8. Social media analytics: TAGS, tweets & newts

Following last week’s overview this post provides a bit more detail on the doing of social media analysis. This course ran for three weeks, each week focusing on a different aspect and using a different tool: understanding & gathering (TAGS), analysing (Tableau), and visualising with social network analysis(Gephi). As stated, the course does work for […]

7. A first attempt at social media analytics

My first, uninformed answer to the question what is big data? was ‘stuff off social media’. In particular, social media familiar to me and that is accessible – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. Much of the content on Facebook or Instagram is shared ‘privately’ between users that are connected to each other in a closed network. Twitter, being a […]

6. Less reading, more doing: skills for data analysis

When I was ready to start doing more with data, I went looking for courses that would help me achieve three things: Test and refresh my understanding of basic statistical concepts when analysing or interpreting dataIntroduce me to the skills and tools I would need to work with big data, including the role for codingExperience […]

5. What about administrative data?

Along with these new types of data big data I started to wonder about sources of what I used to think of as big data – national surveys and longitudinal studies and administrative data collected by Government. What Will Parry refers to as big(ish) data (in this handy post on relatively simple approaches for reducing […]

4. Examples of big data in social research

Despite the challenges, there are many interesting examples where social research communities in the UK are engaging with big data. The social research institute NatCen leads a network for people using or seeking to use social media in social science research. Researchers contribute to a blog about methods and practice, with some very practical insights. […]

3. Challenges & opportunities with big data

The American Evaluation Association 2015 Conference salon on big data and evaluation sent a clear message that big data is an addition to the tool box, leading to evolution in evaluation, rather than revolution against traditional methods and approaches to scientific inquiry (more detail here). Pages 4-12 of this report, from Aspen Institute’s roundtable on […]

2. What is Big Data?

There is no single definition of big data, which has only become a commonly used term since about 2011. More formal definitions tend to include a combination of ‘V’s plus a need for specialist software to process these very large and complex datasets (rather than, for example, Microsoft Access or Excel). volume (entries that take […]

1. Big data and social research

What is big data? What does it mean for the work I do? What is the role for big data in evaluation? What skills or and experience do I need to develop? As you can probably tell from the questions, I am not a programmer, statistician or data scientist. I have quite a bit of experience analysing data […]