2016 Workshop 8 – Small/Big Data Controversies & Alternatives: Perspectives from The Sage Handbook of Social Media Research Methods

Abstract:  The workshop will provide an overview of critical themes to be covered in the Sage Handbook of Social Media Research Methods to be published in 2016. The Handbook is the first book to cover not only the entire research process in social media research from question formulation to the interpretation of research findings, but also to include specific chapters and examples on how data collection and analysis takes place on specific social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram.

The workshop will focus on a critical theme that weaves through the entire handbook, namely the tensions and controversies that have emerged around two fundamental different approaches toward the study of social media: big data vs. small data. Three central themes will be explored in an interactive format that includes a live poll and feedback from the audience:

  1. The contributions to scholarship that big data and small data make and the contexts in whicheach approach is appropriate;
  2. The tension between big data analytics and small data;
  3. Approaches on how to combine and integrate bothapproaches and how they can potentially inform each other.


  • Claudine Bonneau, Université du Québec à Montréal
  • Anatoliy Gruzd, Ryerson University
  • Martin Hand, Queen’s University
  • Guillaume Latzko-Toth, Université Laval
  • Mélanie Millette, Université du Québec à Montréal
  • Anabel Quan-Haase, The University of Western Ontario
  • Diane Rasmussen Pennington, University of Strathclyde,
  • Luke Sloan, Cardiff University
  • Ravi Vatrapu, Copenhagen Business School
  • Frauke Zeller, Ryerson University

Pre-Workshop Prep:
No Prerequisites Required

Workshop Contact
Anabel Quan-Haase – [email protected]