Maybe it is my enthusiasm for puzzles of all kinds – most notably crosswords and Sudoku – that attracts me to the idea of word clouds. They can not only be pleasing to look at (with all the use of color, fonts, and orientation) but they excite puzzle-lovers such as myself with the possibility that true meaning lurks beneath each cloud just waiting to be discovered.
Research Rockstar has written about word clouds, specifically the CloudMaker tool from Tribe Research; but there are other various providers such as TagCrowd and Wordle. Kathryn Korostoff (the rock star in Research Rockstar) asserts that the “real power” of word clouds may lie in our ability to analysis responses to open-ended questions. Whether or not word clouds actually provide much useful power to researchers is left for another (more serious) discussion. Today I just want to have a little end-of-the-summer fun.
I created a Wordle word cloud using a comment provided by a survey respondent to an open-ended question. The survey was conducted among volunteers of a large U.S. non-profit organization, and this particular comment was from a volunteer who was answering the question, ‘What needs to happen to improve your volunteer experience?’ This volunteer is a woman who works on a particular fund-raising event for the organization and, to preserve anonymity, I have simply substituted the actual name of this event with “Event” (so much for creativity).
So here is the word cloud. Does anyone want to take a stab at guessing the nature of the actual comment?