The Spectacular Success of Quantitative Social Science

In the final video of a 10-part series based on political scientist Gary King’s address to academics and policymakers last year on Capitol Hill, the head of Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science asks the audience what university research has had the greatest impact on you?

King doesn’t give an answer, at least not directly. Amid things like the revolution in genetics and the doubling of the human lifespan, he merely requests another item be included: quantitative social science, or as it’s popularly known, big data. It’s transformed business, creating new industries and making old industries data generators. “Facebook,” he says, “is basically a social science innovation… Social media is the largest increase in the expressive capacity of the human race in the history of the world.” To see other data points he uses to support his claim, watch the video below.

King’s talk was hosted by SAGE Publishing with co-sponsors the American Political Science Association and the American Statistical Association. His goal was to give a series of examples demonstrating the utility of big data in conducting social science and the necessity of solid and innovative data analysis to make sense of anything.

Videos in the series

  1. Ziyad Marar On The Opportunities That Big Data Provides Social Scientists
  2. What Makes Big Data Valuable?
  3. Examples: Exciting Data That Is Useless Without Analytics
  4. Example: Social Scientists Determine Cause Of Death At A Distance
  5. Example: Analysis Rids Social Security Forecasts Of Bias
  6. Example: New Data Methods Combat Gerrymandering
  7. Example: Big Data Much Better Than People at Determining Keywords
  8. Example: Watching Chinese Citizens Get Around Censorship
  9. Example: Learning The Real Reason For Chinese Censorship
  10. The Spectacular Success Of Quantitative Social Science


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