The challenge of big data and data science for the social sciences

Berkeley Distinguished Lectures in Data Science


October 2, 2018
4:10pm to 5:00pm
190 Doe Library
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The 2005 National Science Foundation workshop report on "Cyberinfrastructure for the Social and Behavioral Sciences" (Fran Berman and Henry Brady) argued that the methods of doing research in the social sciences would be transformed by big data and data science and that the social sciences should be centrally involved in studying the impacts of big data and data science on society. In "The Challenge of Big Data and Data Science," just completed for the Annual Review of Political Science, I have brought these arguments up-to-date. I will talk about defining "big data" and "data science," about the new kinds of research being done in the social sciences over the past decade that use big data and data science methods, and about the impacts of the information revolution on warfare, cities, the media, health care, and jobs and the ways that the social sciences must come to grips with them.

This lecture was presented as part of the Berkeley Distinguished Lectures in Data Science on Tuesday, October 2, 2018. Download the slides and accompanying paper for this talk.

The Berkeley Distinguished Lectures in Data Science, co-hosted by the Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS) and the Berkeley Division of Data Sciences, features Berkeley faculty doing visionary research that illustrates the character of the ongoing data revolution.  This lecture series is offered to engage our diverse campus community and enrich active connections among colleagues.  All campus community members are welcome and encouraged to attend. Arrive at 3:30 PM for light refreshments and discussion prior to the formal presentation.


Henry Brady

Dean, Goldman School of Public Policy

Henry E. Brady is dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy and Class of 1941 Monroe Deutsch Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at UC Berkeley. He received his PhD in economics and political science from MIT in 1980. He has written on electoral politics and political participation, social welfare policy, political polling, and statistical methodology, and he has worked for the federal Office of Management and Budget and other organizations in Washington, DC. He is past president of the American Political Science Association, past president of the Political Methodology Society of the American Political Science Association, and director of the University of California’s Survey Research Center from 1998 to 2009. He is coauthor of Letting the People Decide: Dynamics of a Canadian Election (1992), which won the Harold Innis Award for the best book in the social sciences published in English in Canada; Voice and Equality: Civic Voluntarism in American Politics (1995), which won the Philip Converse Award for a book making a lasting contribution to public opinion research and the AAPOR book award for influential books that have stimulated theoretical and scientific research in public opinion; Expensive Children in Poor Families: The Intersection of Childhood Disability and Welfare (2000); and Counting All the Votes: The Performance of Voting Technology in the United States (2001). He is co-editor of Rethinking Social Inquiry (2004), which won the Sartori Award for best book on qualitative methods; Capturing Campaign Effects (2006); and the Handbook of Political Methodology (2008). He is the author of The Unheavenly Chorus: Unequal Political Voice and the Broken Promise of American Democracy and Unequal and Unrepresented:  Political Inequality and the People's Voice in the New Gilded Age. Dr. Brady has also authored numerous articles on political participation, political methodology, the dynamics of public opinion, and other topics. He was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2003 and as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2006.