Academicians’ Outlook: Challenges of being a Social Scientist

A recent research article stated students with an eye on their job prospects should take social science degrees. The article also quoted “as per the HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) statistics 84.2 per cent of social science graduates were employed three years after graduating, compared with 79 per cent of arts and 78 per cent of graduates with science degrees.” The impact of social sciences on climate change, global health, sustainable urban development and agriculture has made a good many leaders of society to turn, increasingly expectant, to the social sciences. Social scientists across the globe are growing in number and innovating to ensure their research is relevant. Despite all of these advancements, the magnitude of major problems in social science sector exceeds the capacity of social scientists to solve them.

Majority of the Indian academicians feels lack of adequate training in innovative research methodologies keep the researchers clinched to survey methods.  “The social scientists have a privilege of using research data collected from statistical datasets, interview transcripts, video or audio recordings and other formats. Unfortunately adequate training on scientific mechanisms to analyze such data is a common challenge in India,” said a guest lecturer in a state University, located in Coimbatore.

Lack of resources, the scarcity of funding to conduct researches, proper implementation of recent data analysis tools, absence of healthy discussion platforms which is the fundamental obligations of any intellectual community, insufficiency of time due to excessive teaching hours and other administrative works, absence of ongoing skill enhancement programs for research supervisors and lack of international exposure are the major challenges highlighted by the academic fraternity in India.

Prof. Remya B who works in a reputed college in Bengaluru opined, “Lack of follow up is a constant challenge to social science research. The researcher himself or herself should follow up their researcher on an interval. There are several researches that are published in India; those studies should be followed up by the government, community and other researchers.” It is true that social science researches are inquisitive in nature that primarily focus on understanding the phenomenon unlike a scientific research which focus on action.  The action in social science researches is possible only through follow up and implementation of suggestions and recommendations.

Social and primary care, governance, policy formation, the justice system, and business are extremely important, and necessary. At present the “social sciences” beckoned by the social workers and teachers. Independent research firms should be nurtured along with independent researchers. Empowerment of citizens to understand the necessity of study of society and the relationship among individuals within society might fetch this sector to the privilege of STEM.