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Social Media Mining with R by Nathan Danneman, Richard Heimann

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Measurement and inferential challenges

Many of the activities that fall under the umbrella term of data mining involve either measurement or inference, or possibly both. This section details some of the challenges researchers face when attempting to measure difficult social science concepts or trying to infer general patterns from subpopulation sets of data. These tasks, measurement and inference, are often one and the same in the social sciences. While one can use a ruler to measure height, there is no way to directly measure sentiment or affinity. Instead, we create proxy measures for these concepts and hope to make accurate inferences about these quantities.

Overfitting is a common problem in social science research, especially in Big Data. ...

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