Innovative thinking about a global world Sunday, November 25, The social science disciplines The social sciences consist of a variety of disciplines, subject areas, and methods, and there is no reason to expect that these disciplines will eventually add up to a single unified theory of society. Political science, sociology, history, anthropology, economics, geography, and area studies all provide their own, largely independent, definitions of scope, research agenda, and research methods. And there is no grand plan according to which the disciplinary definitions jointly capture all that is of scientific interest about the social. History rather than logic explains the particular configuration of social science disciplines that we now face.
Innovative thinking about a global world Thursday, January 3, Social description as science Descriptive research and writing in the social sciences is generally looked at with a degree of condescension. The complaint is that science should be explanatory, and descriptive work is both shallow and trivial.
We can almost hear the doctoral supervisor responding to the candidate who has spent a year in primary research in the field and in tax offices in Indonesia, producing a finely detailed descriptive study of how the fiscal institutions actually work across levels and regions: What patterns have you discovered?
Our talented field researcher will have found an enormous and surprising range of variation among the institutions and practices he has studied. And these variations cannot be inferred from some general theory of fiscal institutions. They must be discovered and documented on the ground. We need the complexity and texture of good, rigorous description to help produce genuinely explanatory theories.
So detailed descriptive research is important -- because the social world is unruly and varied, and there is no single rule or law that generates this diversity; and it is difficult, in that it requires extensive and disciplined efforts at observation and discovery.
Moreover, descriptive research is theoretical in one important respect: Of course there is no such thing as pure description. At the same time, the critic is right in one important respect: Our graduate student now needs to reconsider the manuscript and try to determine whether any of the variation and particularity makes sense from the point of view of known social mechanisms.
Why did the Indonesian fiscal system evolve into the variegated structure it now consists of? And this is where social theory is most useful -- not as a grand explanatory scheme, but as many small bits of theory capturing some relevant features of behavior and institution-building in these particular circumstances.
So, for example, our graduate student may notice that principal-agent problems are endemic in fiscal institutions. Given that taxes are being assessed and paid, all the participants have some motivation to subvert the process. So it may be that some observed variants can be explained as strategic efforts to solve principal-agent problems.
Or as another example -- limited and unreliable forms of communication may exist in some parts of the country under study, and features of the fiscal system in these under-served regions may have been selected because they are less reliant on swift, accurate communication.
Maybe this gives a basis for assessing the role of descriptive inquiry in the social sciences. Because social phenomena are heterogeneous and plastic, there is an important and enduring role for careful descriptive inquiry.
The task of discovering and documenting the variety and diversity of social phenomena is both important and intellectually challenging. Because social phenomena emerge from purposive human agency, there are an open-ended number of social mechanisms that are potentially relevant to the diversity that is discovered.
And because we are ultimately interested in explaining as much variation as we can, it is desirable to bring those theoretical widgets to bear on various elements of the diversity that is discovered in the descriptive research.
And, finally, it is unrealistic to imagine that either description or theorizing can be conducted solely independently.
Instead, description requires theorizing and conceptualizing, and theorizing requires some accurate descriptions of the world to work with.
As Kant wrote in a different context, "Concepts without percepts are empty, percepts without concepts are blind.Question: TMA 05 Evaluate the claim that social science investigations of elections and voting help to enact participation in political processes.
Answer: Voting in an election is an ‘individualistic’ form of ‘participation’ and one Read more of the answer →.
An orientation to social context, to the interconnections between social phenomena rather than to their discrete features A focus on human subjectivity, on the meanings that participants attach to events and that people give to their lives.
Explanation in the Social Sciences 1. Introduction dominated by the worry that there are no laws in social science available for con-structing covering-law explanations. Some nomological skeptics admit the even- description not only the account of bodily motions involved but also an account.
It draws on different disciplinary perspectives in the health and social sciences and invites comparisons between different health care settings. The research content of each chapter is accompanied by ideas for its educational and practical application.
Why is it important that our understanding of social science concepts continue to develop and expand? Please see below, answer both questions with no particular format. words for both. View Test Prep - Social science is the interaction between the individuals and other individuals as well as the socia from SOSC at York University.
Social science is described by Sills as a.