Text Analysis with AntConc for social media data: Concordancer and Concordance Plot

In the lasts posts, we learn the basics about AntConc and how to generate and analyze word lists. Now we are going to show you how to use AntConc to study concordances through allowing the navigation of instances of a keywords in context.

Don’t forget that this post is part of a series of tutorials:

  1. Intro, Opening a File and Settings
  2. Word Lists and File Viewer 
  3. Concordancer and Concordance Plot (we are here)
  4. Clusters and N-Grams (soon)
  5. Collocations (soon)


Concordance basics

1. Open your file(s). In that example, we are going to use a simple example of only two texts: the english webpages about the countries United States and United Kingdom. You can find them at our datasets folder.


2. Generate a Word List.


3. Click on the Concordance tab. Now you can search for a letter, word or expression. We searched for the term ‘war’ and, as you can see, we got a total of 107 Concordance Hits. This is the sum of the total amount of results to that specific search in the two files.


4. By default, the search term will be highlighted in blue and up to three terms on the right will be highlighted in red, green and purple. You can change those colors in Global Settings.

They are useful to understand and sort the words in the vicinity of our term (or terms) of interest.


5. At the bottom, you can change the Kwic (Keyword-in-context) settings and choose which items you want to highlight and sort in the Concordance tab. You can select up to three levels. In the following images, 1R stands for “1 Right, or first item on the right”, 1L stands for “1 Left, or first item on the left” and so on.


Changing the levels to 1L, 2L and 3L will result on something like the following:


World War


as * as


Concordance plot

The concordance plot is a straightforward way to compare two or more corpora, their concordance hits and the distribution of words or phrases along them.

1. It is very simple to use the Concordance Plot. Just generate a Word List (if you haven’t already), search for a word or phrase on the Concordance tab and click on the Concordance Plot tab. Let’s use that same example from before, searching for ‘war’:


2. As we can see, the word ‘war’ is much more common on the United States WIkipedia page. What does that mean? It could be a indication of more interest on war between the editors of the USA wikipedia page, for example?


3. You can increase the zoom on the visualization in the option Plot Zoom:


4. You can observe in Step 2 that besides the number the fact that the characters in each file are different (126k x 135k), the rectangle representing the files has the same width. This is because the visualization is normalized to facilitate some comparisons. You can change that going in Tool Preferences -> Concordance Plot and selecting the option “Use a relative lenght” in the Plot Length Options.

Now you can see a width that better represents the length and the difference between the files:


Searching for a list of words

1. At the Concordance tool, as well in other AntConc tools, we can search for a list of words at once. Those words could be inserted manually or through a txt file.


2. In the Advanced Search options you can check the option “Use search term(s) from list below” and input the words. In the following example, we used the expressions below to include also terms like “economics”, “economically”, “finance”,  “financial” etc.


3. Alternatively, you can click on “Load File” and upload words from a .txt file.


4. With this technique you can look and explore concordances for words with semantic similarity:


5. Finally, another option on the Advanced Search specifications is to use Context Words and Horizons. The terms searched are filtered out according to proximity to other words. In the example below, the combination of terms related to war and conflicts to a filter of instances next to ‘crisis’ and ‘depression’ could be used for understanding the relations between war and economic problems:



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