Big Data Methods and the Study of International Institutions
Big data methods provide several new methodological opportunities to inquire social phenomena. Only very recently have scholars in international relations used such methods to analyze, for instance, bilateral trade networks. So far, however, international institutions, like treaties or International Organizations, have not been a field where big data methods were applied. The current paper seeks to highlight the advantages of big data methods, both from a research design and analytical perspective, for the study of international treaties. Specifically, I will discuss how big data methods can overcome research design challenges typically associated with international institution’s research. Furthermore, big data methods allow researchers to considerably extend the number of valid observations that have been limited so far in international relations research. Finally and as an example, I apply the outlined methodological big data approach to study of country’s ratification of all global human rights and environmental treaties.