14 May 2024

Dr Hurtado Bodell successfully defended her dissertation “Mining for Meaning: Using Computational Text Analysis for Social Inquiry” on 13 May, 2024. This marks the first Ph.D. completion within our research environment.

Three glad persons celebrating.
Dr Hurtado Bodell (in the middle) with her supervisors Marc Keuschnigg, Måns Magnusson.

Dr. Hurtado Bodell's research addresses pressing issues in sociology, particularly in the realm of text analysis and interpretation. Her work aims to develop more formal methods for measuring meaning in textual data, contributing significantly to ongoing discussions in the field.

Explaining how people’s interpretations emerge and change over time remains a fundamental and open question in the social sciences. For a long time, people’s interpretations of the world have been hidden away in their minds, and researchers have mainly relied on surveys and small-scale interviews to try to measure them. However, people leave traces of their understanding of the world as they communicate and express themselves in written language.

The thesis, accessible for download here, outlines three primary objectives:

  • Discussing the utility of text data in social inquiry.
  • Introducing and exploring interpretable text models for sociological research.
  • Investigating meaning-making processes within the Swedish immigration discourse.

The thesis has been supervised by Marc Keuschnigg, Måns Magnusson, and Peter Hedström. We thank Laura K. Nelson (University of British Columbia) for taking the role of opponent and the members of the grading committee Ozan Aksoy (University College London), Hernan Mondani (Umeå University), Viktoria Spaiser (University of Leeds), and Andrea Voyer (Stockhom University) for making this dissertation a success.

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