Social Sciences

Social scientists concentrate on humanity, articulating insights about human behavior in all of its cultural and social processes, contexts, and structural conditions.

Social science research combines qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

To describe human behavior, some social scientists favor the more formal quantitative methods typically associated with the natural sciences. Quantitative research accomplishes what the word quantitative suggests -- it measures, classifies, and employs statistical models to represent data about human behavior. Qualitative research collects data less easily obtained by quantitative research. The tools of qualitative research are texts and documents, observation, participation, interview, and case study.

Social science research contributes to a collective body of data. Bibliographical references alert social scientists to the pre-existence of data that they can use or add to.

Reference lists help to evaluate the authority and credibility of an author's writing. Readers can use the references to establish the reliability of an author's argument or to outline its limitations and shortcomings.

Bibliographic citations use standard rules to identify and describe information sources. Researchers in the social sciences use the style manual published by the American Psychological Association (APA) in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. It is essential to use the most recent edition of the style manual.

Depending upon their area of study, scholars may also use The Chicago Manual of Style, the APSA Style Manual for Political Science, or the ASA Style Guide, published by the American Sociological Association. Always check with your professor for the preferred citation format.

APA Style

APSA Style

Chicago Manual of Style