A Survey of Opinion Mining and Sentiment Analysis

Chapter

Abstract

Sentiment analysis or opinion mining is the computational study of people’s opinions, appraisals, attitudes, and emotions toward entities, individuals, issues, events, topics and their attributes. The task is technically challenging and practically very useful. For example, businesses always want to find public or consumer opinions about their products and services. Potential customers also want to know the opinions of existing users before they use a service or purchase a product.

With the explosive growth of social media (i.e., reviews, forum discussions, blogs and social networks) on the Web, individuals and organizations are increasingly using public opinions in these media for their decision making. However, finding and monitoring opinion sites on the Web and distilling the information contained in them remains a formidable task because of the proliferation of diverse sites. Each site typically contains a huge volume of opinionated text that is not always easily deciphered in long forum postings and blogs. The average human reader will have difficulty identifying relevant sites and accurately summarizing the information and opinions contained in them. Moreover, it is also known that human analysis of text information is subject to considerable biases, e.g., people often pay greater attention to opinions that are consistent with their own preferences. People also have difficulty, owing to their mental and physical limitations, producing consistent results when the amount of information to be processed is large. Automated opinion mining and summarization systems are thus needed, as subjective biases and mental limitations can be overcome with an objective sentiment analysis system.

In the past decade, a considerable amount of research has been done in academia [58,76]. There are also numerous commercial companies that provide opinion mining services. In this chapter, we first define the opinion mining problem. From the definition, we will see the key technical issues that need to be addressed. We then describe various key mining tasks that have been studied in the research literature and their representative techniques. After that, we discuss the issue of detecting opinion spam or fake reviews. Finally, we also introduce the research topic of assessing the utility or quality of online reviews.

Keywords

opinion mining sentiment analysis 

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

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