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RELEVANCE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES IN UNDERSTANDING AND SOLVING CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY

Prepared by: Mujeebu Rahman Vazhakkunnan

Generally social science is defined as the scientific study of human society and of individual relationship in and to society. Hence, as compared to natural science subjects, social sciences have more roles in shaping and reshaping our society and social order. Social sciences cannot be and should not be practiced in isolation from what is happening in the society and from what is sought to be done it. In every society the making of policies is only through the trained observation and interpretations of different social scientists. One of the major functions of the stream is to describe various phenomena of the society. Whatever kind of social science on practice, descriptive task is most important. Generally the practitioners of social sciences will have to concern themselves with gathering and building data on the basis of analytical and interpretative profiles. Another most valuable potential of the social sciences lies in their capacity to develop significant propositions which have sound theoretical bases and are amenable to test by verifiable studies. A social scientist can shape and reshape the society through a variety of roles. Generally we can say a social scientist has three major roles to perform. Firstly, investigation into significant issues with a view to offering analytical and interpretative description and explanations. The next important role of a social scientist is the meaningful social criticism. Finally, the social scientist has a living concern for the shape of the future. Social science disciplines have reliable data gathered through systematic process. Social science research is a systematic method of exploration, analyzing and conceptualizing human life in order to extend, correct or verify knowledge of human behavior and social life. Social science seeks to find explanation to unexplained social phenomena to clarify the doubtful, and correct the misconceived facts of social life. Social science and the methodology of research have the capacity to understand and solve the contemporary problems at regional, national and global levels. Following are the main functions of Social Science research and a brief account on how it helps in understanding and solving contemporary problems. 1. Discovery of facts and their interpretation on social mysteries: Research in Social Sciences provides answer to questions of what, where, when, how and why of man, social life and institutions. Discovery of facts and their interpretation helps us to discard such distortions and thus enlighten us and contribute to our understanding of social reality. There are half-truths, pseudo-truths and superstition, and research strengthens our desire for truth and opens up before our eyes, hidden social mysteries. 2. Diagnosis of problems and their analysis lead to appropriate remedial actions: The developing countries face innumerable problems such as poverty, unemployment, economic inequality, social tension, low productivity, technological backwardness etc. The nature and dimension of such problems have to be diagnosed and analyzed. Research in Social Sciences plays a significant role in this respect. An analysis of problems leads to an identification of appropriate remedial actions. After all it will leads to the prosperity of human beings, society and nation itself. 3. Systematization of knowledge: The facts and knowledge discovered through research are systematized and the body of knowledge is developed. A systematized body of knowledge wills properly helps us to implement a better social planning for the development of entire human society. 4. Control over social phenomena: Research in social science areas equip us with firsthand knowledge about the organizing and working of the society and its institutions. This knowledge gives us a greater power of control over the social phenomena.
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5. Prediction and ensures order among social facts: Research in social science aims at finding an order among social facts and their causal relations. This affords a sound basis for prediction in several cases. Although, the predictions cannot be perfect because of the inherent limitations of Social Sciences, they will be fairly useful for better social planning and control. 6. Development planning: Planning for socio-economic development calls for baseline data on the various cross-sections of our society and economy, recourse endowment, peoples needs and aspirations etc.. Systematic research can give us the required data base for planning and designing developmental schemes and programmes. Analytical studies can illuminate critical areas of policy and testing the validity of planning assumptions. Evaluation studies point out the impact of the plan, policies and programmes and throw out suggestions for their proper reformulation. 7. Social welfare: Research in Social Sciences can unfold and identify the causes of social evils and problems. It can thus help in taking appropriate remedial actions. It can also give as sound guidelines for appropriate positive measures of reform and social welfare.