Finding Reasons for Vaccination Hesitancy: Evaluating Semi-Automatic Coding of Internet Discussion Forums

Stud Health Technol Inform. 2019 Aug 21:264:348-352. doi: 10.3233/SHTI190241.


Computer-assisted text coding can facilitate the analysis of large text collections. To evaluate the functionality of providing an analyst with a ranked list of suggestions for suitable text codes, we used a data set of discussion posts, which had been manually coded for reasons given for taking a stance on the topic of vaccination. We trained a logistic regression classifier to rank these reasons according to the probability that they would be present in the post. The approach was evaluated for its ability to include the expected reasons among the n top-ranked reasons, using an n between 1 and 6. The logistic regression-based ranking was more effective than the baseline, which ranked reasons according to their frequency in the training data. Providing such a list of possible codes, ranked by logistic regression, could therefore be a useful feature in a tool for text coding.

Keywords: Supervised Machine Learning; Text Mining; Vaccination Refusal.

MeSH terms

  • Internet
  • Social Media
  • Vaccination*