Difference Between Science and Social Science

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: October 07, 2023


Difference Between Science and Social Science

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Science is a term usually used to refer to physical science or natural science. Physical or natural science is a branch of science, and science itself is a vast topic. The other branch of science is social science. So, concerning this, science, which is here standing for physical and natural science, and social science have many things in common because both of them are sub-parts of science, but they are also significantly very different. Science is a subject that tries to study the natural world, whereas social science aims to explore the social world. The inclusion of the term ‘social’ in social science emphasizes this aspect. Science uses facts, observation, and experimentation to understand the aspects of nature. Social science, on the other hand, tries to understand human behavior and society.

Science vs. Social Science

Science is a vast concept and deals with both the branches of natural science and social science. The term science here stands for natural science, which is as much a sub-branch of science as is social science. This is because both of them are parts of science. The fundamental difference between science and social science lies in their respective perspectives. Science has been developed to study the aspects of nature, whereas social science deals with the study of human behavior and society. Science, which here stands for natural science, is an attempt to understand how nature works around us, its aspects, and its relationship with humans. But social science has a different kind of approach. The name social science makes it clearer. It aims to explore society, its aspects, its institutions, and human behavioral patterns within society. 

Difference Between Science and Social Science

Parameters of ComparisonScienceSocial Science
MeaningScience deals with the natural and physical aspects of the world and related phenomena.Social Science deals with social aspects of the world such as societal patterns, and human behavior in society.
Nature of ApproachThe approach of science is objective because it deals with empirical data and observations.Social science works from a subjective approach.
Methods of TestingTesting in science involves performing various experiments, hypotheses, research, and analysis to establish different kinds of scientific theories.In social science results are found through conducting various interviews, surveys, and case studies.
Different BranchesScience consists of physical science or physics, biological science, and chemistry.The different branches of social science include geography, economics, history, political science, anthropology, sociology, and many more.
Accuracy and ValidityAccuracy and validity are very high here since science has to mostly work with facts and inanimate objects.Social science deals with society, societal patterns, and human behavior which are bound to change with time, so accuracy and validity are not very high here.
Career ScopeCareer opportunities in science include working as a doctor, engineer, chemist, and many other such jobs.Social science provides for various career opportunities such as lawyer, archaeologist, and psychologist.
SettingExperiments conducted in science need to be done in a controlled environment.In Social science controlled environment cannot be achieved for conducting tests and research.

What is Science?

Science is a vast concept, and under it comes natural science and social science, which are two major branches of science. It is a subject that tries to do a systematic study of the real world, its attributes, and phenomena from the natural and physical angles. Experimentation, observation, hypothesis tests, and theoretical modeling are used to test and study various aspects of the natural world, how nature functions, the characteristics behind the existence of nature, and aspects of inanimate objects that also exist within nature. The result of this is that through experiments and observation, various theories and scientific laws are established that are universally true because they are facts that are accepted by the majority. Science is not only a vast body of knowledge, but it also helps in giving shape to our thoughts. Every day, various kinds of discoveries and inventions are possible due to science. It is constantly evolving with time. 

The approach of science is always objective, which makes it rational. It is objective because there are no personal emotions involved in this, no personal opinion of any person. It is just facts and observation that increases their chance of accuracy and validity. Ice will transform into water when it melts at high temperatures, and this is a valid fact without any doubt. Numerous experiments, observations, and laboratory tests have been conducted just to establish this point. Moreover, scientific experiments and observation should always be conducted in a controlled environment because the aspects of one’s surrounding also plays a huge role in scientific experiments.

The various characteristics of science are: -

  • Empirical Data
  • Objective Nature
  • Universal Truths

Empirical Data

Scientists collect empirical data through conducting scientific experiments and observations. It is not the kind of data that depends on guesswork or individual opinions, rather it is factual data obtained through real-life scientific experiments that one can observe and measure. Moreover, pieces of evidence or proof are there to support empirical data. For example, ice melts into water which is a liquid state and water converts into gas on heating are facts or empirical data that scientists have obtained by conducting various kinds of experiments on water.

Objective Nature

It is a well-known and established fact that science is objective. Objectivity comes from relying on facts that are unbiased and neutral. This is because science is not involved with human emotions, and human opinions have no place in the field of science. Facts or theories that are established in science are true because they are based on evidence. Moreover, personal opinions are kept aside in science to ensure that the results of an experiment are highly accurate and valid.

Universal Truth

Knowledge is a never-ending subject, and every day, something new is discovered in the field of science. This is because science continuously tries to know the unknown and explore the unexplored. Whatever principles and theories it establishes, turn out to be universally true because they are based on empirical data obtained from conducting extensive experiments and are globally accepted by everybody. It can happen that due to miscalculation, some scientific theories may not be true, but most of them are because they are based on precision. 

Types of Science

Science is no doubt a vast field, and innumerable subcategories fall under this. However, to keep it short, the three most important branches of science are: -

  • Physical Science
  • Earth Science
  • Life Science

Physical Science

Physical science can be understood from the name itself that it stands for physics. It mainly includes the study of inanimate materials along with natural laws. The subjects that fall under this branch are chemistry, zoology, and astronomy. The focus is mainly on the inorganic world, everything about the non-living matter and organic world is not focused much here.

Life Science

Life Science, as the name mentions, is all about living. It studies life and various aspects of a living being, like studying the human body and its functions. Any type of living being starting from a microorganism to a giant animal, any form of life can be studied under this category. Life on earth is the main point of study of life science. The subjects that can be studied under life science are vast, and many will overlap with the subjects of physical science because all the concepts are quite overlapping. So, the subjects are zoology, microbiology, and ecology.

