Strong correlations between text quality and complex networks features
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Physica A: Statistical and Theoretical Physics (January 2007)

Concepts of complex networks have been used to obtain metrics that were correlated to text quality established by scores assigned by human judges. Texts produced by high-school students in Portuguese were represented as scale-free networks (word adjacency model), from which typical network features such as the in/outdegree, clustering coefficient and shortest path were obtained. Another metric was derived from the dynamics of the network growth, based on the variation of the number of connected components. The scores assigned by the human judges according to three text quality criteria (coherence and cohesion, adherence to standard writing conventions and theme adequacy/development) were correlated with the network measurements. Text quality for all three criteria was found to decrease with increasing average values of outdegrees, clustering coefficient and deviation from the dynamics of network growth. Among the criteria employed, cohesion and coherence showed the strongest correlation, which probably indicates that the network measurements are able to capture how the text is developed in terms of the concepts represented by the nodes in the networks. Though based on a particular set of texts and specific language, the results presented here point to potential applications in other instances of text analysis.
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