The sciences can be generally described as an effort to understand, explain, and make predictions about the world using different research methods in an attempt to construct theories. In this sense, they can be classified into two main branches, known as natural sciences and social sciences. Natural sciences are a branch of science that deals with the natural world, while social sciences are a branch of science that deals with human society and social relations. Thus, the main difference between natural sciences and social sciences is that the former study natural events, while the latter study human society.
What are Natural Sciences
Natural sciences deal with the natural world. It deals with the phenomena and objects of nature and the physical world. Natural sciences involve the understanding, description and prediction of natural phenomena by empirical and observational tests. Hypotheses formed in natural sciences must be scientifically verified to be considered as a scientific theory.
They delve into the details of the natural world using scientific methods. It is important to know that natural sciences employ scientific methods to delve into the details of natural behavior and condition. This is the main difference between social sciences and natural sciences.
Sciences such as logic, mathematics, and statistics are called formal sciences and are also different from natural sciences. Astronomy, biology, earth science, physics, chemistry, oceanography, materials science, earth science, and atmospheric science are some of the best-known natural sciences.
Thus, natural sciences can be divided into two main branches known as biological sciences (life sciences) and physical sciences. Biological science deals with living organisms, while physical science deals with the physical world. The physical sciences are divided into sub-branches, such as chemistry, physics, astronomy and earth sciences. These branches can in turn be divided into more specialized fields.
Natural sciences are one of the main categories of academic disciplines chosen by students from all over the world. This branch of natural sciences is usually simply called science, or scientific study. Many popular professions such as doctor, nurse, engineer, geologist, astronomer, chemist, biologist, etc. require knowledge of natural sciences.
The Origin of Natural Sciences
The origin of the study of the natural world dates back to the time of the Renaissance. It began with Renaissance thinkers who became interested in the workings of the world. Some people are of the opinion that the study of the physical world dates back to a period before society became aware of the inquiry into the body of knowledge.
Before this time, people had to survive and had to learn about the workings of the world in which they lived. However, they began to observe the natural phenomena of their environment. They studied plants, animals and herbs, which were useful to them when they fell ill.
Over time, the body of knowledge we call natural sciences continues to evolve. It is the development and evolution of this field of study that makes up what we have today as a natural science.
The scope of Natural Sciences
Natural sciences, as a branch of science, encompass a wide range of topics related to the natural world. It studies natural facts, seeks to understand them and reaches conclusions from their study.
Sub-branches of Natural Sciences
Natural sciences also has several subbraches that encompass the study of natural events and elements. Its main categories are the physical sciences and the life sciences. It is these two main categories that encompass the other sub-branches that constitute natural sciences.
The Method of Natural Sciences
The method employed by natural sciences is mainly mathematical. He also bases his research on observation and experimentation. Sometimes, you also use peer review to make sure that the conclusion reached at the end of the research is valid.
What are Social Sciences
Social Sciences are a vast field that deals with human society and the relationships between individuals within it. This field also has a large number of subfields such as economics, geography, political science, anthropology, history, archaeology, linguistics, law, and sociology.
Social scientists use scientific methods that resemble those used in natural sciences to understand society. However, social criticism and interpretive methods are also used in social sciences.
The origin of Social Sciences
The origin of Social Sciences dates back to the nineteenth century, although some of the ideologies that form the body of knowledge that we call Social Sciences existed before this time. However, in this century, people began to become more interested in the relationships that existed between individuals in the state, institutions, and how these elements interacted. From there, social sciences began to develop as a field of study over the centuries.
The scope of Social Sciences
Social Sciences are a very broad body of knowledge. All these fields of study deal with the study of human interactions.
Sub-branches of Social Sciences
As mentioned above, social sciences encompass other disciplines or fields of study. Each of the sub-branches focuses on specific areas of human existence within society. There seems to be a form of controversy over the exact number of social sciences we have.
Sub-branches of social sciences include Political Science, which deals with the political affairs of government. We have Psychology, which deals with how human beings think and exercise their minds. Anthropology deals with the origin of humans and how their culture evolves. Sociology deals with the cultural and social belief systems of humans. The law deals with the regulatory framework for human behaviour and activities.
