AI for Qualitative Impact Evaluation

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How Artificial Intelligence can be used to analyse Qualitative Data for Impact Evaluation

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a sub-field of artificial intelligence that allows computers to process, understand and interpret natural human languages such as text and speech. Current approaches to NLP are based on machine learning (ML)  such as examining patterns in natural language data, and using these patterns to improve a computer program’s language comprehension. 

Impact Evaluations are mostly based on quantitative data. Questionnaires, institutional data end so on, are used to statistically estimate the effect of a given program.

On the other hand there are aspects that quantitative data cannot capture. Qualitative data can provide deep insights into how programs or policies work or fail to work and more compelling accounts of success and failure. It can be challenging, however, to know what to do with the data generated from qualitative approaches for a number of reasons:

-volume of material

-numerous possible ways of analyzing it


-difficult to reasonably disseminate findings end results.

In this perspective, Natural Language Processing becomes a valuable tool to automatically extract clear information from a huge amount of text end highlights key aspects of the effects of the program as reported by the participants. NLP can be used to make the most out of text data and to automatically gather the following set of valuable information/outcomes.

  • Categorising content
    This means that the major keywords of the text are identified in order to group documents by similarity .
  • Writing a summary of the text
    Make a short summary from a text of a bigger volume.
  • Sentimental analysis
    Identify what kind of mood the author or speaker was in when producing the text, or what their general opinion is. This can be determined from vocabulary and grammatical structures used in the text.
  • Syntactic analysis
    By analysing syntactic structures and words of the text together can help determine when and where the text was produced.
  • Semantic analysis
    Semantic analysis allows to understand the interpretation and meaning of words and the way sentences are structured.

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