Prof. Ken Benoit, Professor of Quantitative Social Research Methods, and Head of the Department of Methodology at the London School of Economics and Political Science, will be joining our Open Research Forum as a facilitator and a panellist. Here is what he said about the role of data and data science in this day and age:
In the information age, big data is transforming almost every aspect of science, engineering, geography, and medicine, from mapping genes to mapping galaxies. For society and the study of human affairs – covering the economic, social and political – big data heralds no less a revolution. New and emerging information technologies are shaping how we interact through advances in communication, commerce, political participation, urban development, law enforcement, and health care delivery. In meeting the challenge of understanding and enabling this emerging data centric economy and society, however, social science analytics plays a core role, yet has much progress to make before it is fully prepared to integrate knowledge from the study of big social and economic data. In the new world of “data science” – defined as the extraction of value from data, especially big data, using methods from machine learning, data analytics, and mathematics – social science faces a challenge to integrate computational methods and the adaptation of data science no less crucial or significant than the revolution that integrated quantitative methods into the social sciences that began with the second world war.
Kenneth Benoit received his PhD in 1998 from Harvard University, Department of Government. He has previously held positions at Trinity College Dublin, where he held a chair in Quantitative Social Sciences, and at the Central European University (Budapest). He regularly teaches social science methodology at summer schools, including the ECPR Summer School in Methods and Techniques (Ljubljana) and in 2011, the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis.