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“Big Data” Bias in LGBTQ Research

The term big data, which originated in the business world, is used widely in many fields, whereas it is just emerging in others, such as the social sciences. The wide availability and rapid development of technology has produced an array of public and private big data sources with a wealth of information. Data sources can be informal, such as reading friends’ posts on Facebook or using a search engine to check on someone before a first date. Sources can also be formal, such as United States Census Bureau figures on the number of same-sex-headed households.

As used here, big data refers to datasets whose large size or complex contents can be used to inform decision making, monitor trends, understand complex phenomena, solve problems, and/or improve quality ...

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