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Watch the Member Forum On Demand: At the Intersection of Data Science and Social Science

September 14, 2018 09:20 AM

2018 Institutional Member Forum

September 13, 2018 | 11:00 am - 12:30 pm | Mathematica Policy Research (1100 1st Street, NE)

Mathematica_Anniverary_Logo_4_colorIn 1968, Mathematica led the nation’s first major social research experiment, which helped spur a revolution in the application of social science to public policies and programs. For more than four decades, researchers tinkered on the margins of their methods, but the “gold standard’ of social science remained much the same.

The proliferation of new digital data sources and the development of new programming languages that can quickly make sense of these data are changing the nature of how public policy makers and the general public understand how government works – and when it doesn’t.

Initially, many established social science researchers scoffed at the idea that their computer science colleagues could find meaningful ways to harness big data for public good, but more and more data scientists are doing just that. This discussion focused on the road ahead for data and social science, how to communicate better when the lanes merge, and what this all means for getting to better-informed policies and programs that improve public well-being.

The recording of this Member Forum is available on demand.
Watch it here!


The event, held at Mathematica's Washington, DC office (1100 1st Street, NE), and online, featured opening remarks from Paul Decker, president and CEO of Mathematica, and a moderated discussion including:


  • Andy Feldman, host of the GovInnovator podcast (moderator)
  • Sheila Dugan, director of cities, GovEx
  • Xavier Hughes, chief innovation officer, International City/County Management Association (ICMA)
  • Matt Salganik, professor of sociology, Princeton University, author of Bit By Bit: Social Research in the Digital Age
  • Will Yang, innovation and design consultant, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Following the event, in-person attendees enjoyed a lunch reception beginning at 12:30 p.m. EDT.

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