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Project 16: OpinionWatch Analysis

Social Change Online were engaged to use ‘OpinionWatch’ technology developed by Australia’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Centre of Excellence (NICTA), this project applied sentiment analysis techniques to provide a fresh perspective on the trends in the views and comments presented to the taskforce through both formal submissions and a range of online engagement channels used by the taskforce.

Author Comment

In essence our report 

  1. labels the topics raised in GOV2 Taskforce submissions and
  2. represents the sentiment and subjectivity of the commentary on those topics

using the “OpinionWatch” toolset from NICTA.

The semantic analysis that has distilled the topics from the GOV2 Taskforce submissions provides a useful index to contributors content.  The sentiment and subjectivity analysis (i.e. sentiment for or against the content of a topic) is an “at a glance” indicator of community support for the content of submissions.

The report provides an analytical snapshot of the topics in the GOV2 submissions, however, there is much value in the ability monitor topics and sentiment dynamically.  The “OpinionWatch” user interface (out of scope for this engagement due to time constraints) would have provided “time poor” reviewers of the GOV2 website with the ability to efficiently navigate to the content of submissions via topics of interest,; or investigate the commentary by sentiment.  This could be expected to stimulate wider community involvement.  It is believed this type of user interface would have been of value during the consultative phases of the GOV2 project and other investigations of public policy and strategies.  This project demonstrates a web based capability which facilitates community involvement and understanding.  It also provides the inquiring body with a concise, objective measure of those contributions.

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