INTEG 475 Special Topics: “Big Data” and Social Science in the Digital Age

Instructor: John McLevey


We are living in an age where digital information is being produced at an unprecedented rate. This explosion of digital data has the potential to revolutionize the way we learn about the world, and how we conduct research related to urgent social and political problems. This course focuses primarily on the knowledge and skills necessary for doing high-quality research with digital data. The course is divided into four core sections: (1) a research-oriented introduction to the programming language Python, (2) collecting, cleaning, and combining digital datasets, (3) analyzing digital datasets using tools from machine learning, text analysis, and social network analysis, and (4) privacy and confidentiality. There will be an emphasis on good research design throughout the course. Previous courses in research methods and / or statistics are an asset, but are not required. I assume no previous knowledge or experience of computer programming.