An Improved Method of Automated Nonparametric Content Analysis for Social Science

Citation:

Connor T. Jerzak, Gary King, and Anton Strezhnev. Working Paper. “An Improved Method of Automated Nonparametric Content Analysis for Social Science”. Copy at http://j.mp/2DyLYxL
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An Improved Method of Automated Nonparametric Content Analysis for Social Science

Abstract:

Some scholars build models to classify documents into chosen categories. Others, especially social scientists who tend to focus on population characteristics, instead usually estimate the proportion of documents in each category -- using either parametric "classify-and-count" methods or "direct" nonparametric estimation of proportions without individual classification. Unfortunately, classify-and-count methods can be highly model dependent or generate more bias in the proportions even as the percent of documents correctly classified increases. Direct estimation avoids these problems, but can suffer when the meaning of language changes between training and test sets or is too similar across categories. We develop an improved direct estimation approach without these issues by including and optimizing continuous text features, along with a form of matching adapted from the causal inference literature. Our approach substantially improves performance in a diverse collection of 73 data sets. We also offer easy-to-use software software that implements all ideas discussed herein.

Last updated on 11/11/2019