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Exploratory Models in a time of Big Data

Mazur, M; Manley, E; (2016) Exploratory Models in a time of Big Data. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews , 41 (4) pp. 366-382. 10.1080/03080188.2016.1257196. Green open access

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Abstract

This paper aims to trigger discourse about the emergence of a new type of social scientific model — Exploratory Models — which draw on Big Data, computer modeling and interdisciplinary research to tackle complex social scientific processes. First, we define Exploratory Models referring to Batty and Morgan and Morrison. We then present changes to the traditional modeling paradigm. We show how Exploratory Models circumvent challenges related to the idiosyncracy, self-reflexivity and acceleration of social phenomena, which limit predictive effectiveness of traditional models. We show that Exploratory Models are better equipped to tackle complex problems due to their capacity to process heterogeneous datasets. Having established that Exploratory Models are predominantly problem- and data-driven, we emphasize that scientific theory is indispensable to their progress. Finally, the development of an integrative platform is suggested as a way of maximizing the benefits of this approach. Discussion concludes by flagging areas for further research.

Type: Article
Title: Exploratory Models in a time of Big Data
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/03080188.2016.1257196
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/03080188.2016.1257196
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: exploratory models, big data, scientific theory
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10042519
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