scientific research

scientific research

To what degree can research within the social science be considered “scientific?”  What does it mean for a line of research to be “scientific?” What are some of the challenges that coincide with carrying out scientific research? 

To what degree can research within the social science be considered “scientific?”  What does it mean for a line of research to be “scientific?” What are some of the challenges that coincide with carrying out scientific research?  Your posts this week should demonstrate critical reflection upon the assigned readings.

This week, we discussed the various characteristics of the scientific method and how they can be used to enhance the quality of research. There have been varying gaps between the results of physical and social sciences research. One of the factors that contributes to this is the predictability of both the results and the assumptions used in the research. Constructing and formulating research questions is one of the most, perhaps the most, critical aspects of all research. According to Jerome Clauser (P41, 2008), Physical research is done repeatedly in a controlled environment under controlled conditions with the ability to manipulate variables. To determine if research in the social science can be regarded as scientific, the first step is to define scientific research. After that, we can then assess the scope of research required to fits this definition.

In this week’s readings, we have red of two types of scientific research. Clauser States and goes into detail of the two types of research: predictive and descriptive research. Predictive research discipline is focused on developing and testing models that predict the outcomes of various actions based on the interactions between certain factors. The most common type is known as laboratory research where conditions and variables are set and determined by those conducting the research.

Descriptive research “testing a hypothesis usually involves searching for evidence that supports or refutes it. Searching for information that would support a hypothesis as well As for information that would refute it.” (Clauser, 2008) In short, Descriptive research answers mainly the “what” in a study versus the “why”. Examples given by Dr. Naveed Ahmed, states that the descriptive research can be used to describe the characteristics of populations, survey of literacy rate in a city, or various aspects of a phenomenon.

There are many factors that can make or break and research. A big problem in most graduate’s research is either the lack of material or guidance Without posing questions it is not possible to develop our knowledge about a particular subject. One could even say that good research questions might be as valuable and sometimes even more valuable than answers. Using the Scientific Method (AMU, 2022), new discoveries and theories have been generated in various fields. “The scientific method is a means by which researchers gain insight into what was previously unknown using a standardized set of techniques for building scientific knowledge. Utilizing the four characteristics – Repeatable, precise, falsifiable, and parsimonious – A theory that results from any scientific method must comply with these four characteristics (AMU, 2022). These discoveries have led to the development of new ways of thinking about scientific matter


Akyürek, E., & Afacan, Ö. (2018). Higher Education Studies8(2).

American Military University. Week 2. The Scientific Method. Last modified, N.d.

Clauser, J. (2008). Types of Inquiry and the Nature of Proof. In An Introduction to Intelligence Research and Analysis. The Scarecrow Press, Inc.

Dr. Ahmed, N. (2021). Descriptive Research with Examples – YouTube

Good Afternoon Dr. Wohlers and class,

Merriam-Webster (n.d.) defines scientific as “conducted in the manner of science or according to results of investigation by science: practicing or using thorough or systematic methods.” To me this means using acceptable standards of research and practices and remaining objective rather than subjective in collecting results and making conclusion.

Being very new to social sciences, a few things have occurred to me. It seems much more abstract than science like math, or chemistry. It seems unlikely that much is conducted under controlled, laboratory conditions. After reading ‘Science” in the Social Sciences it seems that a way to think about social sciences compared to physical sciences is that they are just different. Coulter (n.d.) states that geology, astrophysics, genetics, and particle physics are all vastly different. He also posits that scientific institutions have accomplished four things: generated knowledge of a rigorous kind, transcended mere “common sense,” is trustworthy and reliable, and is objective in nature (Coulter, n.d.). By this, social science research seems to fit the above definition.

A major challenge in carrying out research, especially in social sciences, is omitting one’s biases from the equation. It seems even more important when one is dealing with qualitative date as opposed to quantitative. Coulter (n.d.) mentions that researchers need to avoid conducting their work in a manner that would lead them to find the results that they want. McKinlay (n.d.) states the importance of applying proper methodologies to specifics areas of research. At the same time, he stresses the importance of adapting and refining methods based on what exactly you are doing. I think that is also a significant challenge. He also mentions differences that need to be considered depending on global locations.

This week’s readings were eye opening for me, and intimidating. Being my second collegiate course in over 19 years, I have a long way to go to feel comfortable in the subjects of research design and social science. Thanks for your time,



Coulter, J. (n.d.) ‘Science” in the social sciences.

McKinlay, J. (n.d.) Appropriate research methods.

Merriam-Webster (n.d.). dictionary. Retrieved May12, 2022 from

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