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Corpus-based dictionaries for sentiment analysis of specialized vocabularies

Douglas R. Rice and Christopher Zorn

Political Science Research and Methods, 2021, vol. 9, issue 1, 20-35

Abstract: Contemporary dictionary-based approaches to sentiment analysis exhibit serious validity problems when applied to specialized vocabularies, but human-coded dictionaries for such applications are often labor-intensive and inefficient to develop. We demonstrate the validity of “minimally-supervised” approaches for the creation of a sentiment dictionary from a corpus of text drawn from a specialized vocabulary. We demonstrate the validity of this approach in estimating sentiment from texts in a large-scale benchmarking dataset recently introduced in computational linguistics, and demonstrate the improvements in accuracy of our approach over well-known standard (nonspecialized) sentiment dictionaries. Finally, we show the usefulness of our approach in an application to the specialized language used in US federal appellate court decisions.

Date: 2021
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