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Big Data: A Real Opportunity for the Social Sciences?
Author/s: Rosaria Conte 
Year:  2016 Issue: 109 Language: Italian 
Pages:  10 Pg. 18-27 FullText PDF:  48 KB
DOI:  10.3280/SR2016-109003
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In recent years, Big Data and Big Data science are frontstage both in prestigious scientific institutions around the world, and in the media. Italy has contributed to the launch of Big Data science in Europe. With more than eight hundred million quotes on Google, Big Data is one of the most cited technoscientific tags. Furthermore, since 2009, when Lazar and colleagues published the famous «Computational Social Science» on Science, Big Data science gave impulse to a new formidable endeavor: the creation of a new quantitative social science through the extensive application of Big Data science to the study of social phenomena. Now, a few years after the launch of the quantitative science of society, it is time for a first evaluation. Did Big Data maintain its promises? Does it still represent an opportunity for a new science of society? The answer provided in this paper is mildly positive. Big Data represents a good opportunity for the innovation of the social sciences on condition that (a) the application of data science to social data is global, rather than local, and oriented to policy, rather than profit-making; (b) the objective of predicting future events does not inhibit the complementary objective of science, i.e. explanatory speculation; and finally (c) quantitative science does not lead to dispense away with the understanding of the cognitive, social, cultural, and political mechanisms that generate social data

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Rosaria Conte, Big Data: A Real Opportunity for the Social Sciences? in "SOCIOLOGIA E RICERCA SOCIALE " 109/2016, pp. 18-27, DOI:10.3280/SR2016-109003


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