Big data: methodological challenges and approaches for sociological analysis

Tinati, Ramine, Halford, Susan, Carr, Leslie and Pope, Catherine (2014) Big data: methodological challenges and approaches for sociological analysis British Journal of Sociology, 48, (4), pp. 663-681. (doi:10.1177/0038038513511561).


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The emergence of big data is both promising and challenging for social research. This paper suggests that realising this promise has been restricted by the methods applied in social science research, which undermine our potential to apprehend the qualities that make big data so appealing, not least in relation to the sociology of networks and flows. With specific reference to the micro-blogging website Twitter, the paper outlines a set of methodological principles for approaching these data that stand in contrast to previous research; and introduces a new tool for harvesting and analysing Twitter built on these principles. We work our argument through an analysis of Twitter data linked to political protest over UK University fees. Our approach transcends earlier methodological limitations to offer original insights into the flow of information and the actors and networks that emerge in this flow

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1177/0038038513511561
ISSNs: 0007-1315 (print)
Related URLs:
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Organisations: Web & Internet Science
ePrint ID: 358941
Date :
Date Event
14 August 2014Published
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2013 15:42
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2017 14:46
Further Information:Google Scholar

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