What is Social Science? Essay

What is Social Science? Essay

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Human evolution and the dramatic social change accompanying progress and transformation demands a uniform discipline which assesses human interaction and the social world issues that pervade society. Hence it was in the context of extraordinary societal change, the Enlightenment period, that the development of a human science or ‘social science’ emerged, defined as the ‘attempt to explain social phenomena within the limits of available evidence” (Lewins, 1992, p.5).The concept of a social science can be further understood from a philosophical stand point where the work of social scientists can be classified in terms of a positivist or non-positivist position. The particular area of social work has gained significantly from the development of a social science centred upon the positivist philosophy and research strategies. While, non-positivist ideas, particularly that of Immanuel Kant and his legacy, has enabled the development of a sociolinguistic perspective reflecting the importance of values within social scientific practice. This essay will further address the issue of what social science is and why it is important through the examination of the emergence within social work of an “evidence-based practice” (Thyer & Myers, 2011) as well as the case study of “sociolinguistic observations on the impact of changing political, economic and sociocultural factors on names and naming practices” (Hailemichael, 2010, p.109), these areas of social science in turn emphasise the importance and need for a social science in order to understand social world issues.
Professional social work originated within a ‘primarily faith-based ministerial outreach’ (Thyer & Myers, 2011, p.9) context, where religious salvation was premised upon. Howeve...


... middle of paper ...


...ermine the causal factors that affect naming practice from that of a sociocultural approach. These specific disciplines depict the importance of social science in understanding “social phenomena” (Lewins, 1992, p.5) and thus understanding the social world within which all humans live.




Works Cited

Hailemichael, A. 2010, ‘Revisiting the Judicially Changed Personal Names in Ethiopia: A Study from a Sociolinguistic Perspective (1960-1995 E.C.)’, East African Social Science Research Review, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 109-126.
Lewins, F. 1992, Social Science Methodology, MacMillan Education Australia Pty Ltd, South Melbourne.
Smith, M. J. 2010, Social Science in question, Sage Publications Ltd, London.
Thyer, B. & Myers, L. 2011, ‘The quest for evidence-based practice: A view from the United States’, Journal of Social Work, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 8-25.

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