This paper makes a foundational methodological contribution to the analysis of big data for development studies.
Big data has revolutionised the natural and applied sciences (and commerce). However, its use within development studies has been comparatively limited. This is despite a clear potential for devising innovative research methodologies to generate new academic knowledge, theory, and empirical insights of practical relevance to the broad field of international development and humanitarian policy, programming, and action. The paper uses the publicly available Global Database of Events, Language, and Tone (GDELT) as a source of near-real-time big data. The aim is to develop an academically robust methodology, that can be replicated and easily modified to suit the needs of a wide development studies scholarship, while also exploring its prospects for generating valuable actionable knowledge, through an established academic–practitioner partnership.