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September 18 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Title: Quantitative Ethnography: Epistemological and Methodological Opportunities and Challenges of Big Data in the Social Sciences
Presenter: David Williamson Shaffer
Abstract: In the age of Big Data, we have more information than ever about what people are doing and how they are thinking. However, the sheer volume of data available can overwhelm traditional qualitative and quantitative research methods, leading to research that finds significance without meaning. This talk will look at the epistemological and methodological challenges and opportunities big data presents for social science research, including a discussion of the new field of quantitative ethnography, which connects the study of culture with statistical tools to go beyond looking for patterns in mountains of data to tell textured stories at scale.