Purdue University Graduate School
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posted on 2023-06-14, 14:40 authored by Shamik RoyShamik Roy

Nowadays an increasing number of people consume, share, and interact with information online. This results in posting and counter-posting on online media by different ideological groups on various polarized topics. Consequently, online media has become the primary platform for political and social influencers to directly interact with the citizens and share their perspectives, views, and stances with the goal of gaining support for their actions, bills, and legislation. Hence, understanding the perspectives and the influencing strategies in online media texts is important for an individual to avoid misinformation and improve trust between the general people and the influencers and the authoritative figures such as the government.

Automatically understanding the perspectives in online media is difficult because of two major challenges. Firstly, the proper grammar or mechanism to characterize the perspectives is not available. Recent studies in Natural Language Processing (NLP) have leveraged resources from social science to explain perspectives. For example, Policy Framing and Moral Foundation Theory are used for understanding how issues are framed and the moral appeal expressed in texts to gain support. However, these theories often fail to capture the nuances in perspectives and cannot generalize over all topics and events. Our research in this dissertation is one of the first studies that adapt social science theories in Natural Language Processing for understanding perspectives to the extent that they can capture differences in ideologies or stances. The second key challenge in understanding perspectives in online media texts is that annotated data is difficult to obtain to build automatic methods to detect the perspectives, that can generalize over the large corpus of online media text on different topics. To tackle this problem, in this dissertation, we used weak sources of supervision such as social network interaction of users who produce and interact with the messages, weak human interaction, or artificial few-shot data using Large Language Models. 

Our insight is that various tasks such as perspectives, stances, sentiments toward entities, etc. are interdependent when characterizing online media messages. As a result, we proposed approaches that jointly model various interdependent problems such as perspectives, stances, sentiments toward entities, etc., and perform structured prediction to solve them jointly. Our research findings showed that the messaging choices and perspectives on online media in response to various real-life events and their prominence and contrast in different ideological camps can be efficiently captured using our developed methods.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Computer Science

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dan Goldwasser

Additional Committee Member 2

Clifton W. Bingham

Additional Committee Member 3

Ming Yin

Additional Committee Member 4

Ninghui Li