Summarising the GRIT report with a word cloud

Ray Poynter
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Ray Poynter

2 mins

One of the key uses of a Word Cloud is to get a sense of what a report covers and to provide a way of searching for information without simply reading it from the beginning to the end. In this post, I discuss how I used Word Cloud Plus to review the GRIT report.

Twice a year, the research and insights industry waits with bated breath for the GreenBook  Research Industry Report (the GRIT report). However, the report is 176 pages long, with over 65 thousand words. One of the challenges is reading it and absorbing the key messages.

In this post, I talk about how a word cloud can able you to adopt an active reading approach (as opposed to a passive reading approach). By spending five minutes to create a word cloud, you can gather a sense of the main themes and then explore those themes first and fill in the detail later.

The 2023 GRIT Report is free and available via this link. I recommend reading it, but I recommend reading it actively, not passively.

Creating the Word Cloud
To create a Word Cloud (with Word Cloud Plus or any other tool), you need the document in text format. For this, I used a PDF-to-text converter.

Logging in to Word Cloud Plus, I created a new project and pasted in the text version of GRIT. The first thing, as with most projects, was to tidy up the text, for example creating stop words (words I want the cloud to ignore). For this project, the word GRIT and words used in the questionnaire, such as wave, years, 10 and 20, were added to the default list of stop words.

The next step was to reduce the display to 30 words – which is my preference.

The first interesting point of note is that the main two phrases were ‘full service research’ and ‘insights professionals’. Although the report is normally tech-focused, a major thrust of the 2023 report is about full range of services and about the people who work in research.

I next used colour to group phrases that highlighted themes and identified six broad topics: Data and data collection, Analytics, Buyers of insights, Strategic, Qualitative and Technology.

The resultant word cloud can be seen below.

Word Cloud showing phrases from the 2023 GRIT Report

This word cloud gave me a good launch point for reading the report. The five themes I watched out for and interrogated were the six themes from the word cloud, i.e. Data and data collection, Analytics, Buyers of insights, Strategic, Qualitative and Technology.

If you’d like to watch a recording of how I created this word cloud, click here.