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Studying Meaning – How does it work?

Ujwal Arkalgud, EVP & Group Director at Lux Research

Ujwal Arkalgud

EVP & Group Director, Anthropology

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Jason Partridge photo

Jason Partridge

VP, Client Success

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Welcome to “Why Meaning Matters”—a Story Studio Network podcast hosted by Erin Trafford with MotivBase cultural anthropologist, Ujwal Arkalgud and MotivBase president, Jason Partridge.

In this episode, our hosts put the nuanced conversations of previous episodes into context, discussing how studying meaning works beginning with the core tenant of structural anthropology- giving meaning to the world through analyzing natural language. Surveys and focus groups generate unnatural conversations so the team at MotivBase takes to the internet where millions are engaging in natural conversation every day.

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Welcome to Why Meaning Matters. A Story Studio Network podcast hosted by Erin Trafford with MotivBase cultural anthropologist, Ujwal Arkalgud and MotivBase president, Jason Partridge.

In this episode, our hosts put the nuanced conversations of previous episodes into context, discussing how studying meaning works beginning with the core tenant of structural anthropology- giving meaning to the world through analyzing natural language. Surveys and focus groups generate unnatural conversations so the team at MotivBase takes to the internet where millions are engaging in natural conversation every day.

UJWAL [00:03:57] “And these millions of people are talking about pretty much anything and everything imaginable. And especially in places like forums, where they get to hide behind pseudonyms, they are open to being vulnerable there.”

The methods and principles used to analyze and measure meaning now versus 100 years ago are not all that different. It’s simply on a larger scale. AKA Big Data. More importantly, it’s not about what is being said or who’s saying it. It’s about the words being used.

JASON [00:05:28] “Now, all of a sudden [it] takes on some of the mass from that other topic, the association starts to transform not only how we think about it, but how prevalent it is in culture. This is what Ujwal is describing. This is the theory that goes back to what these social scientists were leveraging back in the day.”

The data analysis now can help companies to know what meanings are still in the myth stage before they become innately known truths. Because, in the context of the businesses MotivBase works with, once something becomes a truth, it’s too late to change it.

UJWAL [00:11:16] “And so the whole purpose of us doing this type of analysis is so that we can identify things while they’re still in myth stage, while the meanings are still developing, to use the mass analogy of Jason’s earlier, while we can identify, while these triggers are developing so that we can run predictions, help our clients understand when something will in fact become truth.”

The ability to analyze and predict and understand applies to anything. Philosophically speaking, so long as there is language around a topic, a trend, an idea then meaning exists.

UJWAL [00:12:12] “And so really what we’re trying to figure out is how much does something exist in culture, right? How much, as in, how much consensus have we built around it to the point where it exists and has just become complete truth…”

In the next episode, our hosts chat about the trust factor involved when it comes to collecting and analyzing Big Data in the current climate. Stay tuned for episode eleven of Why Meaning Matters. A podcast produced by Story Studio Network and iContact Productions for MotivBase- Decoding implicit meaning behind what people talk about.

If you want to contribute to the conversation, make sure you drop us an email at hello [at] storystudionetwork [dot] com. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to SHARE it, RATE it, and SUBSCRIBE to the show!

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