Nature of science in social work

Sustainable development The social science disciplines are branches of knowledge taught and researched at the college or university level. Social science disciplines are defined and recognized by the academic journals in which research is published, and the learned social science societies and academic departments or faculties to which their practitioners belong.

Nature of science in social work

Please visit the site, where you will find other useful articles, blogs, and an international social network site on the philosophy of social science, Marxism, and globalization. Daniel Little University of Michigan-Dearborn February, The social and behavioral sciences endeavor to describe, explain, and interpret the range of the social and behavioral facts that surround us.

Consider a few assumptions that are often made about scientific knowledge—some valid and some not. Science is based on a set of rationally justified methods of inquiry and testing.

Scientific knowledge progresses, in scope, in detail of understanding, and in reliability.

Nature of science in social work

Science is performed by specialists, working within equally exacting communities of peers and competitors Nature of science in social work subject to a demanding set of standards of evaluation—peer-reviewed journals, university review processes, national laboratories, and international associations and conferences.

The result of these processes of testing and evaluation, we expect, is an expanding body of hypotheses, experimental findings, observations, theories, and explanations that have substantial credibility—and substantially higher credibility than the writings of casual observers of a given range of phenomena.

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We come to know the nature of the world better through the institutions and methods of science. In addition to these reasonably valid assumptions about scientific knowledge, there is another group of more questionable ideas that derive from assumptions drawn from the natural sciences.

Science permits generalizations; it permits us to systematize otherwise apparently separate domains of phenomena planetary motion, the tides; rational choice theory, behavior of the family and to demonstrate that apparently heterogeneous sets of phenomena are in fact governed by the same general laws.

Science permits predictions; if the fundamentals are thus-and-so, then the compounds will behave thusly. Science aims at unification: Notice that these latter expectations are derived from the successes and specific characteristics of certain of the natural sciences.

And this marks the first of many opportunities for error in the philosophy of social science.

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There is no reason to expect that the social domain possesses the underlying nature and orderliness that would make it possible to achieve some of these characteristics in particular, uniformity, generalizability, unification, simplicity.

Consider some other areas of possible empirical research—for example, animal behavior. We should not expect there to be comprehensive theories of animal behavior. Instead, we should expect many threads of research, corresponding to many dimensions of animal behavior: And these many strands of research would reach out to different kinds of causal backgrounds: Likewise with the domain of social behavior.

What gives us a rational basis for believing that the results of the socially constructed activities of science lead to true hypotheses about the nature and workings of the phenomena that scientific inquiry considers?

There is, first, the basic argument of empiricism: And we can use a collection of tools of inference to establish credibility of other non-observational statements deductive and inductive logic, statistics, the experimental method, causal modeling.

Nature of science in social work

This simple empiricist epistemology underwrites the strongest claims for veridicality and justification for the social sciences. The discovery of empirical facts about the social world is possible but challenging; this is what much of social science methodology attempts to under-gird.

And hypotheses about the causal relationships that exist among social entities and processes can be tested using a variety of methods of inference that themselves possess strong epistemic justification.

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We have learned from the writings of philosophers of science since the s to emphasize corrigibility and anti-foundationalism in our interpretation of scientific knowledge; but a coherentist epistemology and a perspective of causal realism provides a philosophically powerful grounding for social science knowledge KvanvigBoyd In addition, in some areas of the natural sciences, there is the fact that cumulative scientific research leads to the invention of technologies that work as they were designed to do: So scientific theories of materials, structures, and natural systems are supported by the effectiveness of the technologies that they give rise to.Pearson Prentice Hall and our other respected imprints provide educational materials, technologies, assessments and related services across the secondary curriculum.

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In the past thirty years, the United States has undergone a profound transformation in its social structure: Crime has increased. The scientific questions asked, the observations made, and the conclusions in science are to some extent influenced by the existing state of scientific knowledge, the social and cultural context of the researcher and the observer's experiences and expectations.

The Nature of Social Science Research MAGGIE WALTER ASKING SOCIAL QUESTIONS, SEEKING SOCIAL ANSWERS Despite enormous social and political changes in . Buy Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection on attheheels.com FREE SHIPPING on qualified orders.

What Is The Nature of Science?