Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Reyes T., Majluf N. and Ibáñez R. (2018)

Using Internet Search Data to Measure Changes in Social Perceptions: A Methodology and an Application

Revista : Social Science Quarterly
Volumen : 99
Número : 2
Páginas : 829-845
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


ObjectivesSocial perceptions in areas such as family life, economy, education, health, and energy can be uncertain and difficult to measure. This article proposes a well-defined methodology to measure social perceptions by observing individuals’ Google searches for online content with the support of three free tools: Google Trends, Keyword Planner, and Related Searches.MethodsThe proposed methodology is a step-by-step process that identifies representative keywords for prevailing social perceptions, and then aggregates them into specialized descriptive indexes, which are designed to highlight changes in search trends over time.ResultsTo exemplify the process, the methodology is applied to measure changes in economic and social perceptions in Chile during 2004–2014. Results show that, over these years, Chileans moved from a pro-business view to a largely anti-business perspective based on issues such as lucre, inequality, and abuses.ConclusionsThe methodology works well, as we are able to identify in two complementary ways the moment at which Chilean citizens moved from one perspective to another. The application of this methodology to Mexico, Peru, and Colombia also provided satisfactory results.