This new paper from the Centre for the Analyisis of Social Media at Demos and Ipsos MORI argues that whilst social media platforms offer powerful new ways of understanding society, they are often researched poorly, with little examination of the extent to which insights are representative of social media users or wider society. The future of harnessing these new bodies of data is to wrap new technology around the principles of social science. Only then can it influence important decisions across Government and commerce.

The first in a landmark series seeking to set gold-mark standards for social media research, the paper looks at how to ensure that the wealth of new big data available can best be accurately measured and honestly interpreted.