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We Observe and/or Relate phenomena (both in physical and social sciences) and fix up belief on their behavior. Such beliefs on the behavior of phenomena could be fixed up by a common man and a scientist.
But their ways are different.
Commonsense and scientific approach in fixing belief on behavior of phenomena
A common man and the scientist both fix up beliefs and test hypotheses relating to behavior of phenomena: Consider the following:
Women are more religious than men in India Brand preference and economic status are positively related. People from a caste or ethnic group are enterprising. Investment in company X is profitable. Sales and advertizing expenditures are +ly related These could be beliefs based on commonsense.
e. It tests hypotheses in a selective way i. Commonsense observes and relates variables in an unsystematic i. unorganized & unplanned way.it selects evidences and gives explanation simply because it is consistent with his hypothesis. .e .Science and commonsense differ in a variety of ways in fixing beliefs. It often generalizes behavior of phenomena in an uncontrolled way.
It tests beliefs/theories empirically and in a controlled condition. where ever necessary. carefully guards his research against his own preconception and predilections (liking). . A scientist knowing the selection tendency of human being to be a common psychological phenomenon.But the Scientist's approach is different in fixing beliefs on the behavior of phenomena Scientific approach is a systematically built theoretical structure ( with a structured design and a plan of investigation).
• Brand loyalty & economic status are related .The Scientist's approach is different…(Contd) Obvious relationships are empirically tested and established (for decision making) in a scientific approach. • Advertising expenditure & sale volume are positively related. • Demand is inversely related to price.
SUBJECTIVE BELIEFS ARE CHECKED AGAINST OBJECTIVE REALITY .A DEFINITION SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH IS DEFINED AS A SYSTEMATIC.SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH . EMPIRICAL AND CRITICAL INVESTIGATION OF HYPOTHETICAL PROPOSITIONS ABOUT PRESUMED RELATIONS AMONGST OBSERVED PHENOMENA. CONTROLLED.
Aim of Scientific Research Aim of scientific research is basically theorizing the behavior/relationship between variables/phenomena. . Scientific Research establishes general laws covering the behavior of empirical events and enables us to connect together our knowledge of separately known events or explain the relationship between variables and make reliable predictions.
Systematic. However. controlled.SCIENTIFIC STATUS OF A SCIENCE It depends on the degree and accuracy of the four aspects mentioned in the definition of scientific research. economics. chemistry are more exact than social sciences such as sociology. . all the sciences differ in degree with respect to the characteristic of exactness. empirical and critical This fixes up limits with respect to exact and inexact sciences Physical sciences such as physics. psychology. management etc.
. Questions arises here is “ Can human behavior be subjected to scientific enquiry ?” Thus. we examine the characteristics of social sciences and relate them to the four aspects of scientific research.SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH IN SOCIAL SCIENCES In social science we study the behavior of social phenomena and the behavior of human being.
i) . Social scientists like the physical scientists seek to discover regularity and order in social behavior This is done through observations and measurement Observation of regularities in the behavior of human beings and socio-economic variables in the market. ii) Measurement of social behavior of human beings / socio-economic and market related variables.1.
water flowing downstream.H2 O is water. . advertising and sale volumes are related. Consider the following: An object falling to earth. application of fertilizer results in a good crop. Behavior of phenomena in physical sciences are more regular than social sciences Regularities in social science represent probabilistic pattern since they are more subjectivity in nature.(i) Discovering/observing regularities and framing theories in social sciences. buying a share of company X is profitable. Women are more religious than men. EPS is positively related to profit.
Sales Revenue Intelligence. .(ii) Measurement Qualitative and quantitative variables are observed and related in social sciences e. Brand loyalty etc These could be measured with specific methods/ways and used in the analysis. However. Expenditure. Economic Status . a systematic measurement must be judged on the basis of its utility rather than absolute truth in social sciences. Income. Profits.g.
Inductive reasoning is a process from specific observations to general principles. A cyclical process of induction and deduction are followed in both the sciences with respect to theorizing behavior/phenomena. Theories are tested and restated with the use of these processes. Reasoning: deductive and inductive Deductive reasoning is a process from general principle to specific instances. Deductive method is stronger in having theoretical support whereas. inductive method is stronger in empirical support. Logical reasoning in physical and social sciences. .2.
