integrated whole'' can also be stated in terms of a system embodying a set of relationships that are differentiated from relationships of the set to other elements, and from relationships between an element of the set and elements not a part of the relational regime. A dynamical system modeled as a mathematics, mathematical formal system, formalization has a fixed "rule" that describes the time dependence of a point's position in its ambient space. Small changes in the state of the system correspond to small changes in the numbers. The ''evolution rule'' of the dynamical system is a function (mathematics), fixed rule that describes what future states follow from the current state. The rule is Deterministic system (mathematics), deterministic: for a given time interval only one future state follows from the current state. Social scientists often conduct program evaluation, which is a systematic method for collecting, analyzing, and using information to answer questions about projects, policies and programs, particularly about their effectiveness and efficiency. In both the public and private sectors, stakeholders often want to know whether the programs they are funding, implementing, voting for, receiving or objecting to are producing the intended effect. While program evaluation first focuses around this definition, important considerations often include how much the program costs per participant, how the program could be improved, whether the program is worthwhile, whether there are better alternatives, if there are unintended outcomes, and whether the program goals are appropriate and useful.


Theory

Some social theorists emphasize the subjective nature of research. These writers espouse social theory perspectives that include various types of the following: * Critical theory is the examination and critique of society and culture, drawing from knowledge across social sciences and humanities disciplines. * Dialectical materialism is the philosophy of Karl Marx, which he formulated by taking the dialectic of Hegel and joining it to the materialism of Feuerbach. * Feminist theory is the extension of feminism into theoretical, or philosophical discourse; it aims to understand the nature of gender inequality. * Marxist philosophy, Marxist theories, such as Proletarian revolution, revolutionary theory and Class conflict, class theory, cover work in philosophy that is strongly influenced by Karl Marx's materialist approach to theory or is written by Marxists. * Phronetic social science is a theory and methodology for doing social science focusing on ethics and political power, based on a contemporary interpretation of Aristotelian phronesis. * Post-colonialism, Post-colonial theory is a reaction to the cultural legacy of colonialism. * Postmodernism refers to a point of departure for works of literature, drama, architecture, cinema, and design, as well as in marketing and business and in the interpretation of history, law, culture and religion in the late 20th century. * Rational choice theory is a framework for understanding and often formally modeling social and economic behaviour. * Social constructionism considers how social phenomena develop in social contexts. * Structuralism is an approach to the human sciences that attempts to analyze a specific field (for instance, mythology) as a complex system of interrelated parts. * Structural functionalism is a sociological paradigm that addresses what social functions various elements of the social system perform in regard to the entire system. Other fringe social theorists delve in alternative nature of research. These writers share social theory perspectives that include various types of the following: * Anti-intellectualism describes a sentiment of critique towards, or evaluation of, intellectuals and intellectual pursuits. * Antiscience is a position critical of science and the scientific method.


Education and degrees

Most universities offer degrees in social science fields.Peterson's (Firm : 2006– ). (2007). Peterson's graduate programs in the humanities, arts, & social sciences, 2007. Lawrenceville, New Jersey: Peterson's. The Bachelor of Social Science is a degree targeted at the social sciences in particular, it is often more flexible and in-depth than other degrees that include social science subjects. In the United States, a university may offer a student who studies a social sciences field a Bachelor of Arts degree, particularly if the field is within one of the traditional liberal arts such as history, or a BSc: Bachelor of Science degree such as those given by the London School of Economics, as the social sciences constitute one of the two main branches of science (the other being the natural sciences). In addition, some institutions have degrees for a particular social science, such as the Bachelor of Economics degree, though such specialized degrees are relatively rare in the United States. Graduate students may get a Master's degree (Master of Arts, Master of Science or a field-specific degree such as Master of Public Administration) or Ph.D.


Low priority of social science

The social sciences receive less funding than the natural sciences. It has been estimated that only 0.12% of all funding for climate-related research is spent on the social science of climate change mitigation. Vastly more funding is spent on natural science studies of climate change and considerable sums are also spent on studies of impact of and climate change adaptation, adaptation to climate change. It has been argued that this is a misallocation of resources, as the most urgent puzzle at the current juncture is to work out how to change human behavior to mitigate climate change, whereas the natural science of climate change is already well established and there will be decades and centuries to handle adaptation.


