Lugano, Switzerland

Content Analysis and Natural Language Processing

online course
when 16 August 2021 - 20 August 2021
language English
duration 1 week
fee CHF 700

Workshop contents and objectives

The aim of this workshop is to provide participants with a practical hands-on and theoretical understanding of new methods in content analysis made possible by applying digital technology to text corpora.

This approach scales from words to documents to large text corpora.

Some of the issues this approach addresses include the following:

Understanding the speech of political leaders: What U.S. president is viewed most negatively? Does political speech incite violence?
Detecting historical changes in happiness: Which nations are happiest and how has their happiness changed over time? Does national happiness correlate with GDP, longevity, democratization, etc?
Predicting views of brands: What does it mean to be a luxury brand? What associations do people have with different products?
Using language to predict personality or changes across an individual’s lifespan: How did the writing of Darwin, Mozart, and Van Gogh change across their lifespan?
The course will begin by providing participants with an understanding of what natural language processing offers content analysis. Automation can allow interesting content questions to be answered in very short periods of time (sometimes minutes), saving weeks or months of research time. It can also introduce new questions that lead to innovative research programmes.

Specific cases will be used to motivate more detailed analysis of their methodological approach and participants will work with real data to replicate existing findings and investigate novel hypotheses of their own. Finally, participants will receive guidance in developing and answering questions of their own, working on their own projects.

On completion of the course, participants will be able to recognize and implement many common approaches to content analysis using NLP and take the first steps towards formulating and addressing problems of their own in social data science or the digital humanities. Participants will also be provided with detailed information about how to follow up and learn more with respect to their particular area of interest.
Prerequisites

Participants taking this course should be interested in learning more about the power of computational approaches to automate questions in communication, humanities, and the social sciences. Though the course will primarily use R, I will provide all the code. Participants will therefore learn a bit about R, but can also import results in Excel or to other platforms (e.g., SPSS).

Software

Students are advised that prior knowledge with R will help them advance more quickly with their applications, but this knowledge is not necessary to learn from this course. The course will provide a general introduction to R and, more importantly, a strong conceptual foundation for understanding what natural language processing can achieve.

Course leader

Thomas Hills: Professor of Psychology at the University of Warwick and he is currently the Director of the Bridges Doctoral Training Centre in Mathematical and Social Sciences and the Co-Director of the Behavioural Science Global Research Priority.

Target group

Everyone who is interested; there are no formal requirement. Note that many workshops have some prerequisites.

The Summer School workshops are conceived for those who need to deepen and widen their methodological knowledge and skills for their work, research projects and (PhD) theses: students, junior and senior researchers, practitioners from academia and outside academia at any stage of their careers whenever the need for further training in methodology arises.

Course aim

The aim of this workshop is to provide participants with a practical hands-on and theoretical understanding of new methods in content analysis made possible by applying digital technology to text corpora.

Credits info

The Summer School cannot grant credits. We only deliver a Certificate of attendance, i.e. we certify your presence

If you consider using Summer School workshops to obtain credits (ECTS), you will have to investigate at your home institution (contact the person/institute responsible for your degree) to find out whether they recognize the Summer School, how many credits can be earned from a workshop/course with roughly 35 hours of teaching, no graded work, and no exams.

Make sure to investigate this matter before registering, if this is important to you.

Fee info

CHF 700: Reduced fee: 700 Swiss Francs per weekly workshop for students (requires proof of student status).
These fees includes also participation in one of the preliminary workshops (two-day workshop preceding the Summer School).
To qualify for the reduced fee, you are required to send a copy of an official document that certifies your current student status or a letter from your supervisor stating your actual position as a doctoral or postdoctoral student. Send this letter/document by e-mail to methodssummerschool@usi.ch.
CHF 1100: Normal fee: 1100 Swiss Francs per weekly workshop for all others.
These fees includes also participation in one of the preliminary workshops (two-day workshop preceding the Summer School).

Scholarships

As the Summer School is financed through participant’s fees alone and has no funds of its own, it cannot offer any scholarship, grants or financial aid.