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Political Science vs. Sociology: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on December 31, 2023
Political science focuses on the study of government, politics, and political behavior, while sociology examines human society and social behavior more broadly.

Key Differences

Political science is primarily concerned with the study of government systems, political activities, political thoughts, and political behavior. Sociology, in contrast, deals with the study of social behavior, social groups, and society.
Political science often focuses on the analysis of political systems, the behavior of politicians and political parties, and the study of political theories. Sociology explores a wider range of social phenomena, including family, religion, education, and class systems.
In political science, research is often centered around the concepts of power, governance, public policy, and international relations. Sociology, however, delves into social interactions, social institutions, and cultural norms.
Political science uses methodologies like statistical analysis and comparative politics to understand political systems and behaviors. Sociology employs various methods such as ethnography, interviews, and participant observation to study social patterns and relationships.
The outcomes of political science studies can influence public policy and political strategies, while sociological research contributes to the understanding of social issues and can inform public policy from a societal perspective.

Comparison Chart


Government, politics, political behavior
Human society, social behavior

Key Areas

Political systems, policy, international relations
Social groups, culture, institutions

Research Methods

Statistical analysis, comparative politics
Ethnography, interviews, surveys


Influences public policy, political strategies
Understands social issues, informs policy

Study Scope

More focused on political aspects
Broader study of social phenomena

Political Science and Sociology Definitions

Political Science

Involves the analysis of political systems and political activities.
He studied the electoral systems in his political science course.


Explores the interaction between individuals and their social environment.
Sociology examines how cultural norms influence individual behavior.

Political Science

Political science examines the theory and practice of politics and policy.
Her thesis in political science focused on voter behavior.


Involves understanding the social dynamics within families, communities, and other institutions.
The sociology class discussed family dynamics in different cultures.

Political Science

Political science often studies the distribution of power and resources.
Political science can help understand the dynamics of power in society.


Sociology studies societal issues like inequality, race, gender, and class.
Her sociological research addressed issues of social inequality.

Political Science

The study of governments, political processes, and political behavior.
In political science, we analyzed different forms of government.


Sociology investigates the structure of groups, organizations, and societies.
His sociology project focused on community organizations.

Political Science

It includes the study of political ideas, ideologies, and institutions.
She explored political ideologies in her political science research.


The study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior.
In sociology, we learned about the impact of social media on society.


The study of human social behavior, especially the study of the origins, organization, institutions, and development of human society.


Analysis of a social institution or societal segment as a self-contained entity or in relation to society as a whole.


A social science that studies society, human social interaction, patterns of social relationships, and the interactions of culture. Through both theory and applied research, it engages subject matters across a range of microanalysis, mesoanalysis, and macroanalysis.


That branch of philosophy which treats of the constitution, phenomena, and development of human society; social science.


The study and classification of human societies


How does political science relate to history?

Political science often uses historical contexts to understand current political systems and theories.

Is political science only about government?

Not just government; it includes various aspects like public policies, political theories, and international relations.

What is political science?

Political science is the study of politics, government systems, and political behavior.

What do political scientists do?

They analyze political systems, theories, practices, and behaviors, often conducting research and teaching.

Can political science predict elections?

It attempts to, using statistical models and historical data, but predictions can be uncertain.

How is data used in political science?

Data is crucial for analyzing voting patterns, policy impacts, and political trends.

What's the difference between political science and political philosophy?

Political science is empirical, focusing on real-world politics, while political philosophy deals with ethical and theoretical aspects of politics.

Why study political science?

To understand and analyze governmental structures, political activities, and the impact of policies on society.

How can sociology be applied in real life?

It helps in understanding social dynamics, improving social policies, and addressing social issues.

Can sociology predict social trends?

It can make educated predictions based on social theories and historical data but with varying degrees of certainty.

How does sociology intersect with other disciplines?

It overlaps with psychology, anthropology, economics, and political science in understanding various aspects of society.

What skills do sociologists need?

Analytical thinking, research capabilities, communication skills, and a deep understanding of social theories and structures.

What are some subfields of political science?

International relations, political theory, comparative politics, and public administration.

How does sociology differ from psychology?

Sociology focuses on groups and societies, while psychology focuses on individual behavior.

What do sociologists study?

They study social phenomena, including family, religion, education, and social stratification.

Is sociology a science?

Yes, it's a social science using empirical research and theoretical analysis to understand social structures.

What are some methods used in sociology?

Surveys, interviews, observations, and analysis of historical and administrative records.

Can political science be objective?

It strives for objectivity, but personal biases and perspectives can influence interpretation.

What are major theories in sociology?

Functionalism, conflict theory, symbolic interactionism, and social constructionism.

What is sociology?

Sociology is the study of society, social relationships, and social institutions.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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