Don’t fear Big Data

I really enjoyed this RTI blog post about embracing big data:

https://blogs.rti.org/surveypost/2012/03/22/why-you-should-not-fear-but-embrace-the-age-of-big-data/

I suspect that oftentimes fear of big data is motivated by a concern that new, less tested, still evolving methods will replace the time tested methods that we have grown to have so much faith in. I sincerely believe that the foundation that we have is a strong one, and the knowledge we have developed through those processes should be embraced, especially the quality controls. But SUPPLEMENTING an analysis through a measured combination of data sources can lead to a more complete picture.

This week I spent some time analyzing Pew’s report on the Kony 2012 video. I believe that this report is an excellent example of what researchers are capable of when they look outside the artificial divisions of research group (this was a collaborative effort) and research methodology. Seven days after the release of the video, Pew was able to reconstruct a comprehensive narrative of the video’s dissemination, using traditional survey methods, sentiment analytic snapshots over time, and a careful breakdown of the media coverage of influential parties.

 

Dana Boyd also has an interesting analysis of the Kony phenomena on her Apophenia blog:

http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/

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