NB: This is a draft document only. I have shifted the output to another site, because wordpress.com does not allow the presentation of live Voyant outputs.
The following windows present ways of “reading” the CLO files for the Departmental Self-Study using Voyant Tools, a text analysis program developed by two Canadian humanists: Geoffrey Rockwell and Stefan Sinclair. Each window is interactive. You can explore the data sets by hovering your mouse over words to find out raw numbers, and you can also change the analysis criteria (and even the visualization tool), if you wish — and if you want to work with Voyant Tools.
Even without spending any time to learn about Voyant Tools, you should be able to get a sense of the visualizations and their significance quite quickly. For each tool I have tried to link a set of basic instructions (but they are not loading from the Voyant homepage as of 10 June).
The Cirrus (aka word cloud) is the most basic visualization. We used it in the last Self-Study, but I don’t think it is the most useful, because it treats all the data as if they were in one big file.
The ScatterPlot shows how terms from our CLO documents cluster by year of instruction. You might have to view this frame in its own window to make it useful. Once you do so, you’ll probably find it to be much more valuable than a word cloud.
I find the TermsRadio to be one of the most helpful of the visualizations in Voyant for our purposes. It shows the trends in the frequency of keywords by year of instruction. Larger terms near the top of each column are more frequent for that year, while smaller ones near the bottom are less frequent (but still significant enough to show up among the 50 most frequent terms). One of the surprises for me from this visualization is that “analysis” diminishes in frequency of use in our 4th-year CLOs.
Note: If you would like to expand any of the windows, or change tools, you might need a quick introduction to Voyant. For this, I hope the instructions that Danny and I have prepared for our students in 2F90 will serve as a useful guide. See http://brockuhistory.ca/ebooks/hist2f90/workshop-2 and http://brockuhistory.ca/ebooks/hist2f90/advanced-voyant-workshop-1 (but do this only if you want to learn the nuts and bolts of the program). For a more conceptually advanced discussion of text analysis, see https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/hermeneutica (a book by Sinclair and Rockwell), and the companion website (which I can’t find at the moment).
Here is a note about how I (Mike D.) prepared the data set. I first deleted all of the basic, repeated explanations that were the same in each table, and then I combined all the files for each year into a Word document. I then uploaded the resulting four files