Other sub-branches are archaeology which deals with the study of objects used by early humans, geography which studies the components of the earth which is man's habitat and economics which deals with the means of production of wealth and its distribution,
The Method of Social Sciences
Social sciences employ various methods in their study. It usually begins with questioning a phenomenon. This inquiry arises from curiosity about the subject. Thus, it develops questions to which the research study must respond at the end of it.
After elaborating the questions of the field of research, social scientists will elaborate a hypothesis about the possible answers to the question they have posed. This reasonable question arises from other results that have been reached in previous research.
Once the hypothesis is developed, they proceed to collect enough information to help them test it. Social scientists also examine and compare the information collected using the method of experimentation
From the results obtained during the experimentation they can draw their conclusions and answer the questions they intended to answer when they embarked on the research.
Social sciences adopt the method of experimentation to arrive at the answers to research questions. This experimentation refers to the information it collects through surveys, interviews and case studies, etc.
Social sciences do not always use scientific methods at all times. It also resorts to non-scientific methods to reach its conclusions.
Similarities between Social Sciences and Natural Sciences
Social sciences and natural sciences can be distinct bodies of knowledge. However, they have certain characteristics in common. One of those similarities lies in the fact that both adopt the use of observations in their research.
In addition, both the social and natural sciences have laws that are of general application. Not only that, these laws also have some exceptions to their application.
They also embrace the use of empirical research in their research papers. It is a research method that measures data with mathematical and scientific precision.
Both have general laws that have numerous applications. Both also use empirical and measured data that are observable by the senses. In addition, the theories of both sciences can be tested to produce theoretical statements and general propositions.
Natural Sciences vs. Social Sciences
One of the significant differences between social sciences and natural sciences lies in their area of interest. Social sciences focus on the interactions of humans and society. Natural sciences, on the other hand, focus on the physical world.
Another difference between the two branches is that natural sciences operate in a closed system. The variables they use for their research work are restrictive and the outcome of the work can be easily predicted. Social sciences, on the other hand, operate in a liberal or open system. You can't predict their outcome because you can't control or predict how the variables are going to turn out in the course of the research work.
The interest in the interactions between human beings in society exists since before social sciences became a distinct body of knowledge. Therefore, we must point out that the origin of social sciences dates back to a time in history, which predates natural sciences. Consequently, we can say that one of the differences between both branches of science lies in their origin, with social science predating natural science.
Natural sciences work more with experimental data, which are those that are obtained from the process of experimentation. Social sciences, on the other hand, work more with experiential data, which are those that are obtained from real-life experiences such as interviews, surveys, etc.
But, the basis of natural sciences is experimental data, which is based on repeated experiments, laboratory tests and constant reproductions of the results. The methodology of natural or physical sciences is usually characterized as fixed and direct, with the constant element of standard measurements. This methodology also employs experiments. Also the data from these experiments usually represent predictability and rationality.
On the other hand, social sciences revolve around the behavior of human beings as human persons or societies, their production and functioning. This type of science also cares a lot about cultural and human contexts and tries to explain how the world works. Its main objective is to study the complex and ever-changing phenomena that occur in human and social life, as well as their interactions with each other.
The methodology of social sciences begins with an assumption and is completed with a series of experiments and observations. Data collection methods are typically performed using a number of techniques such as field observation, interviews, and focus groups.
Experiments and data collected in social science studies denote spontaneity and deal with the emotions of the people involved.
Our specialists wait for you to contact them through the quote form or direct chat. We also have confidential communication channels such as WhatsApp and Messenger. And if you want to be aware of our innovative services and the different advantages of hiring us, follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
If this article was to your liking, do not forget to share it on your social networks
Byrne, D. (2005). Complexity, configurations and cases. Theory, Culture & Society,22(5), 95–111
Law, J.,& Urry, J. (2004). Enacting the social. Economy and Society,33(3), 390–410.
Lowe, P., Whitman, G.,& Phillipson, J. (2009). Ecology and the social sciences. Journal of Applied Ecology,46, 297–305.
Oughton, E., & Bracken, L. (2009). Interdisciplinarity research: Framing and reframing. Area, 4(4), 385–394.