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How to combine big and ‘thick’ data – new paper in Big Data & Society

Big data enables us to crunch millions of data points, thereby adding scale of behaviour when studying social phenomena such as customer behaviour. ‘Thick’ ethnographic data, on the other hand, enables us to calibrate and contextualize the big data findings, adding the why to unexplainable patterns within the big datasets. Therefore, it can be very fruitful to combine big and thick data sources, and recent works have suggested an analytical complementarity. These works have, however, remained as programmatic suggestions, leaving us with limited methodological inputs on how to archive such complementary integration.

In a new paper, published in the prestigious journal Big Data & Society, our Head of Research, Brian Due argue for a method for ‘blending’ big and thick analytical insights and presents four strategies that can be applied when relying upon big and thick data sources. The paper is co-authored with Analyse & Tal’s Tobias Bornakke in it relies on insights from multiple joint Nextwork and Analyse & Tal projects.

The paper can be accessed and downloaded for free on the Sage Journal’s website.