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Public Opinion Barometer: How to Aggregate and Analyze Fragmented Online Information

April 1, 2013
12:00PM - 01:30PM

Annenberg School for Communication, Room 500
3620 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, 19104

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Categories: Seminar

Public opinion barometer:

How to aggregate and analyze fragmented online information

Dr. Guoming Yu

School of Journalism and Communication, Renmin University of China

April, 1st, 2013

 Baidu (www.baidu.com), as the top Chinese web services company, covers more than 95% of internet users in China. There are more than 4 billion search requests via Baidu every day. The huge quantity of keyword searches on Baidu reflects the genuine needs of Chinese internet users and the characteristics of their information-seeking behaviors. It may also depict the reality of the society, the economy, the culture and people’s daily lives in China. In a sense, the search terms on Baidu have become a good reference for the changing trends of social development and public opinion in China.

However, lacking systematic analysis, these search terms may only sporadically reflect the development of Chinese society and thus cannot help scholars see the whole picture and make future predictions. Their potential needs to be further and better explored. Therefore, by utilizing online data mining methods and with cooperation from Baidu Inc., the Public Opinion Research Center at Renmin University of China examined and analyzed search terms on Baidu. We proposed several new indexes, such as the China Social Care Index, China Public Opinion Pressure Index, China Economy Attention Index, People’s Well-being Attention Index, China Social Responsibility Attention Index, China Innovation Attention Index, China Social Expectation Attention Index, China Ecological Environment Safety Attention Index, China Financial Safety Attention Index, China Information Security Attention Index, China Population Security Attention Index, China Resources Security attention index, China Public Health Attention Index, and the China Public Security Attention Index. These new indexes delineated the needs and focus of internet users in China.

Dr. Yu and his team studied the top 1000 search terms on Baidu from 2009~2012. His report, Public opinion barometer: How to aggregate and analyze fragmented online information, will summarize the main findings and discuss his experiences in dealing with fragmented information online.


Dr. Guoming Yu is a Professor of Journalism and Communication at Renmin University of China. He also serves as the Associate Dean of School of Journalism and Communication and the Director of Public Opinion Research Center. Dr. Yu is also the President of the Chinese Media Economics Association, Vice President of the Chinese Communication Association, Vice President of the Higher Education Committee at China Television Artists Association, and Executive Director of the China Youth & Children Research Center. He also provides advice and support to General Administration of Press and Publication and the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.

Dr. Yu’s research interests include Journalism and Communication Theories, Public Opinion Theories and Methods, and Media Economics and Social Development. He is a leading scholar of empirical research in Communication in China and has conducted over 400 projects since 1980s. Dr. Yu has published 21 books and over 400 papers, articles, and reports. He ranks No. 2 in terms of number of publications and No. 3 in terms of citations in the field of Journalism and Communication in China. He has also been honored as one of the “Top ten innovative characters for Chinese media,” “Great minds for Chinese media development,” and “Ten most influential figures on Chinese media development in the past 60 years.”

His selective publications include Look into media industry in China: Reform motivation and future directions(1993); Public opinion research in China (1993); The essence of media industry and competition strategy (2003);Public opinion: theories, methods and application (2005); Soft power of Chinese media (2009); Microblog: Examination of the new platform for communication—Influence model and its social application (2011); Bluebook of media industry development index in China (2012); Annual report on public opinion in China (2012). In recent years, he has devoted himself to the applications of digital text analysis to monitor and examine online public opinion, and the explorations of utilizing cognitive neuroscience methods in communication studies.