Determinism in social science Consider the following phenomena in the economy.3. A mobile manufacturing company has lost it market share recently. Cost of production of X is increasing Increase in adv expenditure has not resulted in increase in the market share of a product Price rise of car over the last few years has not been associated with a decline in demand etc. There is a steady growth of FDI in India after 1990s BSE sensex is falling over the last few months. .
. This refers to the „Theory of Causation‟ in the philosophy of science.Nothing just happens All events have antecedent causes or a priori reasons There could be single or multiple causes for all the phenomena. There is a probabilistic determinism in the behavior of socio-economic phenomena. Very often the causes leading to the occurrence of an event/ phenomenon are known as determinants .
S/he generalizes the behavior of variables ). The process of induction is useful in generalization. Generalization A social scientist begins to explain a limited range of social behavior or behavior of a limited sub-set of population and then normally extends his/her findings to explain the behavior of other sub-sets (i. He generalizes the behavior of phenomena and frames theory. The scientist is not interested in specific observation .4. .e.
rather he is interested in the general behavior of the consumers. A discovery of a certain behavior of a group of people is less useful than that has universal application. However.For example: A researcher is less interested in the individual response to a price change. Hypothesis are tested with F. generalization in social science is related to probabilistic determinism. t. Chi-square and other statistical measures to arrive at generalization. .
but it also complicates the relationship (model) and makes estimation difficult. . Use of more variables decreases generalizability since different variables may have different impact on different population sub-set. Additional variables increase explanatory power of a model (in a dependency relationship). Parsimony Multiple causation suggests that social/economic phenomena are explained using multivariate models where several variables are used.5.
Quantity of consumption etc. Cost of living.. Cultural back ground . Standard of living. Sex ratio in the h.H. Price of the commodity.H. Durability of the product. Location of H. Season. Attitude of a person.s on a Commodity may depend on the following: Income of the households. . Management of the house hold.Consider the following Expenditure of H. etc.hs.Proximity to market. Price of complimentary goods. Number of family members. Demonstration effect. Media advertisement for the product. Price of substitute.
Are all the variables equally important? One has to identify the more or less relevant variables with “a priori” reasoning. Parsimony in social science refers to “more understanding from least variables” More understanding often refers to explanatory power in a dependency relationship . A judicious decision is warranted in explaining socio-economic behavior.
Income. spendthriftness.acceleration.g. profits. literacy. . Intelligence.6. Specificity: It refers to the specification of methods of measurement of variables Conceptualization of variables and use of proxy variables Conceptualizing and measuring of variables differs in physical and social sciences e. force. We use proxy variables in social sciences when we do not have a set measuring standard. brand preference. . expenditure on the one hand and Industrialization. religiosity etc on the other. gravitation in physical sciences.
Explanation of models must make sense and they must correspond to what is being actually studied/observed. . Expenditure = f ( Income) Brand Loyalty = f (Awareness and Economic Status) Economic Development = f (Industrialization) Relationship is meaningless unless variables are specified and data could be collected on them.7. Empirical verification Formulation of general laws or models are not useful unless they can be verified through collection and manipulation of data.g. E.
But when the study is replicated using a reported design and methodology the ideas may converge. . Inter-subjectivity SUBJECTIVITY :DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SOCIAL SCIENTISTS.8. then there is a “paradigm shift” or change in the theory. Inter-subjectivity refers to situations in which different social scientists will arrive at different conclusions using their own ideas and perceptions on variables and their relationships. If it is not.
Modifications/Restatement of Theories Physical and social sciences are open to countless modification and restatement of theories.economics. Large number of modifications/restatement of in the theories of social sciences such as psycholology. .management.9. Recent research in physics ( Atoms Large Hadron Collider) New research findings in medical sciences & other physical sciences.
education. The degree of exactness differs with respect to the nature of different social sciences such as economics. philosophy etc.Scientific Research and Social Sciences A Concluding Remark The characteristics of social science suggest that scientific research is possible in the field of social sciences to some extent when the four aspects of scientific research are considered. . management. psychology. sociology. Subjective beliefs are checked against objective reality in social science but the process and out come are less exact as compared to the physical sciences.