Critical Questions for Big Data

Boyd & Crawford 2012


”Critical questions for Big Data” addresses six different questions regarding Big Data. Explaining the meaning of Big Data and addressing some of the complications of how data is collected, regulated and used. The authors try to start a debate about these six issues they found in Big Data research.


The authors use implicit knowledge in the text, and example of this one of the numerous quotes used: ‘Change the instruments, and you will change the entire social theory that goes with them’, Latour (2009). Readers with a background in STS will be able to understand these quotes, who Latour is and what an instrument is in this context, unlike reader who is not familiar with STS. Instead of using so many quotes from other authors, I would suggest explaining it with your own words with the reader in mind. This should make it easier for the reader to understand the different argument presented in the text.


The goal of the text is very clear for the reader, the title ”Critical questions for Big Data” and the sub titles such as “Just because it is accessible does not make it ethical” and “Limited access to Big Data creates new digital divides” each present several issues to be discussed in the related text fields. The goal of the authors is to share their knowledge of issues regarding Big Data and spark discussion among researchers, politicians, private companies, and the public through six provocative questions.


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