[Air-L] CFP “Small Data” in a “Big Data” World - International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry (ICQI)

Lois Scheidt lscheidt at indiana.edu
Tue Oct 23 15:02:38 PDT 2012

CFP “Small Data” in a “Big Data” World, Panel at International
Congress of Qualitative Inquiry (ICQI) 2013  to be held May 15-18,
2013 on the campus of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign IL.

Recently the academic research world has been flooded with discussion
of the uses and implications of “Big Data.” For those of us whose
research focuses on digital environments this discussion includes
conferences, grants, special publications, and job announcements that
focus on Big Data and the computational turn in social science and
humanities research.

‘Big Data’ is not necessarily defined by the size of the data set, for
humanities scholars have long been interested in huge textual and
image-based corpora.  Instead, ‘Big Data’ refers to the increasing
complexity of relationships between data objects in a given set, often
requiring large-scale computational and algorithmic resources for
analysis.   ‘Small Data’ research, on the other hand, often begins
with a theoretical (e.g., critical race theory) or methodological
(e.g., case study or ethnography) approach, which is then applied to
digital data drawn from less-popular websites, YouTube videos, or even
individual blog posts and comments.
Unfortunately, the tools used to analyze Big Data seem to be
influencing modes of thought about new media and digital research away
from the theoretical and towards the scientistic.  For example, in a
recent article Bruns and Burgess (2012) argue that humanist,
interpretive studies of social media are ‘ideosyncratic,
non-repeatable, and non-verifiable’.   Although Bruns and Burgess
concede that there is space for ‘traditional qualitative methods’,
their suggestion is that these methods need to be ‘integrated and
innovated’ upon in a ‘big data’ context.
Given the increasing amounts of attention (e.g., external funding,
public policy, or student interest) ‘big data’ is accruing, where does
this leave Small Data research and researchers? This panel seeks to
explore the position of Small Data in relation to the discussion
and/or use of Big Data. As the definition of Big Data is still in flux
we are using Bruns & Burgess (2012) to ground our individual
presentation. We are seeking presentations that will explore a variety
of views on this turn toward Big Data and the impact on the
researched, the researcher, and academia.


Bruns, A., & Burgess, J. (2012). Notes towards the Scientific Study of
Public Communication on Twitter. Conference on Science and the
Internet. Düsseldorf. Retrieved Oct. 8, 2012 from

Individual presenters should submit a 150 word abstract to each of the
organizers by Nov. 15, 2012.


Andre Brock
Assistant Professor
School of Library and Information Science
University of Iowa
andre.brock at gmail.com

Lois Ann Scheidt
Doctoral Candidate
School of Library and Information Science
Indiana University
lscheidt at indiana.edu

Please forward this CFP to other potentially interested parties and groups.

More information about the Air-L mailing list