We explain what the social sciences are, the topics that this science is interested in, and what its main characteristics are.

What are the social sciences?

The social sciences are those scientific disciplines that focus on human activity as a collective entity , that is, those that are interested in the life of man but not in isolation, but in society .

Without a doubt, this frames a broad universe that encompasses both the various ways in which man has organized himself to be able to live in terms of work and government , as well as the ways in which he has faced the relationship with his habitat and his cultural legacy, among many others. Demography , economics , history , anthropology , and sociology are some examples of social sciences.

Two unique historical circumstances precipitated the development of the social sciences: the French Revolution , which was a milestone in terms of individual freedoms and guarantees, and the Industrial Revolution , which set a new paradigm in terms of the work and production model. Philosophers such as Karl Marx , Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber were instrumental in this regard.

Characteristics of the social sciences :


The social sciences began to develop towards the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century , after the appearance in Europe of the first specialized journals and the emergence of important centers of social research, so that they can be considered relatively young sciences .

What are the social sciences for?

What are the social sciences for?

They are dedicated to the study of man in society . Unlike the natural sciences , which are devoted to the study of the environment that surrounds us and the phenomena that take place in it.

Complex approach of the social sciences

Another differentiating feature is that human beings have particular cognitive abilities , which create a consciousness and a number of abstract mental representations, which tend to influence their behavior, creating complex patterns of interaction between individuals and introducing mental facts, whether they are real or not. assumptions, and this complicates the approach of these sciences.

Studying subject and studied subject

Studying subject and studied subject

In the social sciences, the researcher plays a double role , since he is the subject who studies and at the same time the object studied. This does not happen with other sciences.


The social sciences are historical; this means that social events are not repeated , there is no way to recreate a particular situation to confirm that human behavior will be the same.


The social sciences are complex. People are motivated by a multiplicity of factors , interpreting the behavior of the group is not an easy task.

Human intentionality

human intentionality

In the social sciences there is intervention of the human will or intentionality , unlike what happens with other types of sciences, such as the natural sciences.

Methodological problems

The social sciences present methodological problems that do not appear in other sciences, the main one is that there are difficulties in generalizing and elaborating laws or statements that allow explaining and predicting phenomena.

Make generalizations about human behavior

At best, they produce probabilistic generalizations, since the social scientist cannot predict with absolute certainty ; it can only produce generalizations about human behavior to link facts, provide explanations, or suggest causes and likely responses.

Study method

study method

With respect to the methods they use, the social sciences can resort to the classical inductive method (characteristic of empiricism) , in which laws or theories are formulated from the analysis of facts that have already occurred that allow new facts to be deduced; as well as the nomological-deductive method, the hypothetical-deductive method or various interpretive methods.

Own language

The social sciences have their own language, with a number of terms whose meaning departs from what common language gives them.

The above content published at Collaborative Research Group is for informational and educational purposes only and has been developed by referring to reliable sources and recommendations from technology experts. We do not have any contact with official entities nor do we intend to replace the information that they emit.


Cultural journalist with great interest in education and technological innovation in the classroom. The future passes through technology and it is already here. .

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