Big data observations made upon social media and policy making

S. Vydra

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

120 Downloads (Pure)


This dissertation focuses on the research problem of divergence between the theoretical promise of big data use for public policymaking and the empirical support for that promise. To address this problem the dissertation asks three sequential research questions: Firstly, why does this divergence exist. Secondly, how can it be improved. And lastly, how to design and carry out research capable of these improvements. These questions form the theoretical core of the dissertation and effectively propose a research approach to studying big data use in public policymaking. However, merits of a research approach can only be demonstrated by research that adopts it, which his why this dissertation also researches a more practical problem: The difficulty of measuring and evaluating ‘social investment’ policies. The dissertation asks “Can social media data be used to operationalize and measure social investment?”, which involves a set of research sub-questions focusing on how can requisite information be extracted, what such extraction implies for policymaking, whether the requisite information is present in Twitter data, and whether it changes between a period of normalcy and a period of crisis. Answering this research question in a more design-oriented proof-of-concept way, but while utilizing the proposed research approach, is relevant both for the research problem of operationalizing social investment as well as demonstrating the merits and pitfalls of the research approach proposed as a solution to the primary research problem.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • de Bruijn, J.A., Supervisor
  • Klievink, A.J., Supervisor, External person
  • Hosli, M.O., Supervisor, External person
Award date5 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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