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Petteri Repo, Kaisa Matschoss, Päivi Timonen


University of Helsinki, Finland


There are increasing calls for engaging citizens in the development of future outlooks. At the same time, large-scale public engagement activities warrant appropriate methods for analyzing their outcomes. This paper reviews how topic modeling could provide such a methodology, which both accounts for all textual data collected in public engagement activities, however large in scope, yet also allows for meaningful topical analysis. It compares topic modeling results concerning a corpus of 179 citizen visions from 30 European countries on desirable and sustainable futures to those acquired through deliberative analysis. While both methodologies contend that European citizens’ outlook consists of education, sustainability in the economy, health concerns, and fairness in communities, and the particular strengths of topic modeling relate to its documentability, repeatability, cost efficiency, and scalability. Topic modeling can also be considered to support public engagement analytically from the perspective of knowledge formation rather than that of common sense. from exhaustible resources must be compared to the potential damage to the tourism sector, which has been a long-standing economic driving force for the archipelago.


Topic modeling, citizen visions, deliberation, public engagement, European research and innovation programs

Cite this paper

Sociology Study, May 2017, Vol. 7, No. 5, 246-262


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