Why social science?

The U.S. federal government’s modest annual investment in social and behavioral science research yields significant benefits for the American people. New findings continue to increase the efficiency of our industries, improve the quality of K-12 education, help us understand crime patterns and evaluate prevention strategies, help manage our natural resources, keep our troops safe, help us to be informed as consumers, and even allow paralyzed individuals to communicate.

Among the countless innovations enabled by federal support for basic social science research are GPS, spectrum auctions, life-saving kidney exchanges, and warning systems to protect lives and property from extreme weather events. 

Knowledge derived from social and behavioral science research has made our population healthier, our democracy fairer, our nation safer, and our economy stronger. But more still needs to be done.


What is social and behavioral science?

Social and behavioral science encompasses a collection of STEM disciplines engaged in the rigorous study of why and how humans behave as they do as individuals, groups and within institutions, organizations, and society. It often refers to the disciplines of and fields within anthropology, communication, demography, economics, geography, history, law, linguistics, political science, psychology, sociology, and statistics, as well as countless multidisciplinary subfields.


Why Social Science? is a project of the Consortium of Social Science Associations, a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization based in Washington, DC. Our goal is to share the benefits and contributions of federally-funded social and behavioral science research with the public and encourage its widespread use for tackling challenges of national importance.

To learn more about COSSA visit www.cossa.org.