Student recruitment and retention are important issues for all higher education institutions. Constant monitoring of student satisfaction levels is therefore crucial. Traditionally, students voice their opinions through official surveys organized by the universities. In addition to that, nowadays, social media and review websites such as “Rate my professors” are rich sources of opinions that should not be ignored. Automated mining of students’ opinions can be realized via aspect-based sentiment analysis (ABSA). ABSA s is a sub-discipline of natural language processing (NLP) that focusses on the identification of sentiments (negative, neutral, positive) and aspects (sentiment targets) in a sentence. The purpose of this paper is to introduce a system for ABSA of free text reviews expressed in student opinion surveys in the Serbian language. Sentiment analysis was carried out at the finest level of text granularity – the level of sentence segment (phrase and clause).
The presented system relies on NLP techniques, machine learning models, rules and dictionaries. The corpora collected and annotated for system development and evaluation comprise students’ reviews of teaching staff at the Faculty of Technical Sciences, University of Novi Sad, Serbia, and a corpus of publicly available reviews from the Serbian equivalent of the “Rate my professors” website.
The research results indicate that positive sentiment can successfully be identified with the F-measure of 0.83, while negative sentiment can be detected with the F-measure of 0.94. While the F-measure for the aspect’s range is between 0.49 and 0.89, depending on their frequency in the corpus. Furthermore, the authors have concluded that the quality of ABSA depends on the source of the reviews (official students’ surveys vs review websites).
The system for ABSA presented in this paper could improve the quality of service provided by the Serbian higher education institutions through a more effective search and summary of students’ opinions. For example, a particular educational institution could very easily find out which aspects of their service the students are not satisfied with and to which aspects of their service more attention should be directed.
To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study of ABSA carried out at the level of sentence segment for the Serbian language. The methodology and findings presented in this paper provide a much-needed bases for further work on sentiment analysis for the Serbian language that is well under-resourced and under-researched in this area.
Results presented in this paper are a part of the research conducted within the grants III-47003 and III-44010 provided by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Serbia.
Nikolić, N., Grljević, O. and Kovačević, A. (2020), "Aspect-based sentiment analysis of reviews in the domain of higher education", The Electronic Library, Vol. 38 No. 1, pp. 44-64. https://doi.org/10.1108/EL-06-2019-0140Download as .RIS
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