As we have seen, scientific research is rooted in an understanding of how nature works. Because scientists study natural processes, they learn about cause and effect relationships. They look at correlations between different factors to determine what influences or impacts something may have.

This is important because humans are made up of nature – everything from our cells down is composed of molecules that interact with each other and take part in complex chemical reactions. When these interactions occur more often than not, positive changes happen!

So, when researchers examine the causes of healthy weight loss or disease prevention, they look at both what people eat and whether there are certain lifestyle habits like exercise that influence their health.

By doing so, they can figure out which foods help us lose weight and which ones may actually contribute to obesity. Similarly, by studying why some individuals get sick more frequently than others, we can find ways to prevent diseases such as asthma and diabetes.

Furthermore, studies looking into the reasons why some people recover faster from illness or surgery use similar reasoning to assess underlying risk factors. These risks could be things like poor nutrition or lack of sleep, for example.

When conducted properly, using rigorous statistical methods, this process can lead to improved public health. That means reducing morbidity and mortality due to chronic illnesses and helping to keep people who are already diagnosed healthier.

There are several types of studies categorized according to how soundly they test the hypothesis being studied.

Differences in methodology

how is scientific research different from social science research

One of the biggest differences between scientific research and other types of academic studies is how the study was designed. In social science research, you’ll often find surveys that ask people to respond directly to a question with either yes or no.

In observational studies like psychology experiments, researchers will use pre-existing tools or tests to assess observable behaviors towards conclusions.

In intervention studies, we refer to this as performing an experiment because one group is given exposure to a factor (in this case, a drug) while another is not.

With randomized controlled trials (RCTs), participants are randomly assigned to both groups. It is important to note that there is no moral justification for doing an RCT. Only do it if you have adequate funding and sufficient resources!

It is very difficult to conduct true randomization due to practical limitations. When designing our studies, we try to make sure those involved cannot choose their assignment until after they agree to participate in the study.

By including comparisons within subjects (like A before B) and between subjects (A vs. B), we can determine whether changing the variable under investigation has lasting effects. This process is what determines consistency across different versions of a test, which makes the results more reliable. — Mandy McElroy, Assistant Professor at University College Dublin

When done correctly, these strategies all contribute to internal validity–or reliability–of the findings.

Differences in the research process

how is scientific research different from social science research

A key difference between scientific studies and other types of qualitative research is how the research process works. For example, social science researchers may ask participants to do something such as talk about their past experiences or participate in an activity with the researcher.

This is called open-ended elicitation because it asks respondents to give answers that they want to give instead of being given questions to respond to. It also requires people to be able to speak for themselves which can be difficult if you’re not used to doing that!

Scientists are typically very specific when asking questions. This is done because scientists take great care in ensuring that what they ask and what they get recorded and analyzed accurately.

Furthermore, most statistical tests that are conducted use assumptions like independence and normality that must be met before meaningful conclusions can be drawn from the data. These things cannot usually be assumed in non-scientific settings.

When there are no clear rules about what should be done, then the results can sometimes become questionable at best and misleading at worst.

Differences in the results

how is scientific research different from social science research

There are many ways to conduct scientific research, but one of the biggest differences between social science studies and observational research is how the study was designed. For example, when doing ethnographic or qualitative studies, you as an observer are part of the studied group — you exist alongside those you’re studying and yourself!

This is not true for experimental studies where researchers use control groups to assess the effects of an intervention or treatment. Because these interventions or treatments are typically conducted by trained professionals, there usually is already an accepted standard way to do things. By using another method to administer the same thing, you can determine if what they were teaching is actually working better than the old way.

With this kind of design, there is also higher variability in the data because you cannot be certain whether the outcome would have been the same without the intervention. This makes it more difficult to determine whether there is truly an effect from the treatment or not.

Differences in the interpretation of results

how is scientific research different from social science research

Recent critiques of scientific research often focus on how different conclusions are drawn from the same set of studies, or the fact that some theories seem to be more scientifically sound than others.

This is quite an important topic because we as humans rely heavily on these theories for our understanding of the world around us. For example, when someone questions whether or not vaccinations cause autism, you will find many people citing studies that back up their claim.

However, there are also individuals who believe that vaccines can contribute to autism so they do not recommend them. During this debate, one side may cite past studies that show an association between vaccination and increased risk of autism while the other side may refer to newer studies that suggest otherwise.

When it comes down to it, however, none of these studies prove anything with absolute certainty. What a study does tell us though is something about correlation which is very valuable information. Correlation doesn’t imply causation but it does make us think about potential causes and effects.

Differences in the significance of results

how is scientific research different from social science research

What makes scientific research different from other types of studies is how seriously researchers take their findings. In science, there are several strategies that can be used to determine the importance or relevance of a finding.

These include using well-defined metrics such as effect size or statistical significance, gathering additional data or experiments to corroborate your findings, confirming or rejecting previous hypotheses, publishing your findings so they can be verified by others, and establishing causal links between variables.

By contrast, some social sciences use weaker methods to assess the significance of their findings. For example, instead of testing whether new policies work, students may test whether people agree more about policy issues after it was announced.

Similarly, when conducting surveys, survey questions that seem biased will often get ignored or dismissed, even if they receive large amounts of response material.

Differences in the validity of results

how is scientific research different from social science research

A major difference between scientific research and other forms of social science research is that the conclusions drawn from each type of research are not necessarily valid.

This comes down to what researchers call internal and external validity. Internal consistency refers to whether there are repeatable steps used to get the same answers across different questions or tests within a given area. For example, if you ask someone how much they like vegetables, then ask them again later, you would expect the answer to be similar.

External validation means asking whether your findings can be applied to people outside of your study population or setting. This differs from internal consistency as it focuses more on testing the generalizability of your findings rather than just confirming the current state of knowledge.

By having these two components, we are able to determine the credibility of any given conclusion.

Differences in the reliability of results

how is scientific research different from social science research

The way that scientists go about conducting research is different than what social researchers do. This difference lies in how reliable the studies are given the same topic.

As we discussed before, scientific experiments have strict regulations to ensure that the participants or individuals being studied are not influenced by things such as personal biases or emotional attachments to the experiment.

These regulation standards are very rigorous and require significant time and resources to conduct. Therefore, only major universities and academic institutions can afford expensive testing conditions.

This limits the size and diversity of the sample groups used in scientific studies, which may negatively affect the generalizability of their findings. Generalization with these studies is difficult because they lack representation of non-scientific populations.

Furthermore, most people understand science more clearly than they do psychology. This means that when someone conducts an experimental study, they must make sure that their questions are scientifically sound so that their conclusions make sense.

Personal bias can influence what kind of answers people give to survey questions, making it hard to determine whether one group is happier or less happy than another.

Differences in the accuracy of results

how is scientific research different from social science research

Many social science studies focus more on what questions to ask and how best to pose them than whether their findings are actually accurate. This is different from scientific research, which depends on questioning assumptions about the study’s hypotheses as well as confirming that the experiment was conducted properly and consistently.

Studies with an agenda often will not recruit enough participants or test their interventions properly, thus invalidating the results. By having these things be part of the criteria for accepting a study, you can identify if its conclusions match those of the researcher(s).

Furthermore, researchers who work outside of academia may lack consistency in how they conduct experiments. For example, some may use expensive, professional equipment without verifying it works or even being able to afford it. All of this can influence the results, making it hard to determine if the intervention worked or not.

Scientific research has built-in checks to ensure validity. If there were no such checks, then many false theories would remain unchallenged because people would trust the source.