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Content clouds as exploratory qualitative data analysis

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Abstract

This article proposes the use of content clouds as a method of exploratory qualitative data analysis. Content clouds are a type of visualisation that summarises the contents of a document by depicting the words that appear most often in larger, darker type within the cloud. When utilised as a form of qualitative GIS, content clouds provide a powerful way to summarise and compare information from different places on a single issue. Two examples using different types of documents and differently-scaled environmental issues demonstrate the possible utility of this method in summarising qualitative data and suggesting avenues for research.

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