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THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES

In recent years STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) sciences have
received the majority of investment and support from government, universities, etc.,
while these subjects are no doubt important, the importance of social sciences should not
be ignored. In fact, in areas such as social and primary care, the justice system, and
business, to name just a few, social science is extremely important, and necessary. It is
therefore very important that this educational imbalance be addressed and more support
provided to the social sciences.
While for many people the words social sciences may conjure up images of social
workers or teachers, this is a gross misunderstanding of the range of roles available
within this discipline, as well as the impact that it has on the wider world. In general,
social sciences focus on the study of society and the relationship among individuals
within society. Social science covers a wide spectrum of subjects, including economics,
political science, sociology, history, archaeology, anthropology, and law. In comparison
to STEM sciences, social science is able to provide insight into how science and
innovation work in effect it is the science of science. In particular, social scientists are
equipped with the analytical and communication skills that are important throughout
many industries and organizations.

What do social scientists do?


Social scientists are involved with solving many of the worlds biggest issues, such as
violent crime, alternative energy, and cyber security. They have had profound effects on
every part of society.
Among the important roles that social science can play is in fighting the spread of
infectious diseases. A perfect example is the recent Ebola crisis in West Africa. While
part of solving this problem naturally rested on developing a clearer understanding of the
pathogens involved and increasing investment in drugs, there were a number of social
science needs as well. In particular, it was necessary to understand the people who were
suffering from the disease as well as the wider society in which they were living. For
example, doctors needed to understand how peoples attitudes were shaped towards such
things as hand washing and other sanitary behaviours. It was also necessary to inquire
into larger societal questions such as why do states fail, and how can they be rebuilt and

strengthened. Additionally, the fight against Ebola needed specialists in administration,


markets, drug pricing, human resources, fund raising, and leadership.
In other fields of medicine, social scientists again have much to offer and are working
with a variety of organizations in the UK. For example, researchers are currently
studying how cancer patients and their carers understand the recent, and on-going,
changes in cancer science. Social scientists are also working with the National Institute
of Health to provide a clearer picture of patients experience with community hospitals.
Sociologists are working with the Medical Research Council on the possible causes of
poor sleep patterns.
Other examples of the uses of social science abound. The United Kingdoms Ministry of
Defence uses social scientists at thinktanks and universities in order to better understand
the world and be better able to handle the defence and security challenges it faces every
day. In another interesting example, the UKs Home Office has brought together
engineers, criminologists, and auto manufacturers in order to figure out how to build cars
that are more difficult to steal. The insight that criminologists can provide into the
reasons why people steal, as well as their methods, is of particular importance to this
project.
Social scientists are also in great demand in the business world. For example, easyJet
sponsors the Consumer Data Research Centre, which uses geo-demographic mapping to
provide information to the airline about its customers use of services, travel patterns,
access to airports, and much more. Companies around the world are often desperate to
gain the type of deeper understanding of their customers that social scientists are able to
provide. Social scientists have the skills to see the world as others do, as well as find
data that others may have missed.

Strengthening social sciences for the future


It is clear that social science is of immense importance to societies around the world,
however their still is much work to be done to increase the level of support that they
receive. One of the key programs that have emerged to champion the social sciences has
been the Campaign for Social Science. The Campaign attempts to inform public policy,
build coalitions, and engage in measured advocacy for support of the social sciences.

Another important program that has helped raise the profile of the social sciences is The
Future of the UK and Scotland, which, according to its website, works to illustrate not
just the value but the diversity of the social sciences including resources on
immigration policy, higher education, welfare, defence and security, business, currency
and the constitution. Successful programs like the ones listed above have done much to
increase general knowledge of, and to secure increased funding for, the social sciences.
The choice between STEM and the social sciences is really a false one; society needs
people trained in both. In order to formulate effective solutions for society and to
understand the implications of those solutions, a mix of both STEM and social sciences
will be required. Social science is already increasingly engaged in collaborative crossdisciplinary work in diverse fields such as engineering, medicine, computing, biology,
and mathematics. It is clear that no subject area can stand alone, walled off from the
outside, and that social science can play an important role in all fields.
Read on for more information about some of the leading institutions offering first-class
social science programmes:
FACULTY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA CANADA
The University of Ottawa (uOttawa) is ranked among the top 2% universities worldwide,
and among the top 10 most research-intensive universities in Canada. uOttawa is home
to 10 faculties that offer more than 450 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree
programs to over 43,000 students from across Canada and 150 countries. The Faculty of
Social Sciences (FSS) offers a range of high quality undergraduate, masters and doctoral
programs. Given that the Faculty is situated just blocks from Parliament, embassies and
the central offices of public and not-for-profit organizations, interacting with politicians,
policy makers and societys key influencers is commonplace. Read the full profile
SOCIAL SCIENCES FACULTY, UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK UK
The University of Warwick is a globally connected and entrepreneurial institution
designed to promote success through innovative teaching and exciting research
opportunities. In less than fifty years Warwick has become one of the UKs top
universities, consistently ranked highly in all national league tables. Close links with
business and industry ensure that students develop skills and knowledge relevant to the
modern workplace, which in turn means that Warwick graduates are in high demand
among the UKs top graduate employers.

MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY CANADA


An institution which prides itself on recognising students not as numbers or statistics but
as individuals, Mount Royal University encourages all those enrolled to be themselves.
With a thriving community of 12,000 undergraduate students studying across a broad
spectrum of bachelors programmes, diplomas and certificates, the institution has a
history of success in preparing young people for life after graduation. While Mount
Royals courses have changed over time, the Universitys dedication to providing highquality teaching and small class sizes has remained the same.
FACULTY OF ARTS AND SOCIAL SCIENCES, UNIVERSITY OF WAIKATO
NEW ZEALAND
One of the most progressive research-led institutions in New Zealand, the University of
Waikato is dedicated to providing a rich learning environment in which tomorrows
leaders are encouraged to excel. The University is ideally situated in the vibrant, densely
populated city of Hamilton and offers its students a dynamic synthesis of academic
excellence and personal development. The University of Waikatos Faculty of Arts and
Social Sciences (FASS) graduates can now be found working for institutions such as the
Ministry of Defence and successful web design company Rocketspark, urges its students
to understand the value of their chosen subjects not simply within the academic
community but also in the context of todays global society.
SCHOOL OF SOCIAL SCIENCE AND PSYCHOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF
WESTERN SUDNEY AUSTRALIA
A world-class institution dedicated to providing students with the key skills and
confidence they need to excel in their chosen disciplines, the University of Western
Sydney (UWS) in Australia has been named one of the worlds top 400 universities in
the prestigious Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The School of
Social Sciences and Psychology offers a range of disciplines and areas of study that are
amongst the most exciting and important in the contemporary university. Many of the
programs that are managed by the School lead to professional recognition in areas such
as Clinical Psychology, Social Work, Counselling, Urban Planning and Policing, whilst
others have been developed in consultation of the relevant industry and public sectors.