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Social Research vs. Scientific Research — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on January 8, 2024
Social research focuses on understanding human behavior and societies using various methodologies, while scientific research is a systematic investigation in any scientific field to discover or refine facts.
Social Research vs. Scientific Research — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Social Research and Scientific Research


Key Differences

Social research primarily investigates human societies, their relationships, and cultural dynamics. Scientific research, more broadly, includes systematic studies in fields like physics, chemistry, biology, and beyond.
Methods in social research often include qualitative approaches like interviews and observations. Scientific research typically emphasizes quantitative methods like experiments and statistical analysis.
Social research aims to understand and interpret social phenomena, often focusing on subjective experiences. Scientific research seeks objective, generalizable findings across various scientific disciplines.
Theories in social research are often based on social theories and philosophical perspectives. Scientific research relies on empirical evidence and scientific theories.
Social research addresses questions about societal structures, norms, and behaviors. Scientific research covers a broader range, from physical sciences to technology and medicine.

Comparison Chart

Focus Area

Human societies and behaviors
Broad scientific fields


Qualitative methods like interviews
Quantitative methods, experiments


Understanding social phenomena
Discovering generalizable facts

Theoretical Basis

Social theories, cultural studies
Empirical evidence, scientific theories

Scope of Questions

Societal structures, human interaction
Physical, biological, technological topics

Compare with Definitions

Social Research

Analysis of cultural and societal norms.
Social research was used to study changing gender roles.

Scientific Research

Exploration and experimentation in natural sciences.
Astrophysicists conduct scientific research on black holes.

Social Research

Investigation into human interactions and communities.
Urban development was studied through extensive social research.

Scientific Research

Investigation leading to technological advancements.
Scientific research in AI is advancing computational technologies.

Social Research

Research focusing on societal changes and impacts.
Social research analyzed the effects of immigration on communities.

Scientific Research

Studies aiming to discover scientific facts.
Scientific research in chemistry has created new synthetic materials.

Social Research

Examination of social structures and relationships.
Researchers conducted social research on family dynamics.

Scientific Research

Research using empirical methods and analysis.
Biologists use scientific research to understand genetic disorders.

Social Research

Study of societies and human behavior.
Social research explores the impact of social media on communication.

Scientific Research

Systematic investigation in scientific fields.
Scientific research led to the development of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Common Curiosities

What is scientific research?

A systematic study in any scientific field to discover or refine facts.

What is the main focus of social research?

It focuses on studying human societies and social relationships.

Do social researchers use qualitative methods?

Yes, often including interviews, surveys, and observations.

Is scientific research limited to laboratories?

No, it can occur in various environments, depending on the field.

How do technological advancements impact scientific research?

They enable more sophisticated experiments and data analysis.

Can both types of research be interdisciplinary?

Yes, both can integrate methods and theories from various disciplines.

Does scientific research contribute to medical advancements?

Significantly, in drug development, medical procedures, and health policies.

Are scientific research findings always conclusive?

They aim to be, but are often subject to further investigation.

Can social research influence public policy?

Yes, findings can inform and shape societal policies.

Does scientific research always require experiments?

While common, not all scientific research involves experiments.

What role does theory play in social research?

Theories guide the interpretation of social phenomena.

How do social and scientific research differ in objectives?

Social research seeks to understand human behavior, while scientific research aims for generalizable scientific knowledge.

Is statistical analysis important in social research?

Yes, especially when handling large data sets or conducting surveys.

Can social research be used in business?

Yes, especially in market research and organizational studies.

Are ethics important in both social and scientific research?

Yes, ethical considerations are crucial in both fields.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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