Text as Data Methods for Education Research

Year of Publication: 
Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness

Recent advances in computational linguistics and the social sciences have created new opportunities for the education research community to analyze relevant large-scale text data. However, the take-up of these advances in education research is still nascent. In this paper, we review the recent automated text methods relevant to educational processes and determinants. We discuss both lexical-based and supervised methods, which expand the scale of text that researchers can analyze, as well as unsupervised methods, which allow researchers to discover new themes in their data. To illustrate these methods, we analyze the text interactions from a field experiment in the discussion forums of online classes. Our application shows that respondents provide less assistance and discuss slightly different topics with the randomized female posters, but respond with similar levels of positive and negative sentiment. These results demonstrate that combining qualitative coding with machine learning techniques can provide for a rich understanding of text-based interactions.

APA Citation

Fesler, L., Dee, T., Baker, R., & Evans, B. (Forthcoming). Text as Data Methods for Education Research. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness