Data tools: Analysis of big data involving text mining


Big data – any set of data that has high velocity, volume, and variety, also known as the 3Vs (Davenport & Dyche, 2013; Fox & Do 2013, Podesta, Pritzker, Moniz, Holdren, & Zients, 2014).

Text mining – a process that involves discovering implicit knowledge from unstructured textual data (Gera & Goel, 2015; Hashimi & Hafez, 2015; Nassirtoussi Aghabozorgi, Wah, & Ngo, 2015).

Case study: Basole, Seuss, and Rouse (2013). IT innovation adoption by enterprises: Knowledge discovery through text analytics.

The goal of this study was to use text mining techniques on 472 quality peer reviewed articles that spanned 30 years of knowledge (1977-2008).  The selection criteria for the articles were based on articles focused on the adoption of IT innovation; focused on the enterprise, organization, or firm; rigorous research methods; and publishable leading journals.  The reason to go through all this analysis is to prove the usefulness of text analytics for literature reviews.  In 2016, most literature reviews contain recent literature from the last five years, and in certain fields, it may not just be useful to focus on the last five years.  Extending the literature search beyond this 5-year period, requires a ton of attention and manual labor, which makes the already literature an even more time-consuming endeavor than before. So, the author’s question is to see if it is possible to use text mining to conduct a more thorough review of the body of knowledge that expands beyond just the typical five years on any subject matter.  They argue that the time it takes to conduct this tedious task could benefit from automation.  However, this should be thought of as a first pass through the literature review. Thinking of this regarding a first pass allows for the generation of new research questions and a generation of ideas, which drives more future analysis.In the end, the study was able to conclude that cost and complexity were two of the most frequent determinants of IT innovation adoption from the perspective of an IT department.  Other determinants for IT departments were the complexity, capability, and relative advantage of the innovation.  However, when going up one level of extraction to the enterprise/organizational level, the perceived benefits and usefulness were the main determinants of IT innovation.  Ease of use of the technology was a big deal for the organization.  When comparing, IT innovation with costs there was a negative correlation between the two, while IT innovation has a positive correlation to organization size and top management support.

How was big data analytics learned, taught, and used in the case study?

The research approach for this study was: (1) Document Identification and extraction, (2) document classification and coding, (3) document analysis and knowledge discovery (key terms, co-occurrence), and (4) research gap identification.

Analysis of the data consisted of classifying the data into four time periods (bins): 1988-1979; 1980-1989; 1990-1999; and 2000-2008 and use of a classification scheme based on existing taxonomies (case study, content analysis, field experiment, field study, frameworks and conceptual model, interview, laboratory experiment, literature analysis, mathematical model, qualitative research, secondary data, speculation/commentary, and survey).  Data was also classified by their functional discipline (Information systems and computer science, decision science, management and organization sciences, economics, and innovation) and finally by IT innovation (software, hardware, networking infrastructure, and the tool’s IT term catalog). This study used a tool called Northernlight (

The hopes of this study are to use the bag-of-words technique and word proximity to other words (or their equivalents) to help extract meaning from a large set of text-based documents.  Bag-of-words technique is known for counting and identifying key terms and phrases, which help uncover themes.  The simplest way of thinking of the bag-of-words technique is word frequencies in a document.

However, understanding the meaning behind the themes means studying the context in which the words are located in, and relating them amongst other themes, also called co-occurrence of terms.  The best way of doing this meaning extraction is to measure the strength/distance between the themes.  Finally, the researcher in this study can set minimums, maximums that can enhance the meaning extraction algorithm to garner insights into IT innovation, while reducing the overall noise in the final results. The researchers set the following rules for co-occurrences between themes:

  • There are approximately 40 words per sentence
  • There are approximately 150 words per paragraph

How could this implementation of big data have been improved upon?

Goldbloom (2016) stated that using big data techniques (machine learning) is best on big data that requires classifying and it breaks down when the task is too small and specialized, therefore prime for only human analysis.  This study only looked at 427 articles, is this considered big enough for analysis, or should the analysis go back through multiple years beyond just the 30 years (Basole et al., 2013).  What is considered big data in 2013 (the time of this study), may not be big data in 2023 (Fox & Do, 2013).

Mei & Zhai (2005), observed how terms and term frequencies evolved over time and graphed it by year, rather than binning the data into four different groups as in Basole et al. (2013).  This case study could have shown how cost and complexity in IT innovation changed over time.  Graphing the results similar to Mei & Zhai (2005) and Yoon and Song (2014) would also allow for an analysis of IT innovation themes and if each of these themes is in an Introduction, Growth, Majority, or Decline mode.


  • Basole, R. C., Seuss, C. D., & Rouse, W. B. (2013). IT innovation adoption by enterprises: Knowledge discovery through text analytics. Decision Support Systems, 54, 1044-1054. Retrieved from
  • Davenport, T. H., & Dyche, J. (2013). Big Data in Big Companies. International Institute for Analytics, (May), 1–31.
  • Fox, S., & Do, T. (2013). Getting real about Big Data: applying critical realism to analyse Big Data hype. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 6(4), 739–760.
  • Gera, M., & Goel, S. (2015). Data Mining-Techniques, Methods and Algorithms: A Review on Tools and their Validity. International Journal of Computer Applications, 113(18), 22–29.
  • Goldbloom, A. (2016). The jobs we’ll lose to machines –and the ones we won’t. TED. Retrieved from
  • Hashimi, H., & Hafez, A. (2015). Selection criteria for text mining approaches. Computers in Human Behavior, 51, 729–733.
  • Mei, Q., & Zhai, C. (2005). Discovering evolutionary theme patterns from text: an exploration of temporal text mining. Proceedings of the Eleventh ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery in Data Mining, 198–207.
  • Nassirtoussi, A. K., Aghabozorgi, S., Wah, T. Y., & Ngo, D. C. L. (2015). Text-mining of news-headlines for FOREX market prediction: a multi-layer dimension reduction algorithm with semantics and sentiment. Expert Systems with Applications42(1), 306-324.
  • Podesta, J., Pritzker, P., Moniz, E. J., Holdren, J., & Zients, J. (2014). Big Data: Seizing Opportunities. Executive Office of the President of USA, 1–79.
  • Yoon, B., & Song, B. (2014). A systematic approach of partner selection for open innovation. Industrial Management & Data Systems, 114(7), 1068.