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

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 10, 2024
Sociology is the study of society and social behavior, while social science is a broader field that includes sociology and other disciplines like psychology, economics, and political science.

Key Differences

Sociology is a discipline that focuses specifically on studying society, social relationships, and human behavior as part of a group. Social science, however, encompasses a wider range of academic disciplines, including sociology, but also extending to areas like economics, anthropology, psychology, and political science.
The core of sociology lies in understanding how human behavior and societies are shaped by social structures, relationships, and institutions. Social science, on the other hand, not only covers these sociological aspects but also includes the study of human behavior and societies from various other perspectives, such as economic, political, and psychological.
In sociology, the emphasis is on social dynamics, social structures, group interactions, and social change. In contrast, social science, while incorporating these sociological studies, also explores human behavior and societies through lenses like economic systems, political frameworks, and cultural anthropology.
Sociological research often focuses on topics like social stratification, social movements, and social interactions. Social science, as a broader field, includes these sociological inquiries but also delves into areas like human psychology, economic development, and governance systems in its various sub-disciplines.
Sociology primarily uses qualitative research methods, like interviews and participant observation, to understand social phenomena. Social science, encompassing a broader spectrum, employs a variety of methodologies ranging from qualitative in sociology and anthropology to quantitative in economics and psychology.

Comparison Chart


Study of society, social interactions, and human behavior in groups
Broad study of human behavior and societies, including various academic disciplines

Disciplines Included

Solely focused on sociology
Includes sociology, psychology, economics, anthropology, political science, etc.

Research Topics

Social structures, group dynamics, social change
Diverse topics ranging from economic systems to political structures, including sociological aspects

Research Methods

Primarily qualitative methods like interviews and observations
Both qualitative and quantitative methods, varying across disciplines


Social dynamics and relationships
A comprehensive view of human behavior and societal functions across multiple fields

Sociology and Social Science Definitions


Sociology focuses on group dynamics and social relationships.
Sociology helps us understand the dynamics of family and community life.

Social Science

Social science is the academic study of human society and social relationships.
Social science encompasses disciplines like psychology and sociology.


It examines how societal structures and institutions impact human behavior.
In sociology, the role of education in shaping society is frequently analyzed.

Social Science

Social science investigates social and cultural aspects of human life.
Anthropology, a branch of social science, explores cultural diversity.


Sociology is the study of social behavior, society, and human interactions.
Sociology explores how social norms influence individual behaviors.

Social Science

It employs both qualitative and quantitative research methods.
Social science uses surveys and experiments to study societal trends.


It investigates social issues and changes in society.
Sociologists are researching the impact of social media on communication.

Social Science

It includes various disciplines that analyze aspects of human behavior and interactions.
In social science, economics studies the allocation of resources.


Sociology uses qualitative methods to study social phenomena.
Sociology often employs participant observation to gather data.

Social Science

Social science covers a wide range of topics from politics to economics.
Political science, a part of social science, examines government systems.


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


What is the main focus of sociology?

Understanding society, social interactions, and group behavior.

How does sociology study society?

Through analyzing social structures, relationships, and group dynamics.

What disciplines are included in social science?

Sociology, psychology, economics, political science, anthropology, etc.

Can sociology help in understanding cultural differences?

Yes, it studies how culture impacts social behavior.

What methods are commonly used in sociology?

Qualitative methods like interviews and participant observation.

How broad is the scope of social science?

It covers a wide range of human behavior and societal studies.

What differentiates psychology and sociology in social science?

Psychology focuses on individual behavior, while sociology focuses on group dynamics.

Can social science include natural sciences?

No, it's primarily focused on human behavior and societal aspects.

Can social science influence public policy?

Yes, findings in social science can inform policy decisions.

Does sociology only use qualitative research?

Primarily, but it can also include quantitative methods.

How does sociology contribute to understanding social issues?

By analyzing the societal factors influencing these issues.

Are sociological studies always accurate?

Like any field, sociology aims for accuracy but can be influenced by various factors.

Is economics a part of social science?

Yes, it's a key discipline in social science.

Do all social sciences use the same research methods?

No, methods vary across different social science disciplines.

Can sociology impact business and marketing?

Yes, by understanding consumer behavior and social trends.

How do social sciences interact with each other?

They often overlap and inform each other in understanding complex societal issues.

What topics might a sociologist study?

Social inequality, family dynamics, social change, etc.

Can sociological research change over time?

Yes, as society changes, sociological perspectives and findings can evolve.

How does anthropology differ from sociology in social science?

Anthropology often focuses more on cultural aspects and human evolution.

Is social science important for education?

Yes, it informs educational strategies and understanding of learning behaviors.
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
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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