See also


General

* Outline of social science * Structure and agency * National Nothing Day


Methods

* Ethnography * Participatory action research *Representation theory


Areas

* Geographic information science


People

* Frantz Fanon * W.E.B. Dubois * Edward Said * al-Kindi * Ibn Khaldun * Augustine * Franz Boas * Manuel Castells * Confucius * Wade Davis (anthropologist), Wade Davis * Louis Dumont * Norbert Elias * Friedrich Engels * Milton Friedman * Anthony Giddens * Erving Goffman * Maja Göpel * Thomas Hobbes * Arlie Hochschild * David Hume * Marie Jahoda * John Maynard Keynes * Paul F. Lazarsfeld * John Locke * John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury * Robert Lucas (social scientist), Robert Lucas * Niklas Luhmann * Niccolò Machiavelli * Marcel Mauss * Margaret Mead * John Stuart Mill * Baidyanath Misra * Montesquieu * Monique Borgerhoff Mulder * Jean Piaget * Steven Pinker * Plato * John Rawls * David Ricardo * Jean-Baptiste Say * Alfred Schutz * B.F. Skinner * Adam Smith * Herbert Spencer * Deborah Tannen * Victor Turner * Paige West


Other

* Ethology and Ethnology * Gulbenkian commission * Labelling * Obshchestvovedeniye, Obshestvovedeny * Periodic table of human sciences (Tinbergen's four questions) * Philosophy of social sciences


Notes


References


Bibliography

* Michie, Jonathan, ed. ''Reader's Guide to the Social Sciences'' (2 vol. 2001) 1970 pages annotating the major topics in the late 20th century in all the social sciences.


20th and 21st centuries sources

* Neil J. Smelser and Paul B. Baltes (2001). ''International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences'', Amsterdam: Elsevier. * Byrne, D.S. (1998)
''Complexity theory and the social sciences: an introduction''
Routledge. * Kuper, A., and Kuper, J. (1985). ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. (ed., a limited preview of th
1996 version
is available) * Lave, C.A., and March, J.G. (1993)
''An introduction to models in the social sciences''
Lanham, Md: University Press of America. * Perry, John and Erna Perry. ''Contemporary Society: An Introduction to Social Science'' (12th Edition, 2008), college textbook * Potter, D. (1988)
''Society and the social sciences: An introduction''
London: Routledge [u.a.]. * David L. Sills and Robert K. Merton (1968). ''International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences''. * Seligman, Edwin R.A. and Alvin Johnson (1934). ''Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences.'' (13 vol.) * Ward, L.F. (1924)
''Dynamic sociology, or applied social science: As based upon statical sociology and the less complex sciences''
New York: D. Appleton. * Leavitt, F.M., and Brown, E. (1920)
''Elementary social science''
New York: Macmillan. * Bogardus, E.S. (1913)
''Introduction to the social sciences: A textbook outline''
Los Angeles: Ralston Press. * Small, A.W. (1910)
''The meaning of social science''
Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.


19th century sources

* Andrews, S.P. (1888)
''The science of society''
Boston, Mass: Sarah E. Holmes. * Denslow, V.B. (1882)
''Modern thinkers principally upon social science: What they think, and why''
Chicago: Belford, Clarke & Co. * William Torrey Harris, Harris, William Torrey (1879)
''Method of Study in Social Science''
A Lecture Delivered Before the St. Louis Social Science Association, March 4, 1879. St. Louis: G.I. Jones and Co, 1879. * Hamilton, R.S. (1873)
''Present status of social science. A review, historical and critical, of the progress of thought in social philosophy''
New York: H.L. Hinton. * Carey, H.C. (1867). ''Principles of social science''. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co. [etc.]
Volume IVolume IIVolume III
* Calvert, G.H. (1856)
''Introduction to social science: A discourse in three parts''
New York: Redfield.


General sources

* Backhouse, Roger E., and Philippe Fontaine, eds. ''A historiography of the modern social sciences'' (Cambridge University Press, 2014). * ; covers the conceptual, institutional, and wider histories of economics, political science, sociology, social anthropology, psychology, and human geography. * * * * * * * distributed by Dutton * * * * * * * *


Academic resources

* ''The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science'', (electronic) (paper), SAGE Publications * Efferson, C. and Richerson, P.J.(In press). A prolegomenon to nonlinear empiricism in the human behavioral sciences. ''Philosophy and Biology''
Full text


Opponents and critics

* George H. Smith (2014)
''Intellectuals and Libertarianism: Thomas Sowell and Robert Nisbet''
* Phil Hutchinson, Rupert Read and Wes Sharrock (2008)
''There's No Such Thing as a Social Science''
* Sabia, D.R., and Wallulis, J. (1983)
''Changing social science: Critical theory and other critical perspectives''
Albany: State University of New York Press.


External links


Institute for Comparative Research in Human and Social Sciences (ICR)
(JAPAN)


Family Therapy and Systemic Research Centre



International Social Science Council

Introduction to Hutchinson et al., ''There's No Such Thing as a Social Science''

Intute: Social Sciences (UK)





Social Science Virtual Library: Canaktanweb (Turkish)

Social Sciences And Humanities

UC Berkeley Experimental Social Science Laboratory

The Dialectic of Social Science
by Paul A. Baran
American Academy ''Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences''
{{Use Oxford spelling, date=August 2016 Social sciences, Academic disciplines Branches of science