Complementary Social Science? Quali-Quantitative Experiments in a Big Data World

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Standard

Complementary Social Science? Quali-Quantitative Experiments in a Big Data World. / Blok, Anders; Pedersen, Morten Axel.

In: Big Data & Society, Vol. 1, No. 2, 2014, p. 1-6.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Harvard

Blok, A & Pedersen, MA 2014, 'Complementary Social Science? Quali-Quantitative Experiments in a Big Data World', Big Data & Society, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1177/2053951714543908

APA

Blok, A., & Pedersen, M. A. (2014). Complementary Social Science? Quali-Quantitative Experiments in a Big Data World. Big Data & Society, 1(2), 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1177/2053951714543908

Vancouver

Blok A, Pedersen MA. Complementary Social Science? Quali-Quantitative Experiments in a Big Data World. Big Data & Society. 2014;1(2):1-6. https://doi.org/10.1177/2053951714543908

Author

Blok, Anders ; Pedersen, Morten Axel. / Complementary Social Science? Quali-Quantitative Experiments in a Big Data World. In: Big Data & Society. 2014 ; Vol. 1, No. 2. pp. 1-6.

Bibtex

@article{4e15e92c5d3c4560a1fa98b656dd9dfd,
title = "Complementary Social Science?: Quali-Quantitative Experiments in a Big Data World",
abstract = "The rise of Big Data in the social realm poses significant questions at the intersection of science, technology, and society, including in terms of how new large-scale social databases are currently changing the methods, epistemologies, and politics of social science. In this commentary, we address such epochal (“large-scale”) questions by way of a (situated) experiment: at the Danish Technical University in Copenhagen, an interdisciplinary group of computer scientists, physicists, economists, sociologists, and anthropologists (including the authors) is setting up a large-scale data infrastructure, meant to continually record the digital traces of social relations among an entire freshman class of students (N > 1000). At the same time, fieldwork is carried out on friendship (and other) relations amongst the same group of students. On this basis, the question we pose is the following: what kind of knowledge is obtained on this social micro-cosmos via the Big (computational, quantitative) and Small (embodied, qualitative) Data, respectively? How do the two relate? Invoking Bohr’s principle of complementarity as analogy, we hypothesize that social relations, as objects of knowledge, depend crucially on the type of measurement device deployed. At the same time, however, we also expect new interferences and polyphonies to arise at the intersection of Big and Small Data, provided that these are, so to speak, mixed with care. These questions, we stress, are important not only for the future of social science methods but also for the type of societal (self-)knowledge that may be expected from new large-scale social databases.",
keywords = "Faculty of Social Sciences, Principle of complementarity , method devices , quali-quantitative methods , social science experiments , computational social science , Big Data critique",
author = "Anders Blok and Pedersen, {Morten Axel}",
year = "2014",
doi = "10.1177/2053951714543908",
language = "English",
volume = "1",
pages = "1--6",
journal = "Big Data & Society",
issn = "2053-9517",
publisher = "SAGE Publications",
number = "2",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Complementary Social Science?

T2 - Quali-Quantitative Experiments in a Big Data World

AU - Blok, Anders

AU - Pedersen, Morten Axel

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - The rise of Big Data in the social realm poses significant questions at the intersection of science, technology, and society, including in terms of how new large-scale social databases are currently changing the methods, epistemologies, and politics of social science. In this commentary, we address such epochal (“large-scale”) questions by way of a (situated) experiment: at the Danish Technical University in Copenhagen, an interdisciplinary group of computer scientists, physicists, economists, sociologists, and anthropologists (including the authors) is setting up a large-scale data infrastructure, meant to continually record the digital traces of social relations among an entire freshman class of students (N > 1000). At the same time, fieldwork is carried out on friendship (and other) relations amongst the same group of students. On this basis, the question we pose is the following: what kind of knowledge is obtained on this social micro-cosmos via the Big (computational, quantitative) and Small (embodied, qualitative) Data, respectively? How do the two relate? Invoking Bohr’s principle of complementarity as analogy, we hypothesize that social relations, as objects of knowledge, depend crucially on the type of measurement device deployed. At the same time, however, we also expect new interferences and polyphonies to arise at the intersection of Big and Small Data, provided that these are, so to speak, mixed with care. These questions, we stress, are important not only for the future of social science methods but also for the type of societal (self-)knowledge that may be expected from new large-scale social databases.

AB - The rise of Big Data in the social realm poses significant questions at the intersection of science, technology, and society, including in terms of how new large-scale social databases are currently changing the methods, epistemologies, and politics of social science. In this commentary, we address such epochal (“large-scale”) questions by way of a (situated) experiment: at the Danish Technical University in Copenhagen, an interdisciplinary group of computer scientists, physicists, economists, sociologists, and anthropologists (including the authors) is setting up a large-scale data infrastructure, meant to continually record the digital traces of social relations among an entire freshman class of students (N > 1000). At the same time, fieldwork is carried out on friendship (and other) relations amongst the same group of students. On this basis, the question we pose is the following: what kind of knowledge is obtained on this social micro-cosmos via the Big (computational, quantitative) and Small (embodied, qualitative) Data, respectively? How do the two relate? Invoking Bohr’s principle of complementarity as analogy, we hypothesize that social relations, as objects of knowledge, depend crucially on the type of measurement device deployed. At the same time, however, we also expect new interferences and polyphonies to arise at the intersection of Big and Small Data, provided that these are, so to speak, mixed with care. These questions, we stress, are important not only for the future of social science methods but also for the type of societal (self-)knowledge that may be expected from new large-scale social databases.

KW - Faculty of Social Sciences

KW - Principle of complementarity

KW - method devices

KW - quali-quantitative methods

KW - social science experiments

KW - computational social science

KW - Big Data critique

U2 - 10.1177/2053951714543908

DO - 10.1177/2053951714543908

M3 - Journal article

VL - 1

SP - 1

EP - 6

JO - Big Data & Society

JF - Big Data & Society

SN - 2053-9517

IS - 2

ER -

ID: 117673197