Big Data and Social Science
A Practical Guide to Methods and Tools
The class on which this book is based was created in response to a very real challenge: how to introduce new ideas and methodologies about economic and social measurement into a workplace focused on producing high-quality statistics. We are deeply grateful for the inspiration and support of Census Bureau Director John Thompson and Deputy Director Nancy Potok in designing and implementing the class content and structure.
As with any book, there are many people to be thanked. We are grateful to Christina Jones, Ahmad Emad, Josh Tokle from the American Institutes for Research, and Jonathan Morgan from Michigan State University, who, together with Alan Marco and Julie Caruso from the US Patent and Trademark Office, Theresa Leslie from the Census Bureau, Brigitte Raumann from the University of Chicago, and Lisa Jaso from Summit Consulting, actually made the class happen.
We are also grateful to the students of three “Big Data for Federal Statistics” classes in which we piloted this material, and to the instructors and speakers beyond those who contributed as authors to this edited volume—Dan Black, Nick Collier, Ophir Frieder, Lee Giles, Bob Goerge, Laure Haak, Madian Khabsa, Jonathan Ozik, Ben Shneiderman, and Abe Usher. The book would not exist without them.
We thank Trent Buskirk, Davon Clarke, Chase Coleman, Stephanie Eckman, Matt Gee, Laurel Haak, Jen Helsby, Madian Khabsa, Ulrich Kohler, Charlotte Oslund, Rod Little, Arnaud Sahuguet, Tim Savage, Severin Thaler, and Joe Walsh for their helpful comments on drafts of this material.
We also owe a great debt to the copyeditor, Richard Leigh; the project editor, Charlotte Byrnes; and the publisher, Rob Calver, for their hard work and dedication.