January 28, 2022

New Report/White Paper Provides a Look at Trends in Big Data Research Among Social Scientists

Survey findings released today in a new white paper from SAGE.


Who is Doing Computational Social Science? Trends in Big Data Research


Katie Metzler
Publisher for SAGE Research Methods, SAGE Publishing

David A. Kim
Stanford University, Department of Emergency Medicine

Nick Allum
Professor of Sociology and Research Methodology, University of Essex

Angella Denman
University of Essex

Key Findings

SAGE Publishing surveyed social scientists across the globe in May, 2016 in order to better understand the challenges and opportunities that result from the increased availability of “big data.” The findings from the 9,412 responses revealed the following:

  • 33% of respondents said they had been involved in big data research of some kind and 49% said they were “definitely planning on doing so in the future” or “might do so in the future.” 60% of respondents who are doing big data research had done so within the last 12 months.
  • 55% of respondents who have done big data research have used admin data, 29% have done research using some kind of social media data, and 23% have used commercial data in their research.
  • While 79% of those doing big data research have collaborated with other academics, the majority of researchers had not shared the code or software they developed with other researchers.
  • Of the biggest challenges facing those who do big data research, 42% reported getting funding and 32% reported access to data as a “big problem.”
  • Of those teaching big data analytics or data science methods, the biggest problem named was levels of programming and statistical knowledge of students.
  • Of those wishing to enter big data research, the biggest problems named were finding collaborators with the right skills and not enough time to learn a new skill.

Direct to Full Text Report (23 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.