Category (Topical) Analysis

Document Overview & Resources

This document provides a general overview of Netlytic’s text (categories) analysis features. Please use this link to download the PDF version Netlytic Categories.

Additional Documentation:


Spatial and temporal categories including: size, shape, touch, time, quantity, sound, taste, feelings (good), feelings (bad), condition, and appearance were added to Netlytic from adjective lists that were found online on: an online social media forum, and an ESL teaching aid (Gee Whiz Labs Inc., 2011; Zozanga, 2011). An adjective is a word that modifies a noun or pronoun by describing, identifying, or quantifying the noun or pronoun (MacFadyen, n.d.). The addition of categorized adjectives to Netlytic will be useful to researchers exploring a number of different datasets. Researchers may wish to explore how many ‘good’ feeling adjectives versus ‘bad’ feeling adjectives are used when describing an event such an election. Or, they may wish to determine whether people use similar appearance based descriptors when describing an individual, and whether their use of descriptors change based on their viewpoint. For example, do Conservatives and Liberals describe Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s appearance in the same manner?

Adjective based research in an understudied field. Some past research includes: a study entitled: The Conceptualization of God as seen in Adjective Ratings, and a study involving mood adjective check lists to understand mood changes (Gorsuch, 1968; Nowlis, 1965). Another article that involves adjective based research is entitled: A Big Five Scoring System for the Item Pool of the Adjective Check List and utilizes an adjective check list to determine personality based characteristics associated with target groups such as: men, women, young adults, old adults, etcetera (Formyduval, et al., 1995).


Figure 1: Example of Netlytic Categories Visualization

Create/Edit Cognitive and Metacognitive Categories

The Create/Edit Categories feature allows a user to define different categories of words/phrases/patterns and then automatically count how many instances of each words/phrases/patterns exist within a dataset. With this feature, the user can create unique categories based on well established cognitive and metacognitive processes  such as decision-making, problem-solving, questions-answering, etc (See Figure 7). These cognitive and metacognitive processes can be use to study how members of a group are interacting with each other, the nature of their relationships or interactions (are community members happy, friendly and supportive; or are they angry, hostile and disrespectful to each other) and how strong their relationships are relative to each other. 

To customize the categories, click the orange “create/edit categories” button. The next screen will display all of the categories at the top. This list will include all of the demo categories automatically used in Netlytic and any additional ones that are created. Here at the top you can disable or enable each category by click on the red “x”. If you scroll down to any category there will be several words/phrases/concepts listed below. Using an algorithm to detect word placement within sentence structure, Netlytic will use this list (categories and associated words/phrases/concepts) to determine which category a message falls under.

To add in a new category, type in the category name you would like to use in the top text bar and click “add new category”. To add in a new word/phrase/concept, scroll down to the chosen category and type in the new word in the text box, then click “add new term”.

Once the categories have been finalized you will need to reanalyze to apply any new changes to the dataset.


Formyduval, D.L., Williams, J.E., Patterson, D.J., Fogle, E.E. (1995). A big five scoring system for the item pool of the adjective check list. Journal of Personality Assessment, 65(1), 59-76.

Gee Whiz Labs Inc. (2011). Adjective list. Retrieved from:

Gorsuch, R.L. (1968). The conceptualization of God as seen in adjective ratings. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 7(1), 56-64.

MacFayden, H. (n.d.). What is an adjective? The University of Ottawa. Retrieved from:

Nowlis, V. (1965). Research with the mood adjective check list. In Tompkins, S.S. & Izard, C.E. (eds.), Affect, cognition, and personality: Empirical studies (464). Oxford: Springer.

Zozanga, (2011). List of English adjectives. Retrieved from:

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