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Preconference: Computational Tools for Text Mining, Processing, and Analysis

Thu, May 25, 9:00 to 17:00, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Cobalt 520

Session Submission Type: Panel


Manual content analysis has been one of the most important and influential research techniques in communication for more than half a century. With the rise of social and digital media, recent years have seen a sharp growth in the sheer amount and types of textual data communication scholars often wish to explore as well as changes to required skillsets to acquire, process, and store these data. Due to these changes researchers in communication often find manual content analysis methods inadequate for their needs. As a result, computational approaches to text mining are becoming gradually more valuable and even necessary.

The pre-conference workshop on Text Processing, Mining and analysis will engage with these computational methods. Based on a survey disseminated among several ICA divisions we have identified specific sub-topics in computational textual analysis that members of ICA would like to learn more about. These topics include: data acquisition (such as scraping and preprocessing), theme extraction (such as topic modelling and semantic network analysis) and classification/sentiment-analysis (including various machine learning approaches). Additionally, we found that these researchers are interested not only in the “how-to” but also in more advanced discussions such as the correct applications, limitations and theoretical foundations of these methods. Therefore, speakers are encouraged to offer both introductory material aimed at providing less experienced scholars with practical tools for analysis, and more in-depth discussions on statistical assumptions and properties of these methods, causal inference issues in applications, points of triangulation with popular tools such as surveys and experiments, connections with theory development, as well as criticisms and limitations.

We hope participants will leave this full-day workshop not only with ready-to-use tools for their day-to-day research but also with a more comprehensive understanding of these methods’ assumptions, properties, theories and debates. The goal is to promote not only the usage, but responsible usage, of these computational methods.

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