Exploring Big (Data) Opportunities: The Case of the Center for Innovation through Data Intelligence (CIDI), New York City
This chapter looks at the analytical practice of a public sector organization that is at the forefront of research designs, using both evaluation and Big Data approaches. It explores how Big Data techniques can be utilized by government to embrace questions often asked in evaluation studies. The chapter describes Center for Innovation through Data Intelligence (CIDI) and its operations and also describes a concrete application of Big Data and related analytical techniques. It compares the approaches classically applied by evaluators to those applied by CIDI. The chapter explains the challenges created for evaluators by computational social science as applied in Big Data analytics and suggest appropriate professional responses. All evaluation questions that will deal with using a triangulation approach involve the utilization of several data sources to establish robust analyses. A number of public organizations have explored ways that Big Data can support their operations, including the City of New York, the State of Massachusetts, and the European Commission.