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Social Science vs. Social Studies: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on January 14, 2024
Social science is the academic study of society and human behavior, while social studies is an educational discipline integrating various social sciences.

Key Differences

Social science is a scholarly field that encompasses disciplines like psychology, economics, and sociology. Social studies, typically taught in schools, integrates these disciplines to provide a broad understanding of society.
Social science focuses on methodical and theoretical approaches to understanding human behavior and societal structures. In contrast, social studies is designed to educate students about the world around them, using insights from various social sciences.
Researchers in social science often conduct detailed studies and experiments. Social studies, however, combines history, geography, political science, and more, to offer a comprehensive view of the human experience.
Social science contributes to academic and policy-oriented insights regarding societal issues. Social studies, as an educational subject, prepares students to engage with society in informed and responsible ways.
Social science is broader in scope, aiming for universal insights into human behavior. Social studies, on the other hand, often focuses more on national or regional history and societal structures.

Comparison Chart


Studies human society and behavior in a scientific manner.
Educates on various aspects of society and history.


Employs rigorous research methods for theoretical understanding.
Integrates different social science disciplines for a broader perspective.

Disciplines Included

Includes psychology, sociology, economics, etc.
Combines history, geography, political science, etc.

Educational Application

More prevalent in higher education and research.
Primarily taught in primary and secondary schools.


Seeks to understand and explain societal phenomena.
Aims to educate about the world and prepare for civic responsibility.

Social Science and Social Studies Definitions

Social Science

Social science covers disciplines like sociology, psychology, and economics.
Economics, as a social science, analyzes market behaviors.

Social Studies

Social studies is geared towards primary and secondary education.
Social studies projects in school often involve creating historical timelines.

Social Science

Social science aims to explain and predict human interactions.
Social science theories help understand societal changes.

Social Studies

Social studies integrates various social sciences for a comprehensive view.
Social studies helps students understand current events in a societal context.

Social Science

Social science involves systematic research to understand social phenomena.
Social science research is crucial for policy-making.

Social Studies

Social studies aim to foster informed and responsible citizens.
Through social studies, students learn the importance of voting.

Social Science

Social science is the study of societies and human behavior.
Anthropology, a branch of social science, explores cultural diversity.

Social Studies

Social studies is an educational field combining geography, history, and more.
Social studies classes often include lessons on global cultures.

Social Science

Social science uses both qualitative and quantitative methods.
Qualitative interviews in social science provide deep insights into human experiences.

Social Studies

Social studies educate students about their role in society.
Social studies curriculum includes learning about government and citizenship.


What is the main focus of social science?

Social science focuses on analyzing and understanding human society and behavior.

How does social science contribute to society?

Social science contributes through research that informs policies and societal understanding.

What is social studies?

Social studies is an educational discipline that integrates various aspects of social sciences.

What topics are covered in social studies?

Social studies cover history, geography, political science, and more.

Can social science theories predict human behavior?

Yes, many social science theories aim to predict and explain human behavior.

Why is social studies important in education?

Social studies educate students about their society and prepare them for civic engagement.

Is social science more theoretical than social studies?

Yes, social science is more focused on theory, while social studies emphasize practical understanding.

How do social studies differ in various educational levels?

Social studies content and complexity vary according to students' grade levels.

What subjects are included in social science?

Subjects like sociology, psychology, and economics are part of social science.

Are social science studies qualitative or quantitative?

Social science employs both qualitative and quantitative research methods.

Can social studies influence students' perspectives on society?

Absolutely, social studies play a crucial role in shaping students' views on societal issues.

How does social science affect policy-making?

Social science research provides insights and data crucial for informed policy-making.

Does social studies focus on current events?

Yes, social studies often include analysis of current events and their historical context.

Do social science and social studies overlap?

Yes, social studies often draw on concepts and theories from social science.

Are social science researchers involved in teaching social studies?

Some social science researchers may teach or develop social studies curricula.

Can social studies classes help in developing civic responsibilities?

Yes, social studies classes often focus on civic education and responsibilities.

Do social science and social studies use similar teaching methods?

While there are overlaps, social science often employs more specialized and advanced methods.

Are field trips a part of social studies education?

Yes, field trips can be an integral part of social studies, offering real-world learning experiences.

How do social studies help in understanding cultural diversity?

Social studies provide knowledge about different cultures, promoting understanding and tolerance.

What skills do social science methodologies develop?

Social science methodologies develop critical thinking, analytical, and research skills.
About Author
Written 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.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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