Research in Humanities versus Research in Science


Research holds a key to superior perception, demystification of peculiar phenomena and knowledge augmentation. A lot of trends and events are well analyzed, evaluated and expressed through research methods; it’s through research that humanity acquires fresh and unknown information which transforms acuity and behavioral tendencies. Whether in sciences or humanities, research helps to investigate the origins as well as products spawned from human aptitude, ingenuity and communication. Ultimately, the idea behind conducting research is to further the degree of understanding of an occurrence or fact under investigation and garner knowledge in the process. Research lends meaning to the intricacies experienced in daily life by pursuing their cause, their reason, and their inconveniences, after which possible solutions are recommended in order to help human beings cope better with daily challenges.

Similarities, Sciences Research versus Humanities Research

Research in humanities and sciences is ramified into convoluted details spawning forth their similarities and disparities. Foremost, research in sciences and inhumanities are both conducted in a scientific manner even though they apply different methodologies and concepts in their operations. Many authors elaborately explain this, for example Burnhill & Tubby-Hille (1994), Hicks D (2004) and Popovich C.J. (1988) Share the view that research in humanities and sciences is scientific in nature because scientific methods such as experimentation and correlation of facts and variables are carried out. The facts elicited after the whole study is carried out helps to make new discoveries, exploit new unknown laws consequently achieving a positive objective to the society (Hicks.D, 2004)

Both in sciences and humanities researchers are broached by a challenge that they must solve by answering a range of questions through various modes and methodologies of extracting information. In both cases researchers embrace plurality of research methods in order to acquire validated feasible information which can be used to offer a recommendation or an absolute answer to a social problem. There is a close proximity in the way sciences researchers and humanities develop theory from existing information or through experimentation as compared to humanities, in both cases information is extracted after thorough review, analysis and comparison (Broadus, 1991). The theory developed is evaluated and analyzed under standard research methods such as ANOVA standards in order to give the final data credibility so that it can be used as reliable and well-proven information.

Depending on the study phenomena, in both sciences and humanities a large population can be surveyed and also participants can be passively observed by the research in order to deduce information. In both cases it must be noted that the aim of research is to answer the research questions under investigation the data obtained is always based on concrete practical evidence which can be proven. The use of primary research methodologies is also applied to ensure that the information garnered has got solid and believable foundation.

The information collected in both sciences and humanities has got to be checked against backdrop of their sources to ensure that the information collected is not mired with controversies and conflicting views. Moreover, one integral element intrinsically found both in the sciences and humanities is the scientific exposition. The researchers must use scientific methods as they select and define the research study topics. The arguments and facts deduced must be scientific in nature as they have to be practical and easy to prove they cannot be based on assumption or hearsay they should be based on tangible information which has valid sources (Hicks D, 2003). Ultimately, the strength of the methodologies employed in both sciences and humanity researches takes precedence over practical-oriented arguments.

Both sciences and humanities research requires a significant time of planning prior to commencement. This is because the research has to be organized in a chronological order giving the researcher a chance to take each task of the research process at the right pace in order to attain his objective in a timely manner. Planning helps to minimize time wastage and also ebbs away the tendency to unwind midway through the project schedule (Broadus, 1991). It also helps the researcher to come up with the right mechanisms and a contingency plan on how to deal with uncertainties likely to arise during the research activity.

Research conducted in sciences and humanities carries out relative analysis which leads to fact integration drawing out a verified conclusion (Jones & Woods, 2002).

As Colman & Coulthard (1995) puts it, European research in all fields is international, in that the contents and the topics discussed are derived from a global perspective (pg.86). The views and opinions generated from the sciences and humanities have a holistic approach that offers suggestions and recommendations everywhere in the global arena. In both sciences and humanities, research stems from predominant issues pertaining to the global challenges and current issues. Research in these two fields is not stalwartly revolved around a specific discipline; it is a combination of any disciplines relevant to the research issue underway.

In both the science and humanities research, researchers endeavor to have a comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon both in the historical and present context. Hence the background of the research topic is dealt with with intense acuity in order to establish what the prior researchers have been able to establish or unfold on the subject matter (Popovich, 1988). This gives the research being conducted some relevance in that it becomes a continuation of knowledge acquisition a mechanism through which knowledge on previous matters is increased. Enough times thou science research seeks to pursue new phenomena in order to establish how it works and how it affects the society.

The humanities are more likely to delve into commonly known matters only pursuing a certain facet of the matter for instance a research can be conducted to establish ‘why breast milk is good for infants’. Whilst there is glut of information on this topic, the researcher may endeavor to target a particular group, say race or region in relation to this topic so the environment, the subjects and objects of research affect the final outcome of research in humanities.

Differences, Sciences Research versus Humanities Research

Broadus, R.N. (1991) in his book The literature of the social sciences. Points out that “What the humanities research deduces about a phenomenon varies greatly and cannot be of exact measurement as natural science.” (pg.87) this essentially reflects on the variance between research in humanities and sciences. Research in humanities creates a room for the scholars to blend the research with their own opinions, ideas and volition exposing it to fault or denting the original information obtained by the researcher. Sciences only present the original information just exactly as it was obtained from the field of study or the sources conducted. According to Hicks (2004) an extremely important paradigm of scientific researches as compared to humanities it’s the fact that its non-quantificatifiable, irreversible, and nonrepeatable without any individuality interferences. (pg.44)

Through science researches, people gain insight into the various tools and mechanisms that empower them to understand and reconstruct nature (Colman & Coulthard, 1995). In this case then, science-oriented researches can be widely employed in myriad social environments to offer a solution. Humanities deal directly with issues affecting human subsistence and the challenges; it does not try to unfold scientific mysteries. Hence sciences benefit both the scientific world and also the social arena while humanities focus only on humanity and their aspiration to pre-exist in a world of minimal challenges (Broadus, 1991).It must be noted that a scholar or a researcher is a product of the society and in humanities researchers’ views are warped up by his locality and epochal matters (Popovich, 1988). Science research does not bend rules and does not accommodate influences from outside; hence the degree of relativity in humanities research is higher as compared to research in sciences.

