Detecting Frames and Causal Relationships in Climate Change Related Text Databases Based on Semantic Features

Document
Description

The subliminal impact of framing of social, political and environmental issues such as climate change has been studied for decades in political science and communications research. Media framing offers an

The subliminal impact of framing of social, political and environmental issues such as climate change has been studied for decades in political science and communications research. Media framing offers an “interpretative package" for average citizens on how to make sense of climate change and its consequences to their livelihoods, how to deal with its negative impacts, and which mitigation or adaptation policies to support. A line of related work has used bag of words and word-level features to detect frames automatically in text. Such works face limitations since standard keyword based features may not generalize well to accommodate surface variations in text when different keywords are used for similar concepts.

This thesis develops a unique type of textual features that generalize triplets extracted from text, by clustering them into high-level concepts. These concepts are utilized as features to detect frames in text. Compared to uni-gram and bi-gram based models, classification and clustering using generalized concepts yield better discriminating features and a higher classification accuracy with a 12% boost (i.e. from 74% to 83% F-measure) and 0.91 clustering purity for Frame/Non-Frame detection.

The automatic discovery of complex causal chains among interlinked events and their participating actors has not yet been thoroughly studied. Previous studies related to extracting causal relationships from text were based on laborious and incomplete hand-developed lists of explicit causal verbs, such as “causes" and “results in." Such approaches result in limited recall because standard causal verbs may not generalize well to accommodate surface variations in texts when different keywords and phrases are used to express similar causal effects. Therefore, I present a system that utilizes generalized concepts to extract causal relationships. The proposed algorithms overcome surface variations in written expressions of causal relationships and discover the domino effects between climate events and human security. This semi-supervised approach alleviates the need for labor intensive keyword list development and annotated datasets. Experimental evaluations by domain experts achieve an average precision of 82%. Qualitative assessments of causal chains show that results are consistent with the 2014 IPCC report illuminating causal mechanisms underlying the linkages between climatic stresses and social instability.