Sharing social science methodologies Promoting transfer of knowledge in social science disciplines Using social science Practicing social science Increasing effectiveness of social science Developing social sciences
Social science includes methodological approaches that can be applied to any science, for example, most branches of logic and the experimental method, but characteristically of human or soft sciences it raises issues of emphasis between quantitative versus qualitative, and specialization versus generalization ([ie] systems, holistic, comparative or interdisciplinary approaches, etc). Social science methodology also involves critical epistemological and ontological issues in arguing for or against the realities of the individual or the collectivity as agents or causal factors in societal phenomena.
UNESCO cooperates with academic institutions and research networks, especially those in developing countries, in order to promote regional and international research projects. Particular attention is paid to innovative methodological and conceptual approaches with a view to furthering development of disciplines such as history and geography and encouraging interdisciplinary research on contemporary conditions, the process of change in the developing countries, environmental issues and recent developments in communications.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.