1 September, 2017
A Case Study In Big Data And The Replication Crisis
The ever-growing world of “big data” research has confronted the academic community with unprecedented challenges around replication, validity and big data ethics in a world in which nearly every imaginable kind of data is readily available. From the “replication crisis” to whether traditional understandings of ethics should apply at all, innovation is frequently moving faster than questions about what kinds of research should be permitted and how to verify and validate the headline-grabbing findings pouring out each day. Yet, much of the conversation around things like replication or ethical review tends to focus on abstractions, hypothetical scenarios and policies. What does it look like to actually take a big data study published today in 2017 and attempt to replicate it and what might we learn about whether we should just give up on the notion of replication entirely?