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It is important to know

Social scientists help us imagine alternative futures.

Social science can open updebate and give us a say in shaping our collective future. The social sciencesdeveloped as a field of study during the nineteenth century. Social science helpedpeople understand the consequences and application of the new technologies of theage, such as steam power. The growth of railways and factories not only transformedthe economy and the world of work, but also changed forever the way peopleorganised their family lives and leisure. Today nanotechnology and advances inmedical research will have a significant impact on the way we live. They present uswith a bewildering range of ethical, legal and social issues. But it isnt enough to relyon the scientists. We also need social scientists to analyse and critique whats goingon. That way we will make informed choices that shape the future.

Social science can help us make sense of our finances. S ocial science is not justimportant for the future but for whats happening now. We all resent paying towithdraw our money from cash machines.Charges can amount to £120 per year. S ocial scientists working on behalf of the Runnymede Trust found that this doesnt just this depend on where we live, but thatblack and minority ethnic people aremore likely to live in areas where theyre forced to pay. This put pressure on banksto ensure we all have access to machines that dont charge.A range of socialscientists  not just economists but also psychologists, sociologists and politicalscientists, for example - can help us understand the economic crisis and weigh updecisions we make for ourselves and those which governments make on our behalf.Without this kind of analysis we may feel like pawns in a global game of chess. Withthe knowledge and understanding that social science offers us, we will feelempowered to act for ourselves, and to influence decisions being made on ourbehalf.

Social scientists contribute to our health and well-being. From sports sociologists topublic health experts, from those interpreting medical statistics to those evaluatingpolicies for our care in old age, social scientists are working hard to make sure thatour health, leisure and social care services work to best effect. Social geographers atthe University of Sheffield, for example, have shown that those of us who dontfollow eating advice are not simply weak-willed or ignorant. Our eating habits areinfluenced by a whole range of circumstances. Some apparently unhealthy choicesmay seem rational: if the person doing the shopping knows that others will simply noteat the healthy option and it will just go to waste, they may simply not buy it. So itsno good just giving people a booklet on healthy eating. Effective nutritional adviceneeds to be tailored to peoples everyday lives and contexts.

Social science might save your life. Psychologists at the University of Liverpool spenttime in a steel factory to work out what needs doing to create a safer environment.Accidents at work happen even in the best regulated companies that provide staff training and take all necessary precautions. A top-down imposed safety regime simplydoesnt work. Its when people see unsafe work practices as unacceptable and takedecisions as teams that workplaces become safer. Employers need to see people asindividuals who take their lead from those with whom they identify. These principleshave also been shown to work in crowd control. When those responsible for crowdmanagement at football matches are trained in techniques which take this intoaccount, theres virtually no trouble.


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MORE THAN 20 YEARS IN THE MARKET OF marketing and sociological research. Full cycle sociologically oriented marketing research, including the development and preparation of questionnaires, field data input / cleaning, crosstabs, charts, preparation of analytical reports, consultations.

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