How Social Media Stymies Social Science

Getting data is becoming more and more of an issue and is unfortunately leading to consequences in academia. Disagreements that were usually solved with data are now getting lost due to the the little publicly available data on social media sites. It seems data from theses large firms can only be obtained by scholars with good connections leaving other scholars using backwater channels in order to gain evidence. Gathering of data poses another problem since data gatherings has become more for commercial purposes rather than for purposes of research which leads to biases and problems when interpreting data. This is a significant change to how social science researchers are gathering their data that professor Henry Farrell says is "badly understood." The outcome of all this is still unclear however what does hold merit is that big firms are unaware or not wanting to take responsibility for the problem which may lead to bigger consequences in the future. 

"It used to be that states were the most important source of data on their citizen, economy and society... We are now moving into a new era for social science. For many scholarly purposes, large firms like Google, Facebook, and Apple have much better data than the government — and those data are much less accessible... reshaping social-science research in ways that are badly understood." - How Facebook Stymies Social Science by Henry Farrell

Henry Farrell is a professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University. To read the whole story that appears on The Chronicle of Higher Education under the title "How Facebook Stymies Social Science" click HERE


This blog post was written by Philip Patino employee at SAGE Publishing under PR Conventions and Social Science Department. As a SAGE employee he helps manage and edits the SAGE hosted sites MethodSpace and Social Science Space.