Read Robert Nelson's "Of Monsters, Men -- and Topic Modelling" from the New York Times. It's available here or, if you can't get behind the paywall, you can search for it on your favorite search engine; the link should carry you to the article. You can find more information about the larger project and individual topics here.
Answer the following questions about this project.
- What kind of documents is Nelson working with?
- What kind of assumptions or research questions does he have for these texts?
- What general conclusions does he draw from topic modelling?
- What conclusions could not be reached through close reading of these texts? In other words, what is the unique contribution of topic modelling to our understanding of the Civil War?
- Look at the graphs/data for the other topics in the Richmond Dispatch. You can find the full list here. What do you notice?