Academic Research

  • Working Paper

    Concept-Guided Chain-of-Thought Prompting for Pairwise Comparison Scaling of Texts with Large Language Models

    Working Paper, October 2023

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    Existing text scaling methods often require a large corpus, struggle with short texts, or require labeled data. We develop a text scaling method that leverages the pattern recognition capabilities of generative large language models (LLMs). Specifically, we propose concept-guided chain-of-thought (CGCoT), which uses prompts designed to summarize ideas and identify target parties in texts to generate concept-specific breakdowns, in many ways similar to guidance for human coder content analysis. CGCoT effectively shifts pairwise text comparisons from a reasoning problem to a pattern recognition problem. We then pairwise compare concept-specific breakdowns using an LLM. We use the results of these pairwise comparisons to estimate a scale using the Bradley-Terry model. We use this approach to scale affective speech on Twitter. Our measures correlate more strongly with human judgments than alternative approaches like Wordfish. Besides a small set of pilot data to develop the CGCoT prompts, our measures require no additional labeled data and produce binary predictions comparable to a RoBERTa-Large model fine-tuned on thousands of human-labeled tweets. We demonstrate how combining substantive knowledge with LLMs can create state-of-the-art measures of abstract concepts.

    Date Posted

    Oct 18, 2023

  • Book

    Computational Social Science for Policy and Quality of Democracy: Public Opinion, Hate Speech, Misinformation, and Foreign Influence Campaigns

    Handbook of Computational Social Science for Policy, 2023

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    The intersection of social media and politics is yet another realm in which Computational Social Science has a paramount role to play. In this review, I examine the questions that computational social scientists are attempting to answer – as well as the tools and methods they are developing to do so – in three areas where the rise of social media has led to concerns about the quality of democracy in the digital information era: online hate; misinformation; and foreign influence campaigns. I begin, however, by considering a precursor of these topics – and also a potential hope for social media to be able to positively impact the quality of democracy – by exploring attempts to measure public opinion online using Computational Social Science methods. In all four areas, computational social scientists have made great strides in providing information to policy makers and the public regarding the evolution of these very complex phenomena but in all cases could do more to inform public policy with better access to the necessary data; this point is discussed in more detail in the conclusion of the review.

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