Quantitative Social Science Analysis and Big Data
Social science research is essential because it provides evidence-based answers to questions that face our nation and society every day. The social sciences study topics as varied and fundamental to our daily lives as family relationships and education to political participation and criminal justice. The data and approaches available for this essential work have evolved and expanded over the past decade due to the increased use of electronic procedures and products. Because of water-shed technological developments like the Internet, online communities, bar code records, GPS tracking, and smart phones there has been an explosion of social and behavioral data capturing every aspect of our daily activities. This proliferation of data has coupled with a rise in the number and accessibility of computational analytic tools to create new possibilities for understanding society, social relationships, and social behavior. Analytic procedures have emerged where researchers can empirically study human behavior by applying computational methods, algorithms, and models on “big social data”. This course will cover methodological approaches to answering social questions that combine theory and skills from social science, social research methodology, statistics and computer science. Topics will span the development of relevant social questions and strategies through identification, capture, management and analysis of today's complex data sources that can inform those questions. QMSS 301 has an enforced prerequisite of QMSS 201 and is typically taken in the winter of the sophomore year. Click here for QMSS 301 in the LSA Course Guide.
Examples of topics covered in QMSS 301 during W22:
- Create a program which predicts outcome of sports game based on the composite salary of players on each team, then compare this model to actual result of games
- Data detective project: study the way an article presented and analyzed data, then go to original source and see if the conclusions they made are accurate accurate or if they are misleading
- Learn how to scrape data from reddit