History of Quantitative Text Analysis

Chris Bail, Duke University
SICSS, Day 3


Time Activity
9:00-9:15AM History of Quantitative Text Analysis
9:15-9:30AM Strengths and Weaknesses of Text Analysis
9:30-9:45AM Basic Text Analysis/GREP
9:45-10:00AM Dictionary-Based Text Analysis
10:00-10:15AM Break
10:15-11:00AM Topic Models and Beyond (Brandon Stewart)
11:00-12:00PM Ngram Networks
12:00-1:00PM Lunch
1:00-3:30PM Group Exercise
3:30-4:00PM Group Presentations
4:00-5:30PM Causal Inference with Text Data (Brandon Stewart)
6:00PM Dinner


Harold Laswell/Propoganda

The First Keyword Count?


We may classify references into categories according to the understanding which prevails among those who are accustomed to the symbols. References used in interviews may be quantified by counting the number of references which fall into each category during a selected period of time (or per thousand words uttered).

-Lasswell (1938:198)

Ahead of his time?


In 1935- and at the age of 21-Laswell was developing methods that tracked the association between word utterances and physiological reactions (e.g. pulse rate, electrical conductivity of the skin, and blood pressure)

Timeline of Quantitative Text Analysis


Time Activity
1934 Laswell Produces first Key-Word Count
1934 Vygotsky Produces first Quantitative Narrative Analaysis
1950 Gottschalk Uses Content Analysis to Track Freudian Themes
1950 Turin Applies AI to text
1952 Bereleson Publishes First Textbook on Content Analysis
1954 First Automatic Translation of Text (Georgetown Experiment)
1963 Msteller and Wallace analyze Federalist Papers
1965 Tomashevsky Further Formalizes Quantitative Narrative Analysis

Timeline of Quantitative Text Analysis


Time Activity
1966 Stone and Bales use mainframe computer to measure psychometric properties of text at RAND
1980 Decline of Chomskyean Formalism/NLP is Born
1980 Machine Learning is Applied to NLP
1981 Weintraub counts parts of speech
1985 Schrodt Introduces Auomated Event Coding
1986 Pennebaker develops LIWC
1989 Franzosi brings Quantitative Narrative Analysis to Social Science

Timeline of Quantitative Text Analysis


Time Activity
1998 First Topic Models Developed
1998 Mohr conducts first Quantitative Analysis of Worldviews
1999 Bearman et al. apply Network Methods to Narratives
2001 Blei et al. develop LDA
2003 MALLET created
2005 Quin et al use analyze political speeches using topic models
2010 King/Hopkins Bring Topic Models into mainstream
2010 Tools for Text Workshop at Washington