La imagen pública de la química en Twitter


Guerris Larruy, Manuel  


The public image of chemistry has been studied through the analysis of documents and surveys. Twitter is a worldwide social network that, unlike the previous sources, is based on brief and spontaneous opinions. The aim of this work is to identify the public perception of chemistry in this network, i.e., what is explained, what feelings are perceived, as well as the most influential users and their relationships. To achieve the above objectives 256 833 tweets collected between January 1, 2015 and June 30, 2015 containing the words "chemistry", "chemical" or "chem" were purified to 50 725 tweets with textual information in English. Accepted tweets were automatically clustered using the spherical k-means method. The resulting clusters were categorised according to six topics by 18 chemistry experts. The prevailing topics were the Learning Environment topic, related to activities and tasks in chemistry courses, and the Human Activity topic, referring to facts and news about the chemical industry. The Scientific Knowledge topic, concerning communication of chemistry knowledge, only accounted for a small percentage of the tweets. We classified the tweets of most relevant topics based on their sentiment values and obtained more positive than negative perceptions. Nevertheless, the analysis of the unigrams and bigrams word clouds revealed a notable presence of chemophobia-related terms in the Human Activity topic, both in positive and negative classified tweets as well as negatively perceived chemistry course-specific elements in the Learning Environment topic. The analysis of the users and their relationships with other users showed that the most relevant users do not correspond to the presumably most influential users, companies and scientific societies, in the chemistry world. Companies and scientific societies use Twitter as a news and advertising channel without an apparent educational purpose about the virtues and benefits of chemistry. Finally, it should be noted that, during this study, the existence of a public image of chemistry on Twitter centered on the topics of Learning Environment and Human Activity has been detected, with a certain presence of chemophobia but with a predominance of positive feelings.




Cuadros Margarit, Jordi
González Sabaté, Lucinio  


IQS SE - Mètodes Quantitatius

Date of defense