How do natural and social scientists communicate?

22.06.2017 - 23.06.2017

According to their respective self-representations, natural and social sciences are incommensurable. This is problematic, as this understanding of the disciplines often derives from a severe lack of knowledge – and thereof resulting stereotypes – about the respective other discipline and its fundamental methods and methodologies.

Today’s problems, in particular the so-called global grand challenges, among them climate change, hunger, poverty, diseases (United Nations 2015) make it increasingly obvious that the traditional differentiation and division of labor between natural and social sciences must not be maintained. Many of today’s problems result from complex interplays between social and natural phenomena whilst any solution to these grand challenges will require knowledge from both, natural and social sciences.

Within the seminar, PhD candidates from natural and social sciences are given the opportunity to engage in an exchange about the fundamental commonalities and differences between the two disciplines. Based on introductory input talks by the two lecturers and a selection of short papers, participants will develop basic understanding of the perception of reality and methodology of the quantitative natural science and the qualitative social science paradigm.

On the first day, participants will discuss differences and potentials of interdisciplinary engagements between natural and social science.

On the second day, Benjamin Stephan (SICSS PhD Alumnus) and Christoph Koch will join the discussion of potentials and frequently arising problems when communication research results to the public and non-academic actors. Meeting these experts will give participants an opportunity to discuss the requirements, difficulties, and options of scientific communication with ‘the public’.