A Qualitative Analysis Framework Using Natural Language Processing and Graph Theory

Patrick J. Tierney, The International Review of Research in Open, Distance Learning, Jan 06, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Graph theory is the mathematics that describes network structures and properties. In this interesting paper, graph theory is used to analyze natural language. It is represented by the author as a way of capturing qualitative properties using quantitative methods. The technique "has the potential to substantially reduce the amount of time required to analyze qualitative data and to assist in the discovery of themes that might not have otherwise been detected." It is this sort of approach, applied across large quantities of student work posted publicly, and compared with that of other students, that I believe will in the long term enable open assessment and recognition of student work to become possible.

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