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What is a Sentiment Score Chart and when might a business analyst use one?

Posted by Chris Adams

Article Rating // 9708 Views // 0 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: Business Analysis, Data Analysis & Modeling, Analytical and Problem Solving Skills, Tools


Business Analysts engage in all kinds of interviews, open response surveys, ideation workshops, and other research activities that result in large amounts of qualitative information.  So much qualitative information can present challenges both in terms of absorbing and understanding the information as well as representing it visually to others.  It can be difficult to turn participants’ open responses into quantitative data.  sentiment score chart is a polarized histogram that communicates both the positive and negative feedback (or sentiment) of the participants transforming qualitative data into a quantitative visualization.

To really understand a sentiment score chart, it helps to understand the process for making one. Imagine that you are soliciting feedback from end users of an application.

Record and Transcribe
When transforming qualitative information into quantitative data it's important to be precise. User feedback sessions should be recorded. The recordings should then be transcribed word for word.  Otherwise the impact of the qualitative information may be softened. (There are talk-to-text transcription applications that can be used).

Categorize and Assign Weights

Next, review the transcripts to identify and categorize feedback into themes and topics. The feedback workshop facilitator may ask questions such as: What did you think of the layout of the application? Were all of the necessary features available to you? Were there any missing features? Was the application easy to navigate? These types of questions might result in feedback being categorized into the following hierarchy.

  • Overall Application
    • Layout/Structure
    • Navigation
    • Style/Aesthetic
  • Features
    • Search
    • Item Selection
    • Add to Cart
    • Checkout
    • Analytics

After grouping the feedback statements by topic then each statement must be classified as positive or negative and assigned a weight.  

"I really liked the layout of the content" - positive statement (Layout: +1)
"I found the navigation to be a little confusing" - negative statement (Navigation: -1)

Some judgement comes into play here.  Should all statements be equally weighted (+1, -1)? Or, should qualifying words such as "a little" reduce the weight of the statement. Perhaps we assign the navigation category a value of (-.5) for this statement.

Sum Up and Visualize
After all of the individual statement weights have been assigned, the negative and positive weights are separately totaled for each category.

  • Layout/Structure (-3, +9)
  • Navigation (-8, 4)
  • Style/Aesthetic (-2, 11)
The histogram can now be constructed from these totals.

A strong visualization can substantially enhance qualitative information. Using a sentiment score chart, the product team can easily visualize the data and plan future work and resources by focusing on those areas where change will be most impactful.

Chris Adams
LinkedIn Profile



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Do your homework prior to the business analysis interview!

Having an idea of the type of questions you might be asked during a business analyst interview will not only give you confidence but it will also help you to formulate your thoughts and to be better prepared to answer the interview questions you might get during the interview for a business analyst position.  Of course, just memorizing a list of business analyst interview questions will not make you a great business analyst but it might just help you get that next job.



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