ask a scatterbrain: what four words best describe you

My wife is working on analyzing the results of an instrument that included “what four words best describe you?”. So for each questionnaire, there are four free-form words that the subjects (generally, adolescent patients in clinics) put down. They’re looking for a coding schema for categorizing these words–anything come to mind? Any advice?

Author: andrewperrin

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

7 thoughts on “ask a scatterbrain: what four words best describe you”

  1. Descriptions of emotional states, physical states and descriptions of abilities, with a second dimension to capture if the words are positive or negative descriptions.

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  2. I’d probably be a little inductive about this sort of thing. I’d try some word counts first, just to obtain relative frequencies. It’ll tell you what sorts of things appear a lot and deserve categories. Then you work on the theory that might be relevant to the things that are mentioned.

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  3. If these were continuous variables, I would suggest a factor analysis to identify latent dimensions under which the words could be grouped. Guillermo

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