Join us for our next ACT Chapter Event on the 29th of April. We have guest speaker Robert Ackland presenting on Big Data in the Social Sciences. Robert will share on the challenges, give insight into new opportunities and discuss some of the tools that are available for social science big data research.

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More about the event: Social scientists are increasingly using large-scale datasets from the Web (e.g. Twitter, WWW hyperlinks, Facebook etc.) to seek answers to long-standing questions about social, economic and political behaviour. An example was how social media data was used to study social inequality, diurnal and seasonal mood changes and the spread of protest during the Arab Spring. This presentation aims to highlight the methodological challenges and opportunities of big data (in particular, social media data) in empirical social science research.

About Robert Ackland

Robert Ackland is an Associate Professor in the Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute at the Australian National University and leads the Virtual Observatory for the Study of Online Networks ( His PhD was in economics, focusing on index number theory in the context of cross-country comparisons of income and inequality. Robert has been studying online social and organisational networks since 2002 and his research has been funded by five Australian Research Council grants. His research has appeared in journals such as the Review of Economics and Statistics, Social Networks, Computational Economics, Social Science Computer Review, and the Journal of Social Structure. VOSON was established in 2005, and aims to advance the social science of the Internet by conducting research, developing research tools, and providing research training. The VOSON software for hyperlink network construction and analysis has been publicly available since 2006 and has been used by around 2000 researchers worldwide. Robert established the Social Science of the Internet specialisation in the ANU's Master of Social Research in 2008, and his book Web Social Science: Concepts, Data and Tools for Social Scientists in the Digital Age (SAGE) was published in July 2013. He is CEO of Uberlink Corp ( which he established to commercialise the VOSON software.

More information can be found here: Robert Ackland

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