Social scientists studies have traditionally focused on the past and on early cultures. Studying past civilizations is still an important aspect of this industry, but the focus has shifted and expanded to include business, governments, the environment, and other aspects of contemporary society. Social scientists study and analyze current societies and look for solutions to social, business, personal, governmental, and environmental problems. Early religious cultures, the development of religious belief, and its impact on society remain a major area of study for some social scientists. They also conduct disaster research, to gain a better understanding of the impact of disasters on people by age and socioeconomic status, in an effort to prevent or reduce suffering in future disasters. Among the types of disasters social scientists study are hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, terrorist attacks, and most recently the coronavirus pandemic, among numerous other types of disasters.
Research is the foundation for all social sciences, therefore, social scientists spend much of their time doing research, interviewing, surveying, analyzing historical records, conducting laboratory experiments with human or animal subjects, giving tests and questionnaires, and preparing maps and computer data. Some research occurs in laboratories, where scientists determine the age of artifacts or conduct social and behavioral experiments on human and animal subjects. Research also includes reading historical documents and other printed material, conducting personal interviews, taking surveys, and gleaning information from computer databases. The research and studies completed by social scientists help identify societal problems and find solutions.
A variety of disciplines and careers concerned with society, its development, history, institutions, and ideas fall into the category of the social sciences industry. The various disciplines in social sciences often overlap, but there ...