Automating Content Analysis of Open-Ended Responses: Wordscores and Affective Intonation

Young Min Baek, Joseph N. Cappella, Alyssa Bindman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This study presents automated methods for predicting valence and quantifying valenced thoughts of a text. First, it examines whether Wordscores, developed by Laver, Benoit, and Garry (2003), can be adapted to reliably predict the valence of open-ended responses in a survey about bioethical issues in genetics research, and then tests a complementary and novel technique for coding the number of valenced thoughts in open-ended responses, termed Affective Intonation. Results show that Wordscores successfully predicts the valence of brief and grammatically imperfect open-ended responses, and Affective Intonation achieves comparable performance to human coders when estimating number of valenced thoughts. Both Wordscores and Affective Intonation have promise as reliable, effective, and efficient methods when researchers content-analyze large amounts of textual data systematically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-296
Number of pages22
JournalCommunication Methods and Measures
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Oct

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication


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