New types of and approaches to data are enabling new forms of data-intensive political science, some of which in isolation appear to challenge established models of inquiry in political science and science more generally. We argue, however, that none of this means that big data is fundamentally incompatible with formal theory, causal inference, or social science research methods in general. To the contrary, big data already is interacting with formal theoretic and causal inference approaches in ways that are not only consistent with these approaches but that also enhance them by enabling us to answer new questions.
Monroe, Burt L, Jennifer Pan, Margaret E Roberts, Maya Sen, and Betsy Sinclair. "No! Formal Theory, Causal Inference, and Big Data Are Not Contradictory Trends in Political Science." PS: Political Science and Politics 48.1 (January 2015): 71-74.