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Big Data: methodlogical challenges and approaches for sociological analysis

Big Data: methodlogical challenges and approaches for sociological analysis
Big Data: methodlogical challenges and approaches for sociological analysis
The emergence of Big Data is both promising and challenging for social research. This article 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 article 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.
0038-0385
663-681
Tinati, Ramine
f74a0556-6a04-40c5-8bcf-6f5235dbf687
Halford, Susan
0d0fe4d6-3c4b-4887-84bb-738cf3249d46
Carr, Les
0572b10e-039d-46c6-bf05-57cce71d3936
Pope, Catherine
21ae1290-0838-4245-adcf-6f901a0d4607
Tinati, Ramine
f74a0556-6a04-40c5-8bcf-6f5235dbf687
Halford, Susan
0d0fe4d6-3c4b-4887-84bb-738cf3249d46
Carr, Les
0572b10e-039d-46c6-bf05-57cce71d3936
Pope, Catherine
21ae1290-0838-4245-adcf-6f901a0d4607

Tinati, Ramine, Halford, Susan, Carr, Les and Pope, Catherine (2014) Big Data: methodlogical challenges and approaches for sociological analysis Sociology, 48, (4), pp. 663-681.

Record type: Article

Abstract

The emergence of Big Data is both promising and challenging for social research. This article 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 article 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.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 22 July 2013
e-pub ahead of print date: 18 February 2014
Published date: August 2014
Organisations: Web & Internet Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 358941
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/358941
ISSN: 0038-0385
PURE UUID: 4a5f8ff2-a754-4613-b43c-96eb1b25ab69
ORCID for Les Carr: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2113-9680
ORCID for Catherine Pope: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8935-6702

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 15 Oct 2013 15:42
Last modified: 14 Oct 2017 05:36

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Contributors

Author: Ramine Tinati
Author: Susan Halford
Author: Les Carr ORCID iD
Author: Catherine Pope ORCID iD

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