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Speaker: Prof. Mario Small, Harvard Department of Sociology

Prof. Small is Grafstein Family Professor in the Department of Sociology at Harvard. He has published numerous award-winning articles, edited volumes, and books on topics such as urban poverty, personal networks, and the relationship between qualitative and quantitative methods.

Across the social sciences, researchers and practitioners have increasingly come to accept the “big data” revolution, the fact that extraordinary amounts of information on many aspects of human life are now available from both public and private sources, and that increasingly powerful computers have made analyzing such data far more practical.  Prof. Small proposes that in this context, qualitative analysis will likely rise rather than diminish in importance, given its significance to how we collect, analyze, and interpret large-scale administrative data.  Prof. Small will discuss basic issues qualitative researchers should consider when thinking about their work and communicating it to others; cover a few common mistakes beginning researchers make in producing and interpreting qualitative data; and present an example, based on a recent book, Someone To Talk To about how qualitative research can be used to understand the problems that can unwittingly arise in “big data” research.

The Harvard Empirical Legal Studies (HELS) series explores a range of empirical methods, both qualitative and quantitative, and their application in legal scholarship in different areas of the law. It is a platform for engaging with current empirical research, hearing from leading scholars working in a variety of fields, and developing empirical projects.

The group is open to all interested students and scholars. No prior background in empirical legal research is necessary. Please RSVP to echachko@sjd.law.harvard.edu.

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February 13
10:00 am - 11:00 am
Event Categories:


Elena Chachko
Graduate Program


WCC 4059 Room