Santhanam, E., Lynch, B. & Jones, JL. (2018). Making sense of student feedback using text analysis – Adapting and expanding a common lexicon. Quality Assurance in Education,26(1), 60-69. United Kingdom: Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1108/QAE-11-2016-0062
This paper aims to report the findings of a study into the automated text analysis of student feedback comments to assist in investigating a high volume of qualitative information at various levels in an Australian university. It includes the drawbacks and advantages of using selected applications and established lexicons. There has been an emphasis on the analysis of the statistical data collected using student surveys of learning and teaching, while the qualitative comments provided by students are often not systematically scrutinised. Student comments are important, as they provide a level of detail and insight that are imperative to quality assurance practices.
The paper outlines the process by which the institution researched, developed and implemented the automated analysis of student qualitative comments in surveys of units and teaching.
The findings indicated that there are great benefits in implementing this automated process, particularly in the analysis of evaluation data for units with large enrolments. The analysis improved efficiency in the interpretation of student comments. However, a degree of human intervention is still required in creating reports that are meaningful and relevant to the context.
This paper is unique in its examination of one institution’s journey in developing a process to support academics staff in interpreting and understanding student comments provided in surveys of units and teaching.
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