Each disciplinary perspective has at least some useful insights on social issues or problems (though the proportion can vary considerably from discipline to discipline, depending on the problem under study). We need to be able to recognize both the strengths and limitations of different insights.
In Chapter 9 from Scholarly Communication: What Everyone Needs to Know, Rick Anderson compares the information sharing practices of science, technology and medicine (STM) with humanities and social sciences (HSS). He states that there has been a long standing debate over the terms “hard” and “soft” sciences. Generally speaking, there are two types of science: Hard science and soft science, which are colloquial terms used to differentiate separate fields based on perceived rigor, methodology and objectivity. To put it simply, the natural sciences such as biology, chemistry, and physics are considered hard, while the social sciences such as economics, sociology, and psychology are considered soft. The STM fields, or so-called hard sciences, utilize laboratory practices, experimentation, and experimental data. The STM fields often produce concrete deliverables with clear explanations. The HSS (so-called soft sciences) rely more on subjective interpretation and analysis.
Consider the following scenario: A few months ago, a student majoring sociology met with her academic advisor. She wanted to change majors and move to a program where more hard sciences were being taught because she feels the hard sciences are more important. For this mini-essay, you will take on the role of the academic advisor. Give the student advise by comparing the humanities and social sciences (HSS) with science and technology (STM) fields. What are some of the strengths and limitations of each of these two broad academic disciplines? What advice would you give the student about her belief that the hard sciences are more important?
Mini writes should have a total word count minimum of 200 words and maximum of 500 words.