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Conceptual Frequency Curve

Conceptual frequency curves are visual representations of the strength of particular concepts within a body of text. Their ability to convey conceptual prevalence make these visualizations particularly useful for comparative analysis between different sets of text-based data. Accordingly, we have created this interactive visualization for the purposes of MC3 case study comparison, helping us identify commonalities and differences in community climate action drivers, influences, and barriers. The frequency curve uses the MC3 coding framework to identify key concepts and arranges these concepts on the x-axis from most to least prevalent as they appear in the entire body of MC3 research. Case comparisons are made possible through plotting conceptual frequencies for each of the case studies.

The aim of this visualization was to capture conceptual strength, which requires two considerations:

  • how to capture relative strength (rather than abundance) of a concept,
  • and how to capture the strength of a concept, rather than a word.

The relative strength of a concept refers to the occurrence of a concept in relation to the amount of data in which it is situated (in this case, the concept analyzed relative to the respective body data collected for community under analysis). Relative values allow one to see how central a concept is to a case, as it ensures that the concept’s occurrence is not simply a function of the amount of data or text collected. For the latter consideration (differentiating between ‘concept’ and ‘word’), coding was done to collect like terms and ideas to ensure that the output represented conceptual relationships, rather than using frequencies that just ‘match letters’. In addition, frequency values were determined by examining the occurrence of a concept in a statement (estimated by average sentence lengths) to reduce the influence that non-conceptual words (i.e., grammatical terms, such as prepositions and articles) had on the calculations.

We encourage you to explore the conceptual frequency curve using the scroll bar and arrow buttons located below the visualization. Individual curves can be highlighted by clicking their respective names in the legend. Click anywhere on the plotting area to un-highlight and restore the full visualization.


Click here to return to the MC3 visualizations page.