Big and Open Data for Development & Humanitarian Actions: A Systematic Review of the Literature

This project has been designed to shed lights on an emerging field of research that is ‘Big and Open Data for Development & Humanitarian Actions’. Due to the novelty of the research field, a preliminary systematic literature review needs to be conducted.

Department: Marketing & Reputation

Supervised by: Alessandro Inversini

The Placement Project

**Background**: Modern society is characterized by an abundance of data digitally created and digitally stored. These ‘new’ datasets, often called Big Data, can be harvested and analysed to generate actionable insights to orientate organizations’ decisions over a series of topics (Lycett, 2013) thus fostering competitive advantage. Big data are generating added value also for public offices, with the United States government leading the way (Johnson, 2014). Big data, can be described with the 3Vs (technical) framework: Volume, Velocity and Variety. Lately, Value has been added as a fourth V to underline the necessity gathering and analysing data that ultimately have a benefit for the organization or public offices. A rising new stream of research is looking at Big Open Data in the context of international development and humanitarian actions (Ali et al., 2016). The most notable initiative in this field is the UN Global Pulse Programme ( which investigates how data science and analytics can contribute to sustainable development. However there could also be a series of challenges associated with the use of big open data in development contexts (i.e. Heeks and Remken 2016): data are a primarily public good and a proper governance should be established to enable certified access, privacy, protection and ethical processing of the data. **Aim**: to systematically analyse academic and practitioner literature on Big and Open Data in the context of international development and humanitarian actions.


Under the guidance of the PI, the student will conduct a systematic review of the literature following the steps below: (*) Selection of the key words for the investigation; (*) Selection of the academic databases; (*) Definition of criteria for articles inclusion in the sample; (*) Selection of the main articles to include in the review; (*) Conceptual analysis of the selected articles; (*) Drafting of the white paper. All these steps will be supervised by the PI ensuring (i) high quality output and (ii) steep but effective learning curve for the student.

Skills, knowledge and experience required

No real prior knowledge is required. A true passion for research and desk research would be ideal together with an interest in developing a research/business career in the field of this research project (i.e. digital technologies and developing countries).

Skills which will be developed during the placement

The successful student will develop a (i) deep analytical and methodological understanding on how to conduct a systematic literature review and (ii) an initial understanding of a new and exciting research field such as the one of Big and Open Data for Development & Humanitarian Actions.

Place of Work

Flexible – space will be organized in hot desk rooms at Henley Business Schools Whiteknights Campus and in Dr. Inversini’s office at Greenlands Campus.

Hours of Work

Flexible – to be agreed with the PI

Approximate Start and End Dates (not fixed)

Monday 04 June 2018 - Monday 16 July 2018

How to Apply

The post will be advertised centrally on the UROP website between 19th February and 29th March 2018. Students should send their CV and cover letter via email to Subject of the email must be ‘UROP application’. Successful candidates will then be invited to interview.

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