Rethinking Empirical Social Sciences

Ruppert, Evelyn. 2013. Rethinking Empirical Social Sciences. Dialogues in Human Geography, 3(3), pp. 268-273. ISSN 2043-8206 [Article]

Text (Ruppert 2013)
Ruppert 2013 prepub.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (136kB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

I consider some arguments of social science and humanities researchers about the challenge that Big Data presents for social science methods. What they suggest is that social scientists need to engage with Big Data rather than retreat into internal debates about its meaning and implications. Instead, understanding Big Data requires and provides an opportunity for the interdisiciplinary development of methods that innovatively, critically and reflexively engage with new forms of data. Unlike data and methods that social scientists have typically worked with in the past, Big Data calls for skills and approaches that cut across disciplines. Drawing on work in science and technology studies and understandings of the ‘the social life of methods’, I argue that this is in part due to the fragmentation and redistribution of expertise, knowledge and methods that new data sources engender including their incipient relations to government and industry and entanglements with social worlds.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Big Data, Digital devices, Interdisciplinarity, social life of methods, transactional data

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Centre for Study of Invention and Social Process (CSISP) [2003-2015]


10 December 2013Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

03 Jan 2014 10:38

Last Modified:

26 Apr 2021 15:03

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)