Big Data Analytics and Ethnography: Together for the Greater Good

  • Vincent CharlesEmail author
  • Tatiana Gherman
Part of the Studies in Big Data book series (SBD, volume 42)


Ethnography is generally positioned as an approach that provides deep insights into human behaviour, producing ‘thick data’ from small datasets, whereas big data analytics is considered to be an approach that offers ‘broad accounts’ based on large datasets. Although perceived as antagonistic, ethnography and big data analytics have in many ways, a shared purpose; in this sense, this chapter explores the intersection of the two approaches to analysing data, with the aim of highlighting both their similarities and complementary nature. Ultimately, this chapter advances that ethnography and big data analytics can work together to provide a more comprehensive picture of big data, and can thus, generate more societal value together than each approach on its own.


Analytics Big data Ethnography Thick data 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Buckingham Business SchoolUniversity of BuckinghamBuckinghamUK
  2. 2.School of Business and EconomicsLoughborough UniversityLoughboroughUK

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