The last 40 years have seen huge innovations in computing and in the availability of data. Data derived from millions of administrative records or by using (as we do) new methods of data generation such as text mining are now common. New data often requires new methods, which in turn can inspire new data collection. If history is any guide, some methods will stick and others will prove to be a flash in the pan. However, the larger trends toward demanding greater credibility and transparency from researchers in applied economics and a ‘collage’ approach to assembling evidence will likely continue.