Connecting the Dots: Information Visualization and Text Analysis of the Searchlight Project Newsletters

February 2012 (36 pages)
ISBN: 978-1-936727-05-6
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Searchlight Pardee Report cover imageThis report is the product of the Pardee Center’s work on the Searchlight:Visualization and Analysis of Trend Data project sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation. Part of a larger effort to analyze and disseminate on-the-ground information about important societal trends as reported in a large number of regional newsletters developed in Asia, Africa and the Americas specifically for the Foundation, the Pardee Center developed sophisticated methods to systematically review, categorize, analyze, visualize, and draw conclusions from the information in the newsletters.

Connecting the Dots describes the methodology the Pardee team used to review the reports and translate qualitative information into quantitative data using techniques such as sentiment tracking and visual presentation methods including treemaps, histograms, and dashboards. It also identifies and discusses global trends of significance to the future drawn from the regional newsletters, including:

* Differing perceptions of the issues created by climate change between industrialized and developing countries, and how the issues are described, discussed, and ultimately addressed.

* Specific trends in the large urban areas of South Asia versus southern Africa as they deal with rapidly increasing populations and related social and economic ramifications.

* An overall trend of “social resiliency” in the developing world, and the specific factors supporting this trend.

The research was led by Pardee Faculty Fellow Suchi Gopal and former Pardee Center Director Adil Najam. Prof. Gopal is the lead author of the report.

More information about the Pardee Center’s work on this project is available in the research section of this web site.