Relationship between social studies and other subjects

Relationship between social studies and other subjects
Relationship between social studies and other subjects

Relationship between social studies and other subjects



Social studies draws from a range of other disciplinary subjects. Therefore, another important part of defining social studies is considering its relationship with other subject disciplines, and which subjects it draws content from. Where a social studies subject exists, there are two broad approaches for including content from subject disciplines within it (Brant et al., 2016; Hughes et al., 2020): An interdisciplinary approach—considering the subject disciplines to be related but distinct; this may be done by including them as strands within the social studies curriculum with connections drawn between them. An integrated or unified approach—focusing on the skills and types of thinking that are common across the disciplines included within the social studies curriculum.

  • Relationship with social science and humanities

Another challenge is the lack of clarity about the relationship between social studies, social science, and the humanities. In some cases, social studies is seen as a subject within the overarching learning area of humanities. For example, in the new Curriculum for Wales, humanities is an “Area of Learning and Experience” and social studies is a discipline within this, alongside geography; history; religion, values and ethics; and business studies (Hughes et al., 2020, p.276). In other contexts, social studies is a subject which draws from both the social sciences and the humanities (National Council for the Social Studies [NCSS], 2010).

  • Relationship with science

Sometimes, social studies type subjects are grouped into an overarching area with sciences. For example, in the primary curriculum for Ireland, there is an overarching curriculum area of “Social, Environmental and Scientific Education” which has science, geography and history subjects within this (National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, 1999). In other cases, social studies and science content is combined into a single subject, particularly for lower stages of education, for example Japan has a “Life Environmental Studies” subject which combines social studies and science content in grades 1 and 2 (Shimura, 2015, p.152).

  • Relationship with civics/citizenship

Civics or citizenship education (amongst other names) often forms a key part of social studies curricula. Citizenship can be used for the purpose of social studies curricula; as a subject discipline that feeds into social studies; or

as a standalone subject which exists instead of, or as well as social studies. For example, Singapore has both a social studies subject and a citizenship subject (Brant et al., 2016).

Relationship between social studies and other subjects

The difference between Social Science and Social studies 

  1. The main difference between social science and social studies is in their intended purposes. The social sciences are branches of study that analyze society and the social interactions of people within a society. Subjects that fall under the umbrella of social sciences are: anthropology, history, economics, geography, and many others that explore societal relations.  Social studies is the systematic study of an integrated body of content drawn from the social sciences and the humanities. It enables students to develop their knowledge and understandings of the diverse and dynamic nature of society and of how interactions occur among cultures, societies, and environments. 
  2. Social science is more streams oriented. It’s the science of the society; the in depth knowledge and systematic study of each branch of social transaction. It is empirical and based on various scientific methods of deduction to arrive at a conclusion based on facts.  Social studies is the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote effective citizenry. Social studies are subjects most frequently taught to school students to help them understand how to be effective citizens of society. 

  1. Social Science, as the name implies, deals with the science of society utilizing the gathering of data and analysis of that data. Whereas Social Studies normally deals with the observation of Society. Here students develop and apply skills as they investigate society, explore issues, make decisions, and work cooperatively with others. 

  1. Social sciences are taught under higher studies curriculum whereas, social studies are subjects most frequently taught to school based students to help them understand how to be effective citizens of society. 

  1. The core difference between social science and social studies exist in their purpose; in social science, you study the society and social life of human groups while in social studies, you study both social science and humanities in order to promote effective citizenry. 

  1. Social Studies is the study of all phases of societies whereas Social Science is the inference of those studies with the intention of solving problems within a society, which may lead to the ultimate development of the society as a whole. 

  1. Social science is the field of sciences concerned with the studies of the social life of human groups and individuals. Social studies is a term used to describe the broad study of various fields which involves past and current human behavior and interactions 

  1. Another difference is that Social science is divided into many branches while social studies is divided into two main categories of humanities and social sciences. 

  1. Social science dates back to the 18th century while social studies is a relatively new term. 


In conclusion, while history, geography and civics are very commonly included and central in social studies curricula this literature review found reference to social studies as encompassing content from a wider variety of subjects and topics.

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Peter Hezekiah Lawson (Sir Pee). The CEO of A reputable researcher, Web Developer, ICT Instructor and a publisher of many research works in Education.