Data Visualisation, Gamification & Text Analysis

In September a couple of us from Marketing Sciences attended The Association of Survey Computing (ASC) conference held over 2 days at the University of Winchester. We were very lucky that this was being held on our doorstep as some of the delegates had travelled from as far as Sydney to attend!  The topics discussed were Gamification, Text analysis and Data visualisation.  I am going to share my thoughts here on our blog for the talks from the key speakers.

Gamification – We’ve all seen it before, that question block of yes/no answers down a list of statements/brands as long as the page. Or a comprehensive list of statements on a satisfaction scale that seemingly goes on forever…

How reliable do we think the data achieved from this is? How well are we utilising the time of these respondents to engage with the survey?

These are just a few questions that Jon Puleston from GMI spoke about in his talk regarding gamification. Jon argued that gamification is an umbrella term widely used now, but that to him it meant the ‘de-borification’ of research.   Whilst this phrase was meant in jest, his message was very serious that research should be more rewarding to respondents. In order to achieve this, Jon suggested a transformation of traditional survey questions into a series of tasks/games that are rewarding. Jon was able to provide evidence to show that not only did this increase accuracy of response, but also increased the amount of time taken to engage with a question/game when compared with a traditional survey format.

Data visualisation – Tobias Sturt and Adam Frost from the Guardian took us through what makes a good infographic, as well as the pitfalls. I particularly enjoyed this talk, as this is an area where every researcher can improve their skills. We’re certainly working with  infographics more and more, with an increasing number of clients requesting these. After all, as Tobias & Adam informed us:

“50% of your brain is devoted to visual processing, 70% of sensory receptors are in your eyes, colour graphics increase the willingness to read is increased by 80% – we are visual animals

Text analysis – After a much needed black coffee early on the Saturday morning, the conference reconvened with a very engaging talk from Dr Fabrizio Sebastiani about machine learning & text classification. The discussion revolved around the accuracy of the latest computer systems used to assist in coding verbatim text. Also discussed were ways of measuring accuracy and he highlighted the importance of human intervention to increase accuracy of coding. This sparked a strong debate with some of the other speakers talking about their own methods with emphasis on how their methods offered the best option. However, all were aligned that the role of the researcher is crucial to the validity & accuracy of the process.

All in all, we found the talks very engaging and content very applicable. So much so, that more of us will be attending in the future!

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Owen Bigwood
01962 842211
Article date - 08/11/2013
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