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UNIT 2: SCIENCE AND SOCIETY

The nature of objectivity in social sciences
Research in social science and its contribution to society
Natural scientists are connected with research in areas such as biology, chemistry, geology and
physics, where areas of predictability are generally more secure than in the areas we often…

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subjective approach. This can be very difficult because social scientists are likely to work with
people. People have values. Social scientists are people. They have values too.

Key terms
quantitative methods: methods based on the use and analysis of numerical data. An experiment
using these methods normally involves a number…

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Since it began in 1801, the census has been carried out every 10 years with the exception of 1941,
which coincided with the destruction and disruption brought about by the Second World War. The
census is a major statistical exercise that requires much detailed and meticulous planning and
provides essential…

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investigate particular subjects. The reactions of those studied, and sometimes photographed, in
Worktown were not always favourable.

After the outbreak of the Second World War, Mass Observation was used by the Ministry of
Information to gauge public opinion and monitor the effectiveness of the government's public
information campaigns. The work…

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We often have an image of natural scientists, working perhaps alone in laboratories,
dedicated to advancing knowledge in their chosen field of science such as chemistry or
physics.
They are less likely to deal with research involving people, so there is less likelihood of
variations in behaviour that may affect…

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Both natural and social scientists rely on gathering data, although this may take different
forms, with social scientists more likely to use questionnaires or historical records and
personal interviews.
To gain credibility for their research, social scientists must be rigorous in their approach to
research even if their methods are…

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o new treatment for epilepsy
Not all research has been successful, but this illustrates the value of research. One of the
biggest failures was the drug Contergan (better known as Thalidomide), which was launched
in Germany in the late 1950s after tests were carried out on animals. Warnings about this…

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Some subjects of research combine social and applied science. Both transport and the
environment may fall into this category.

Conclusion
There may be differences in research methods between social and natural scientists but this does
not mean that social scientists are necessarily any less rigorous than natural scientists. However,
they…

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