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Exploring research on quality and reliability management through text mining methodology

Daniel Carnerud (Department of Quality Technology and Management, Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden)

International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management

ISSN: 0265-671X

Article publication date: 7 August 2017



The purpose of this paper is to explore and describe research presented in the International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management (IJQRM), thereby creating an increased understanding of how the areas of research have evolved through the years. An additional purpose is to show how text mining methodology can be used as a tool for exploration and description of research publications.


The study applies text mining methodologies to explore and describe the digital library of IJQRM from 1984 up to 2014. To structure and condense the data, k-means clustering and probabilistic topic modeling with latent Dirichlet allocation is applied. The data set consists of research paper abstracts.


The results support the suggestion of the occurrence of trends, fads and fashion in research publications. Research on quality function deployment (QFD) and reliability management are noted to be on the downturn whereas research on Six Sigma with a focus on lean, innovation, performance and improvement on the rise. Furthermore, the study confirms IJQRM as a scientific journal with quality and reliability management as primary areas of coverage, accompanied by specific topics such as total quality management, service quality, process management, ISO, QFD and Six Sigma. The study also gives an insight into how text mining can be used as a way to efficiently explore and describe large quantities of research paper abstracts.

Research limitations/implications

The study focuses on abstracts of research papers, thus topics and categories that could be identified via other journal publications, such as book reviews; general reviews; secondary articles; editorials; guest editorials; awards for excellence (notifications); introductions or summaries from conferences; notes from the publisher; and articles without an abstract, are excluded.


There do not seem to be any prior text mining studies that apply cluster modeling and probabilistic topic modeling to research article abstracts in the IJQRM. This study therefore offers a unique perspective on the journal’s content.



Carnerud, D. (2017), "Exploring research on quality and reliability management through text mining methodology", International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. 34 No. 7, pp. 975-1014.



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