Wait, Do I Have to Be a Stats Expert to Work on Social Sciences?


The people who pursue advanced degrees in the Social Sciences are often champions of humanity, people who desire to make the world a better place, and for whom questions about the functioning and well-being of human beings and their environment are of utmost importance.

An unpleasant detail of the chosen career trajectory is that the investigation of social problems generally requires a functional understanding and capability with statistics. Social sciences statistics help is fundamental for individuals in the areas of Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Business, Marketing, and any other social science that relies on data to make its points and move understanding along.

These students typically lack deep understanding of statistics, and thus are unequipped to deal with the complex statistical problems in research that both can complicate data as well as make their research stronger and more viable.

The reality is that students who have strong math skills often major in disciplines that require advance math, such as engineering, physics, computer science, or other basic sciences. However, although students in social science disciplines don’t need to be statisticians, the statistical problems that they face can be quite complex.

Stats to the Rescue of Data Scientists

Transforming data and adequately conceptualizing all the deep statistical implications of the types of data they have or don’t have, the way data are collected, the various threats to statistical validity that may occur, all may go beyond the scope of practice of the social sciences student.

For the social sciences student, the problems they are attempting to address often take foremost importance in their minds; it is not so much how they will address the problem as it is whether or not they address the problem and which problem is chosen that are important. For these reasons, social sciences statistics help is important for the a large percentage of students in the social sciences.

Accordingly, even advanced social science researchers often have their own statistical analysts in their departments. A department of epidemiology, for example, will be full of epidemiologists as well as employing a few pure statisticians. It is an issue of expertise. Social scientists deeply understand their discipline, which has to do with people, social interaction, health, and the like.

Statisticians, on the other hand, also deeply understand their discipline, which involves the “health” of the data and numbers. Essentially, social sciences are pure disciplines that involve interdisciplinary skills. For an individual to become an expert at one discipline naturally requires the absence of expertise in other disciplines. Thus, social sciences statistics help is essential to the data validity of projects and ensuring that the projects don’t get refuted when submitted to major journals.

It is a way of ensuring the quality of the research and the accuracy of the conclusions. No on wants to advance science in an erroneous way, and for data to be interpreted accurately, the best thing is to employ help of an expert in that area.

Statisticians also often need the work of social scientists to make their work relevant. Therefore, the pairing of these two approaches to research is a very symbiotic partnership.

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