What was learned: Ed Brent, a sociology professor at MU, has created a new computer program designed to search and analyze content. The software is a step up from most search programs designed for researchers by identifying patterns and codes for the researchers, according to a release from the MU News Bureau.
What it means: Brent said in the release that the software program will help take the multitude of information available now and boil it down to what matters. “We are bombarded by so much unstructured data that we have problems deciphering what’s truly important,” he said. “This program helps people sort through everything.” Why it matters: Brent started the software project, called Qualrus, to help researchers find the meaningful data in the many interviews, books and articles they gather. With a grant from the National Science Foundation two years ago, Brent was able to start research and tests on Qualrus.
One of his tests was in his own classroom. Brent used Qualrus to help him grade his students’ first drafts of papers by programming words and phrases into the program, which would then analyze the paper and see if the student answered the questions.
In the news release, Brent told of many places where Qualrus would be useful.
With large companies looking at press clippings or e-mails or with lawyers trying to review case materials, Qualrus can help categorize and manage many content forms.
The program can access Web pages, and soon it will have capabilities to look at PDF files, which are documents protected so people can’t save them as text.
Where to find more information: www.ideaworks.com.