Date of Original Version



Working Paper

Abstract or Description

: Network Text Analysis (NTA) involves the creation of networks of words and/or concepts from linguistic data. Its key insight is that the position of words and concepts in a text network provides vital clues to the central and underlying themes of the text as a whole. Recent research has relied on inductive approaches to identify these themes. In this study we demonstrate a deductive approach that we apply to the screenplay of American Sniper, an Academy Award nominee for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2014. Specifically, we first use genre expectations theory to establish prior expectations as to the key themes associated with war films. We then empirically test whether words and concepts associated with the most influentially-positioned nodes are consistent with themes common to the war-film genre. As predicted, we find that words and concepts associated with the least constrained nodes in the text network were significantly more likely to be associated with the war, action, and biography genres and significantly less likely to be associated with the mystery, science-fiction, fantasy, and film-noir genres.