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  • 00:01

    JONATHAN SLAPIN: So what is exactlyquantitative text analysis?Well, quantitative text analysis treats text, written or spokenwords, as data that we can analyzeusing computational and statistical methods.Text analysis has a long history in social science.It was used to analyze media coverage.

  • 00:23

    JONATHAN SLAPIN [continued]: British intelligence services used it during World War IIto try to assess Nazi capabilities.So it's been used for a long time.But its relevance and particularly the relevanceof quantitative text analysis has increased tremendouslywith the ever-increasing availability of text datathat we have today.

  • 00:43

    JONATHAN SLAPIN [continued]: Traditional text analysis involved the human codingof texts, so people reading documentsand making judgments about the nature of those documents,usually based upon some code book that was predetermined.But using quantitative text analysis,we hope to go beyond this.

  • 01:03

    JONATHAN SLAPIN [continued]: So why treat text as quantifiable data?Well, first of all, our digital agehas made huge amounts of text data available to us.So think just about all the online newspapers and blogs,social media feeds, government documents,parliamentary archives, and the list goes on.These documents contain lots of valuable information

  • 01:26

    JONATHAN SLAPIN [continued]: about what individuals and organizations do, thinkabout, and write about.And we want to be able to extractthat information in a meaningful wayto answer research questions that areof interest to social science.But we need the tools to do so.So why do we need these tools?

  • 01:48

    JONATHAN SLAPIN [continued]: Why not just read these texts and makes make judgmentsabout them?Well, I think there are two main reasons.The first is just the vast quantities of data.There's just too much of it to read and to categorize.And we might want to make use of everything that'savailable to us.But the second reason is subjectivity.

  • 02:09

    JONATHAN SLAPIN [continued]: You and I might have very different readsof the exact same text data.We might project our own biases into the text.Let's say I'm reading an electoral manifesto,and I personally hold very left-wing views.Well, if I'm reading a right-wing party document,I might even think that it's more right-wing

  • 02:29

    JONATHAN SLAPIN [continued]: than it actually is, because I'm projectingmy own biases about what is contained in that documentinto it.Well, quantification allows for a more objective measureof what's in the document, subject to the assumptionsthat we make in conducting our analysis.But if we make those assumptions clear,then those assumptions are the same for both you and me.

  • 02:53

    JONATHAN SLAPIN [continued]: And we should be able to come to the same answer,given the same methods and the same data.What might be some objectives to thinkingabout texts in this way?Well, it's certainly true that numbers cannot possibly captureall of these complex social interactions norms and meaningsthat language contains.

  • 03:13

    JONATHAN SLAPIN [continued]: And we would never try to, in quantitative text analysis,capture all of these things.So let's be clear about what we can and cannot do.We can summarize language using dataanalytic and statistical proceduresthat will allow research to assessour methods, our assumptions, and reproduce our work.

  • 03:34

    JONATHAN SLAPIN [continued]: We are not going to be able to makesubjective analyses of discourse or rhetoricor discuss the subjective meanings of textsbeyond what is actually written down into the textand what a computer can read in as data.

Video Info

Series Name: Fundamentals of Quantitative Text Analysis

Episode: 1

Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd

Publication Year: 2017

Video Type:Tutorial

Methods: Textual analysis, Text mining, Natural language processing

Keywords: bias; natural language processing; quantitative content analysis; Social science research; Subjectivity; text analysis ... Show More

Segment Info

Segment Num.: 1

Persons Discussed:

Events Discussed:

Keywords:

Abstract

Jonathan Slapin, PhD, Professor of Government and Director of the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis at the University of Essex, introduces quantitative text analysis including why text should be treated quantitatively, what tools are needed, and the objectives of quantifying text.

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What is Quantitative Text Analysis?

Jonathan Slapin, PhD, Professor of Government and Director of the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis at the University of Essex, introduces quantitative text analysis including why text should be treated quantitatively, what tools are needed, and the objectives of quantifying text.

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