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Heise, N. (2015). Big Data – small problems? Ethische Dimensionen der Forschung mit Online-Kommunikationsspuren. In Digitale Methoden in der Kommunikationswissenschaft (p. pp 39-58). http://www.ssoar.info/ssoar/handle/document/44045


In recent years, Big Data – or the automated processing of huge amounts of data for social science purposes – has stirred much debate and controversy within academia. Not only does Big Data raise new methodological and theoretical questions, but its ethical implications also increasingly come into focus. The paper examines some particularities of big data analysis (especially within the context of social media), and highlights the ways they challenge research ethics standards. Central to this issue is the status of users – the people behind the data – in this type of research. In addition, some general implications of Big Data methods for social science research will be examined. Overall, the aim is to sensitize researchers to the ethical issues implict to Big Data research and to encourage a broader disucssion of these issues within the scientific community.