Bigger sociological imaginations: framing big social data theory and methods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Making effective use of big social data requires us to frame that work in useful ways, ways that draw connections between new methods and a long history of social methods and theories. In particular, the key questions of big social data – those of relating observations of features at scale to practical outcomes for individuals and groups – are core sociological questions. We need to develop a new, bigger sociological imagination that allows us to incorporate big social data rather than reinventing the wheel. That requires careful mining of our methodological and theoretical history, along with a reexamination of the ways in which we collect and use our data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)583-594
Number of pages12
JournalInformation Communication and Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 4 2015


  • big data
  • data science
  • social theory
  • sociology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Library and Information Sciences


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