Author: Patrick van Kessel

Where Americans find meaning in life has changed over the past four years

Americans have evolved in where they find meaning in their lives, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of surveys conducted in September 2017 and February 2021. In both years, the Center asked a representative sample of U.S. adults to answer the following question in their own words: “What about your life do you currently find meaningful, fulfilling or satisfying? What keeps you going and why?”

Read more

Where people around the world find meaning in life

In the spring of 2021 – as COVID-19 raged across many parts of the world – we asked nearly 19,000 adults in 17 publics where they find meaning in their lives and what keeps them going. While there are some similarities between the places surveyed – for example, family is a top source of meaning in most places – there are also numerous differences that highlight the uniqueness of each culture and public. We encourage you to discover these patterns using the interactive below, focusing either on a source of meaning or on one of the 17 publics surveyed. You can also explore a selection of the detailed, rich quotations provided by respondents around the world.

Read more

Are topic models reliable or useful?

For now, the evidence suggests that even with intense curation, scrutiny and validation, topic models are not particularly well-suited for classification. Instead, their strength lies in exploratory analysis, where they can serve as tools of suggestion: Topic models can help guide researchers toward more curated measurement instruments informed by a human understanding of the data, its context and linguistic semantics more broadly.

Read more

Both Republicans and Democrats cite masks as a negative effect of COVID-19, but for very different reasons

The COVID-19 outbreak has upended life across the United States and exposed growing divisions between supporters of the two major political parties. And when Americans are asked to describe in their own words how the outbreak has affected them negatively, no topic divides Democrats and Republicans more than the subject of masks, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of survey findings collected in late August and early September.

Read more

Congress Soars to New Heights on Social Media

As social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have become ingrained in political and popular culture, a new Pew Research Center analysis of every tweet and Facebook post from members of Congress since 2015 finds that the congressional social media landscape has undergone vast changes in recent years. These shifts have been especially pronounced on Twitter. Compared with a similar time period in 2016, the typical member of Congress now tweets nearly twice as often (81% more), has nearly three times as many followers and receives more than six times as many retweets on their average post.

Read more