AbstractThe recent data revolution, and with it the emergence of big data on social processes, holds enormous promise as a new paradigm for policy monitoring and evaluation. This is of particular relevance in the context of measuring and monitoring the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While there remain many practical and methodological obstacles to the applicability of big data technologies as a policy instrument, recent work has made significant progress. Focusing specifically on SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, this article discusses recent advances in using big data for monitoring political instability. After clarifying what constitutes big data, a term that is often used without clear definition or a shared understanding, the article reviews the potential of big data in the specific context of monitoring political instability. It then derives a set of best practices based on recent innovative and empirically grounded approaches, illustrating how big data could be responsibly used for policy-relevant analyses with implications for the measurement and monitoring of the implementation of the SDGs more broadly.