Sciences generally use extensive periods of factual experimentation, it is extremely important that all the hypotheses extended in science research become proven. Through scientific experiments, a group must work cohesively to observe and note all the results deduced. Co-relational studies are carried out later to confirm the validity of the data and information obtained through experimentation. As compared to humanities, a lot of information generated in humanity spawns from the summative knowledge of the researcher. This in essence means that the individual has got so much influence on the final results of the research. It does not create a room for comparative studies which are good for giving research work strong emphasis. In that case humanities research becomes less credible in deducing factual information as compared to science research.

In humanities, research is conducted in a comparatively elastic environment where researchers integrate their amassed prior knowledge with the facts and data being obtained during the research progress. The environment in which science researches are conducted is rigid creating no room for flexibility and influence from external factors. The sciences are more focused in nature in that the topic of study analyzes one phenomenon at a time so that the solutions obtained are concrete and reliable. In comparison humanities tend to be multifacetedly tackling a simple task which is later ramified to spring forth subtitles making the whole process long and tedious.

Foremost, there is a notable close knit relationship ornately between research subject and object in researches involving science this fact does not apply in humanity researches which are more concerned with how various phenomenon interact and what the results of that interaction may be. Research in sciences deduces true facts and the law of the objective world, excluding subjective ideas that may disturb the objective studies (Hicks.D, 2004). It’s paramount to note that the objective of research holds great significance to the researchers in the science field as compared to the researches conducted in humanity field. In the humanity the objectivity is mired by external factors like people’s opinions and perceptions on the matter of study. The opinions deduced may lack credibility and yet they play a significant role in the final reports generated from the research.

Humanities are more inclined to conduct investigations on transcultural and supranational challenges which affect the global arena. In other words they are complex in nature and cover a wide range of regions as compared to the scientific researches which are very contravened and only touch on a limited field of study they are more focused on covering a very minimal field of study and this renders them effective increasing their credibility in comparison to researches conducted in humanities. Humanities also pursue complicated filed such as cognitive science, this is the reason why they pool their facts and opinions from a wide scale of sources due to the intricacies of the fields they research on.

In comparison to science research, humanities are subjective. The reason why human researchers are subjective is that they pool their information from myriad sources including the personal opinions and perceptions of the researcher. This loophole creates a room for deception hence the final results are compromised and mired with the wrong ideas which might not necessarily hold the scientific truth that the scholar is seeking. The science researches are objective because they are carried out in a systematic manner and credibility of the source of information is not compromised. The science research does not create a room for the individual opinions to dominate the final reports of the research and this in essence gives the research credibility and becomes reliable for use and for knowledge acquisition.

In science research the researcher tends to manipulate a variable in a controlled condition or environment in order to obtain the final results. The variable under investigation is normally termed as an independent variable which the researcher must check against changing conditions in order to obtain the reactions of the variable. The major reason for manipulating a variable in science researches is to ensure that the researcher deduces the law of the so-called cause and effect relationship (Colman & Coulthard, 1995). This highly controlled procedure helps the researcher to obtain the final credible and reliable results. By establishing some laws on how some variables interact, the science environment creates a room for knowledge expansion and also creates insight into unknown facts. In humanities the research environment is not controlled and neither is it limited, the information collected is not checked against numerous variables hence the degree of reliability becomes extremely diminished.


Research in sciences and humanities compares and contrasts in myriad ways. Foremost, in both fields researchers employ scientific methods involving mathematical calculations and analysis before the final results are attained. Moreover, a wide pool of information sources is consulted before any final results can be deduced in both cases. Another prominently notable similarity in both research fields is the use of standard data analysis and evaluation methods to ensure that the data obtained is evaluated and presented accurately. However, science and humanity researches show some varied distinctions amongst which we have objectivity in scientific research as opposed to subjective humanity research which is exposed to personal opinions and ideas of the researcher. The science researches are more contravened in nature and their environment is limited as compared to the humanity researches, this gives the humanities an edge over the science researches as they have the benefit of a vast environment hence more room for experimentation and knowledge acquisition.

Research is a tool through which the world attains new insights into phenomenon, the researcher has got to choose either science or humanity research depending on the subject of his study and the resources he has at his disposal at the time of the research activity.


Broadus, R.N. (1991). The literature of the social sciences. Journal of International Social Sciences. pp-12-23.

Burnhill, C.K., & Tubby M.E. (1994). The relation between science research activity and humanity research publication. Research evaluation journal 4(1), 113-116.

ColmanN, C.K, & Coulthard, B. (1995). A Rigorous evaluation of the research performance of university departments: leading science journal Publications 30(4), 23-34.

Hicks, D. (2004). Literatures of social science study and humanities. Handbook of quantitative science research (pp. 412-416).

Jones, C., Chams, M., & Woods (2002). The characteristics of the literature used in science research Journal of Librarianship, 3(2), 124-156.

Popovich, C.J. (1988). The characteristics of a collection for research in science and management. College and Research Librarianship journal 2(6).

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