Science 2.0 study

Updates on progress and discussions on results of Science 2.0: implications for European policies on research and innovation study

Big Data and Scientific Method

The dramatic increase in data availability affected the very foundations of the scientific method. So far scientific research was based on the hypotesis-driven deductive method: the scientist, after having observed a phenomenon, makes some assumptions, builds a theory or a model to explain it, and then tests the theoretical framework against the data.

This might no longer be the case, as science is more and more data-driven, due to sophisticated algorithms capable of finding patterns in huge databases. In fact big data availability opened the door to data-driven inductive reasoning  based on generalizing hypothesis from examples.

What are your views?

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2 thoughts on “Big Data and Scientific Method

  1. pedroprietomartin on said:

    Not only is Science getting more “data driven”. Especially when one thinks of Web Science, it is also getting more “context-aware” and “agora driven”. This is very much related to your other question, about Social Sciences and Science 2.0.

    Have a look at this paper:

    Akkermans, H., Gyan, N. B., Bon, A., Tuyp, W., Grewal, A., Boyera, S., & Allen, M. (2011). Is (Web) Science Ready for Empowerment? (pp. 1–7). Presentado en Proceedings of the ACM WebSci’11, Koblenz, Germany.

    http://www.w4ra.org/sites/default/files/documents/W4RA_article-ACM_WebSci_11_Koblenz-Jun2011-HansA-final.pdf

    And in general to the proposals about “phronesis” from Flyvbjerg, like:

    Flyvbjerg, B. (2001). Making Social Science Matter: Why Social Inquiry Fails and How it Can Succeed Again. (S. Sampson, Trans.) (1.ª ed.). Cambridge University Press.

    Flyvbjerg, B., Landman, T., & Schram, S. (Eds.). (2012). Real Social Science: Applied Phronesis (1.ª ed.). Cambridge University Press.

  2. Very interesting Pedro, thanks!

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