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ADAPT Centre for Digital Content Technology analyse Irish General Election activity

16 Feb 2016

Researchers at the ADAPT Centre for Digital Content Technology are working with RTE to monitor and analyse activity on Twitter related to the 2016 Irish General Election. The system that has been developed within ADAPT can quickly track the volume of tweets and gauge reaction and sentiment from the tweets in relation to election topics, parties and candidates. The project presents a graphical analysis of tweets that can be filtered by party or candidate allowing the user quickly understand and gain insights into the conversations on election topics taking place on Twitter.

The research team developed a system that harvests and filters tweets using the main party hashtags, candidate twitter handles, names, and expected election topics along with associated keywords and synonyms. This information is then presented in a series of graphs highlighting top issues, candidate mentions, party mentions, and sentiment to government and opposition parties. Tweets can be filtered by date, party and candidate in any combination.

The lead Principal Investigator on the project was Professor Séamus Lawless from the ADAPT Centre at Trinity College Dublin’s School of Computer Science and Statistics. Professor Lawless led a team consisting of Motasim Alsayed, Haithem Afli, and Matthew Nicholson.

ADAPT research addresses industry problems and real-world challenges as well as progressing the state-of-the-art in digital content technology. Professor Séamus Lawless heads up Social Media Analysis within ADAPT. This area involves the analysis of content and relationships in social media platforms, analysing populations of users who are engaged in conversations both with each other and with the enterprise. This area focuses on the detection and tracking of user behaviour that may represent opportunities for, or risks to, the enterprise and other users.

Sentiment Analysis

The ADAPT developed ‘SentiWordsTweet’ tool enables automatic sentiment classification of Tweets using opinion lexicons that associate sentiment polarity for words. Sentiment is scored positive, negative or objective. Using opinion lexicons in opinion mining research stems from the hypothesis that individual words can be considered as a unit of opinion information. The word is them classed positive if it has more entries where the positive score is greater than negative score; negative if it has more entries where the negative score is greater than the positive score; and neutral when there is no variation between positive and negative. To ensure the scoring was accurate, new strong positive and negative lexicons were extracted from 40,000 tweets related to the Election in Ireland along with a new technique for scoring using an exponential weighting of the tweet words.

ADAPT is a Science Foundation Ireland funded research centre focusing on digital content technology. The centre is hosted by Trinity College Dublin’s School of Computer Science and Statistics and combines the world-class expertise of researchers at Dublin City University, University College Dublin and Dublin Institute of Technology.

For media queries contact

Olivia Waters, Marketing and Communications Manager at ADAPT, or phone 087 9153599.

Science Foundation Ireland
Niamh Bradley or Alva O’Cleirigh
01-6073228/086-0271744 or 01 607 3249/087-9152553 or

About ADAPT Centre for Digital Content Technology
ADAPT, the Centre for Digital Content Technology, provides a partnership between academia and industry in the field of digital content technology, leading on ground-breaking innovations in areas such as localization, social media analysis, multimodal interaction, intelligent content and media, and informal and formal learning.
Funded by Science Foundation Ireland, the centre is led out of Trinity College Dublin and combines the world-class expertise of researchers at Dublin City University, University College Dublin and Dublin Institute of Technology.

ADAPT has significant commercial expertise, having generated 7 spinout companies, multiple licenses and a large number of applied research collaborations. ADAPT’s unique Design & Innovation Lab works with companies to bridge research and technology to enhance commercial success.

ADAPT is supported by organisations such as Aol, Acrolinx, Cisco, Commetric, eBay, FBD, Huawei, iFlytek, Xcelerator, Intel, Microsoft, Moravia, Novartis, PayPal, Symantec, Sajan, VistaTEC, Xanadu, WeLocalize.

About Science Foundation Ireland
Science Foundation Ireland funds oriented basic and applied research in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) which promotes and assists the development and competitiveness of industry, enterprise and employment in Ireland. The Foundation also promotes and supports the study of, education in and engagement with, STEM and promotes an awareness and understanding of the value of STEM to society and in particular to the growth of the economy.

Posted by Catherine O'Connor, Head of External Relations, School of Computer Science and Statistics at Trinity College Dublin.