There is a lot to say for the scientific method, but in the social sciences it is often little more than a magical trick: the ritualistic application of statistics to poor data measured by imaginary instruments.
Author unknown, found on a sheet of paper in my files, in quotation marks so apparently not my words. There's no mystery about why I copied it, though. I've believed for a long time that the "social sciences" are at best only half-scientific. The hardheaded scientific part is statistics--the statistical methods, I mean, not necessarily any particular instance of their use. As we all know, statistical results are no better than the data which is their raw material. And even valid statistics can easily be manipulated to make them say what someone wants them to say, a practice we can see in action any day.
The real value (where there is real value) is interpretation and evaluation of the facts, which means general intelligence, logic, common sense, insight, intuition, wisdom, imagination--in a word, the subjective. That's not a criticism of the project, but of its claim to being "science." Its worth is very dependent on the gifts of the practitioner. I'm an enthusiastic fan of Philip Rieff, who considered himself a sociologist,
These days there is, apart from those more or less intrinsic limitations, a great deal of social science that is obvious political and ideological advocacy which claims authority by the fact that it comes from someone with a Ph.D. I don't think this is working very well anymore, with no lack of Ph.D.s proclaiming that the emperor's clothes are a miracle of craft and style.