Academic journal article Journal of Politics and Law

Social Matter and Research in Nigeria: Why Theories Often Falter in Predicting Local Data

Academic journal article Journal of Politics and Law

Social Matter and Research in Nigeria: Why Theories Often Falter in Predicting Local Data

Article excerpt


The study examines the relevance of genuine social data in the verification of social theories under the scientific study of social matter. It is premised in social research methodology drawing instances from varied social science matter as they are presently disposed in Nigeria. It adopts a historical research methodology to carefully analyze the performance of some selected social theories namely: the relative-deprivation, frustration-aggression, religious-fundamentalism and ethnic theories using local experiences and data for evaluating them. The study observes that these theories have performed poorly due to the nature of local social research data applied in verifying them. The study believes that these data have become biased due inter alia to the low level of confidence in their sourcing individuals or institution and the fact that some of these data have been poorly extracted initially. It recommends among other things, a growing of the confidence in the nation's research efforts and institutions and a patronage of local researches through not only provision of funding support for research and scholarship but also in the implementation of existing social research outcomes and recommendations. These the study believes would promote the furtherance and use of more genuine data in social researches in Nigeria.

Keywords: Nigerian Social Research, Philosophy of Social Science, Research Data, Social Research Methods, Social Theories

1. Introduction and Problem Statement

Prediction is probably the most important of the major hallmarks of any traditional or modern science. The ease with which a process can prognosticate on the future behavior of a social variable defines much more the mark of science in such a social process than the other notable qualities of science. Some of the other qualities are: that "science" is objective (having a known beginning and endpoint); logical, that is, following a natural line or sequence of reasoning (Smart, 1931); systematic, that is, having an organized integrated body and procedure; replicable, that is, capable of being repeated with exact outcomes; and inter-subjective - capable of simultaneous confirmation by several authorities. Scheff et al, (2006) believes that inter-subjectivity involves agreement-sharing between two subjective personalities. Although the quality of an art work may well be evaluated through a process of inter-subjectivity (Soddu, 2010) which might ultimately bring some argument of "science" into Fine Arts, all science however is inter-subjective in character and must be capable of dual or multiple verification by distinct personalities.

However, social matter, unlike other natural phenomena, is the most fluid to predict given a specimen sample data. Yet human behavior, the primary object of social research, remains a common and recurring subject matter in everyday life. The uniqueness of human behavior as an object of scientific investigation is cemented inter alia on the fact that its fluidity is typified by its environment - whereby social assumptions, laws or hypotheses become valid only in particular cultural settings and may not fit into other social prisms (cultures) in the same way as in their originating social milieu. Hence social laws, if any, are ethnocentric (that is, geographically relevant) and do not provide strong force of their universal acceptance as in the natural science. Therefore, in the philosophy of the social sciences, there may be no universal laws applicable in the entire discipline of the social sciences, rather there are ceteris paribus laws otherwise referred to as "non-universal laws". Notwithstanding the attempt by Reutlinger, (2011) to justify the "validity" and "relevance" of social laws, it is evident that these laws (that is, social science laws) cannot fit into every social milieu and their applications and or effectiveness can only be defined within the context of the given society. Consider for instance, the use of comparative samples of social data on marital infidelity as predictor of divorce rate among married couples. …

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