US Presidential campaign wordpiles

What's on your mind?
What's on your mind?
The Boston Globe did a ‘Wordpile’ analysis of both Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama’s websites and generated some fascinating graphics. Check out the original here. There’s lots one could say about these graphics — the Globe only highlights a few of the fascinating terms, and I’d want to try to chase down the context of a few that show up prominently because they look pretty ambiguous — but some factors stand out clear as day. The most obvious is that ‘Obama’ is the most mentioned word on both blogs. ‘Veeeery inturusting…’

The reason I bring this visual up though is that I found it a fascinating, graphically powerful way to present a basic qualitative-quantitative bit of research. Although I’m intrigued by research tools like nVivo and Atlas.ti, I sometimes wish that there were richer ways to present the data. This ‘Wordpile’ output is rich enough to put on a t-shirt! I’ll have to find some way to integrate it into my seminars on hybrid research methods.

And if anyone knows where I can lay my hands on the software or script to generate this sort of thing, please send along the link. A quick search didn’t give me anything, and I don’t want to sit in my office all Friday obsessing about this.

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Trained as a cultural anthropologist at the University of Chicago, I have gone on to do fieldwork in Brazil and the United States. I have written one book, Learning Capoeira: Lessons in Cunning from an Afro-Brazilian Art (Oxford, 2005). I have also co-authored and co-edited several, including, with Dr. Daniel Lende, The Encultured Brain: An Introduction to Neuroanthropology (MIT, 2012), and with Dr. Melissa Fisher, Frontiers of Capital: Ethnographic Reflections on the New Economy (Duke, 2006). My research interests include neuroanthropology, psychological anthropology, sport, dance, human rights, neuroscience, phenomenology, economic anthropology, and just about anything else that catches my attention.

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