What is Text Analysis?

Text Analysis makes qualitative research faster and easier. The ability to analyze what your respondents say helps you gain insight into their attitudes, behaviors, concerns, motivations and culture. SurveyMonkey's Text Analysis tools also allow you to do quantitative research on open-ended questions. You can categorize, or code, and filter your respondents' important words and phrases. The Cloud View and List View features instantly show you the top words and phrases. 

This feature is available with our GOLD and PLATINUM plans.

Watch our video to get started, or follow the written instructions below. (Note: This video is currently available in English only.)



How to Analyze Open-ended Comments:

  1. Click the Analyze icon analyze associated with the survey to access the Response Summary page.
  2. For any question that has comments, click the Show Responses button.
  3. Click the Text Analysis tab to see the Cloud View and List View. This may give you some ideas for potential category names.
  4. Under the My Categories tab: Click Create New Category, name it, and assign a color value to it. 
  5. Under the Responses tab, you can view all of the comments and assign them to the saved categories. Click Categorize As next to a response to place it into a category. Or select multiple responses at once by ticking off the box next to them and then click Categorize As.
    • Click Filter by Category button to apply a filter. Once it is applied, you will only see those comments. 
  6. Within the comments section, you can also search in the Text Analysis box.


What Are the Features of Text Analysis? 

A. Cloud View:

Our text analysis feature automatically searches for important words and phrases within your respondents' comments. The Cloud View then shows you these words by presenting them in different font sizes. The larger the font size, the more often that word was used by your respondents.

  • Hover your mouse over each word and a prompt opens to show you the number of times (and the percentage) it was used.
  • Click on the word in the Cloud View to see all of the responses associated with it. 
  • Consider creating category names for these responses based on the important words or phrases.

NOTE - Small or very large numbers of comments: If you have a small number of responses (around 20 or less), then it won't show the cloud view. You need about 20 or more responses for the word cloud to pick up significant phrases. 

For very large numbers of responses, Text Analysis is a great way to qualtify open-ended responses that number up to 5000. Numbers that exceed this may not display or function properly with this tool.

B. List View:

Within this section, it orders the words shown in the Cloud View by highest to lowest number count. You will see the number of times (and percentage) that it appears within the comments. 

C. Categorize Responses:

Create categories to tag responses together based on the content of their open-ended responses. When you need to view responses that pertain only to a specific category, create a filter and apply it to the comments under the Responses tab. Use the "Uncategorized Responses" filter option to quickly view any comments that have not yet been categorized.

D. View Category Counts:

After you have categorized your responses, click on the [Categories] tab. All your categories are listed with the count of comments that you tagged with that category, and their percentage of all responses. In this way, you can do quantitative analysis on your open-ended responses.

E. Search Results:

Within the comments, you can search inside the Text Analysis box for the following:

  • Exact phrases: Use quotation marks to search for exact phrases. Search results must match exactly what you type between the quotes. Ex: "yellow flowers"
  • Search with OR: Type 'OR' between words or quoted phrases to find results that match either of the two words or phrases. Ex: rose OR carnation OR "red flower"
  • Exclude words: Type '-' directly in front of any word or phrase that you do not want to include in your search. Ex: red flower -rose (to find responses about red flowers that do NOT include the word 'rose')


Export Options:

The following Summary Report downloads provide a "category" column within the export. As you view the open-ended responses, you will see to which category you have assigned them. If you are using a spreadsheet program like Excel, you can filter within that program by category to do further analysis.

  • Excel Format (summary version only)
  • CSV Format (summary version only)


Common Questions:

1. How does it determine what is unique or important?

With the Cloud and List Views, they highlight "distinguishing" words rather than just common words. It identifies the distinguishing words that make some responses different from other responses. This feature does not do a word count of every single word but rather on what was the most unique.

Imagine 100 people said “I like ______” and the “I like” was followed by 85 different names, meaning 85 people said different names, and 15 people said “Mary”.  The important word in that case would be “Mary”, because 15 people said that vs. 1 each of the other 85.  This is more unique than showing the phrase "I like" as important or unique.

2. Why are there no important words shown in the Cloud view when I have responses:

Our Text Analysis software picks the words and phrases that best divide your text responses into separate groups. This works better the more responses you get. While we do our best to find results, if you don't have many responses yet or if they all say the same thing, then we might not be able to find any words or phrases that divide these responses into groups. You need about 20 or more responses for the word cloud to pick up significant phrases. 

3. How do I categorize multiple comments at once?

  • Click the [Text Analysis] tab.
  • Click the Cloud View button.
  • You see the important words by size (i.e. the more frequent, then a larger font is represented). Click on any word and it shows you all the comments that fall into that Could View.
  • Place a check mark into the box to the left of the [Filter by Category] button. This will automatically select all of the comments and will then activate the [Categorize As] button.
  • Click the [Categorize As] button and choose [+Create New].
  • Name the category and choose a color code.
  • Click [Save & Close] to create the category, and it automatically applies it at once to all comments that are selected.


Text Analysis is available in the following plans: