Reading and reflecting on “Critical questions for big data,” boyd and Crawford (2012)
Today, the idea of “Big Data” pervades the social sciences, technology, academia, industry, and pop culture. Bold claims are made as to what having lots and lots of data, and the ability to process it computationally, can do.
For this assignment, you are to read “Critical questions for big data,” by boyd and Crawford (2012), available in Files. Reflect on it individually, then develop your thoughts.
Here are some prompts you can use to get your thinking started:
What are some of the claims made about big data?
Which claims were called into question by boyd and Crawford?
Do you believe these claims? Why or why not?
Was there anything boyd and Crawford left unclear?
If so, what might they have meant?
Was there anything boyd and Crawford left out?
If so, what?
You will be graded on the following criteria:
You must thoughtfully and constructively address the prompt on a philosophical level
You will be graded on the strength of your argument, not its conclusion
In addition to your experiences, you may draw ideas from other sources, although it is not required. Keep in mind:
If you draw from Wikipedia, follow Wikipedia’s source, and check that the source says what Wikipedia says it says
Citations were invented to support constructive discussion, not to avoid liability
So, back up your statements by citing your sources in a way that allows your readers to follow your thoughts by following your sources
Still, describe what it is you are drawing from your sources to aid your readers’ comprehension
The usual writing rules apply, such as:
Use spelling and grammar checkers
Feel free to express genuine ambivalence, but do not contradict yourself
Presenting “both sides” is not the same as critical thinking
Weave your arguments into a coherent narrative
Attempt to persuade your reader to see your point of view
Do not try to appear too clever to be understood