Earth Science

Earth science studies the various aspects of Earth and the universe. Mineral resources, energy sources, volcanoes, and disasters are some of the topics that come under this category. The primary subjects covered in earth science are astronomy, metrology, and geology.

What is Social Science?

Social science is also a branch of science but one which is subjective. This branch of science attempts to explore the world from a social angle. It studies society, societal patterns, various institutions of society such as social, political, and economic, and patterns of human behavior. The various subjects that can be studied under social science include geography, history, political science, psychology, and many more. Its approach is subjective because it deals with human behavior that does not provide factual data. The data that it provides is biased and full of opinions because experimentation and tests in social science are conducted through surveys, interviews, and case studies. 

Objectivity and scientific methodology are not available in social science. So, providing unbiased, factual data is not possible for social science because human nature constantly changes. Hence, a controlled environment, which is a must and that can be achieved in science, cannot be achieved in social science. Social science uses both quantitative and qualitative methods for tests, but still, it has to handle a lot less quantitative data than physical science. Moreover, the rate of accuracy and validity is very low in social science because it mainly studies behavior in humans, who are very diverse creatures and change frequently. So, rationality is not an option in social science, which is why validity is also less.

Social science is the exact opposite of science, which tries to understand human behavior and uses a subjective approach for its experiments. The various features of social science are: -

  • Complex Approach
  • Continuous evolution

Complex Approach

Social science mainly tries to analyze and explore the human mind and behavior, which is why it has a subjective approach. This approach to social science is indeed very complex because the human mind itself is a very confusing and complex subject to study. Humans are very diverse creatures with intricate minds that get easily influenced by numerous factors and so, analyzing them is a bit of a difficult task. Moreover, since the experiments or observations conducted here are biased because personal interpretation may come in while doing interviews or surveys, understanding humans and their social behavior becomes very difficult. This is because data obtained here has a very low chance of being accurate or valid as bias generally comes in while conducting social science experiments.

Continuous Evolution

Social science is the study of human nature and social relationships. Human nature, society, and societal patterns keep on changing daily so, social science also has to adjust itself to these changes by changing its methods, and experiment procedures from time to time to remain updated. It has to keep on evolving to adjust to the current social dynamics and technologies because it approaches to study real-world issues. So, one social theory that was established a long time ago may not apply to today's scenario, so accordingly, social science researchers have to keep on asking questions and change their methods of experimenting with time.

Types of Social Science

Social science includes the following subjects: -

  • Sociology
  • Political Science
  • Anthropology


A rapid change started occurring in the mid-1800s in Europe, during which this subject rose to great prominence. It is a vast field of study that focuses directly on society, human behavior, and the various structures of society. Traditions and cultures of different social groups are studied here.

Political Science

Political science puts more focus on studying the societal institutions such as government, courts and parliament. It studies the political situation of a society. The concept of democracy boosted in politics due to many years of research into this, improving the policy choices of politicians.


Anthropology is the subject of studying the origin of human societies and cultures and how they have developed over the ages. It was during the Enlightenment period that it got a considerable amount of significance.

Main Difference Between Science and Social Science in Points

  • Science is a vast field to study and consists of two major categories: natural science or physical science and social science. So, the term science primarily means natural science here. Science is the subject that tries to study the natural and physical aspects of the real world. It examines the various aspects of nature and tries to understand all the natural phenomena along with studying physical inanimate matters. Empirical data is obtained from experiments and observation, which means that the approach of science is objective because factual data is used. Social science, from the name itself, refers to the social aspect of science, one which is subjective. It aims to study society, human behavior, and different societal institutions. Since it studies human behavior, there are biases and subjectivity because personal opinions are included. There are innumerable subjects under the branch of science and social science. Science includes physics, biology, and chemistry, which further consists of several sub-branches under life science, which is biology, there are subjects such as zoology and anatomy. Social Science, on the other hand, includes several streams, such as economics, history, anthropology, psychology, geography, sociology, and political science
  • The methods of testing in science include the use of empirical data and records to perform experimentation, observation, lab tests, research and analysis, testing of hypotheses, theoretical modeling, and many more. Due to its use of factual data, its approach is objective. Science gives factual data, which makes it rational and enhances its chances of accuracy and validity. This is because scientific facts are universally true as they are accepted by the majority. Science shows a fact as it is. Social science, on the other hand, tests through conducting surveys, interviews, case studies, and field reports. Scientific facts like oxygen is needed for human beings to survive will not change with time but since social science deals with society and human behavior and human behavior is bound to change with time, so, facts obtained in social science at one point of time may not be relevant later. The subjective approach of social science makes it low in accuracy and validity.


Hence, to conclude, science and social science are closely related. Science is a big topic, and social science falls under one of its major branches. Science is a subject that tries to uncover the secrets of the natural world. It is all about understanding how nature works, exploring the natural components, and examining the kind of connection that exists between humanity and nature. Social science, however, explores human behavior and society. It is concerned with the existence of human society, societal patterns, and institutions. It primarily studies human behavior, whereas science studies nature and the inanimate matter. Science approaches its experiments from an objective perspective, whereas social science is a subjective science, which is why the probability of accuracy and validity is very low here because the data obtained here is not exactly factual.


  • https://simplicable.com/science/social-science
  • https://coursementor.com/blog/types-of-science/
  • https://pediaa.com/difference-between-natural-science-and-social-science/


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"Difference Between Science and Social Science." Diffzy.com, 2024. Sun. 21 Apr. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-science-and-social-science>.

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