The title of this article has been co-opted from the title of the book, "Making Social Science Matter : Why Social Inquiry Fails and How it Can Succeed Again" by Bent Flyvbjerg.
The question the book poses is if social science is even worthwhile as an area for scholarship given social science's inability to come up with unerring, emperically testable models unlike the "natural" sciences. Social science doesn't start from a bedrock of seemingly objective, unshakeable axioms but from far more contested ideas like morality. So while science has gone on and built on shared work, social science has gone on tangentially into myriad directions struggling to grapple with the nihilistic dimensions of moral relativism. One "rationale" standpoint might to be substitute that basis with utilitarianism but there is no clear path to the super-productive utopia. For example, ostensibly utilitarian economic models like communism have failed. Furthermore utilitarianism is a virtue of a system and not particularly useful for an individual. That may not be true if we define utilitarianism as a "virtuous" system with individuals at the center of its attention. Probably a larger problem maybe how to determine if we are acheving that public good especially when logic is not particularly "logical" (rationale) as in how do we test that we have moved forward when rhetoric trumps all(*for example, a survey conducted a few years ago reported that 96% of all Americans think they belong to middle class)
Ok, I stray too much to come up with a cohesive argument. Back to analysing why indeed social science is redeemable? Social science has long followed the natural science model of inquiry which is in some ways a very strong model to follow excepting that it leaves key ontological questions unanwered. I believe that there are blind spots in using science that social science can overcome especially because it more readily accepts the irrational decisions, effect of systemic changes and outcomes that exist in the world. Furthermore, there is a certain inevtiability built right into Science which Social Science doesn't suffer from so social science can often offer critiques about where science is headed and should be. But that makes one envision social science as a door-keeper science and thats a particularly unhappy spot to be in especially with the surrounding euphoria about natural science. In fact I think the opposite. Social science has often paved ways that science has followed like the development of behvioral economics or cognitive science and even biology behind philosophy. But then the opposite is true too as we increasingly see tele-pundits using statistics to give a gild edge to their prejudices.