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From a Tiny Island of Survey Data to the Ocean of Transactional Data

Like all major successful technologies, survey research and survey data, despite their obvious success stories over the last decades, will cease to be the predominant mode of data bases for socio-economic research, broadly conceived. Instead, transactional data which result from electronic traces (web-search, electronic sales and purchases, etc.) will become the major data base for socio-economic analyses. Second, visual methods which rely on pattern generation and pattern recognition by competent observers, will become at least as important as traditional statistical techniques. The lecture will focus on several main design groups for visual methods in the social sciences. Third, the shift to an ocean of transactional data and to visualization techniques will have a profound effect on two domains: on the one hand, the new data ocean plus visualization techniques will require the construction of new sets of methods, tools, research designs and new classes of theory building for the theory and the methodology of the social sciences. Furthermore, aggregated transactional data and their diffusion through media channels should lead to new feedback-loops and to contagious attractors for everyday routines and practices.
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