A comparative analysis of text representation, classification and clustering methods over real project proposals

Aksoy M., Yanık S., AMASYALI M. F.

International Journal of Intelligent Computing and Cybernetics, 2023 (ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1108/ijicc-11-2022-0289
  • Journal Name: International Journal of Intelligent Computing and Cybernetics
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, ABI/INFORM, Aerospace Database, Communication Abstracts, Compendex, Metadex, zbMATH, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Keywords: Project proposal selection, Text classification, Text clustering, Text mining, Word embedding
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Purpose: When a large number of project proposals are evaluated to allocate available funds, grouping them based on their similarities is beneficial. Current approaches to group proposals are primarily based on manual matching of similar topics, discipline areas and keywords declared by project applicants. When the number of proposals increases, this task becomes complex and requires excessive time. This paper aims to demonstrate how to effectively use the rich information in the titles and abstracts of Turkish project proposals to group them automatically. Design/methodology/approach: This study proposes a model that effectively groups Turkish project proposals by combining word embedding, clustering and classification techniques. The proposed model uses FastText, BERT and term frequency/inverse document frequency (TF/IDF) word-embedding techniques to extract terms from the titles and abstracts of project proposals in Turkish. The extracted terms were grouped using both the clustering and classification techniques. Natural groups contained within the corpus were discovered using k-means, k-means++, k-medoids and agglomerative clustering algorithms. Additionally, this study employs classification approaches to predict the target class for each document in the corpus. To classify project proposals, various classifiers, including k-nearest neighbors (KNN), support vector machines (SVM), artificial neural networks (ANN), classification and regression trees (CART) and random forest (RF), are used. Empirical experiments were conducted to validate the effectiveness of the proposed method by using real data from the Istanbul Development Agency. Findings: The results show that the generated word embeddings can effectively represent proposal texts as vectors, and can be used as inputs for clustering or classification algorithms. Using clustering algorithms, the document corpus is divided into five groups. In addition, the results demonstrate that the proposals can easily be categorized into predefined categories using classification algorithms. SVM-Linear achieved the highest prediction accuracy (89.2%) with the FastText word embedding method. A comparison of manual grouping with automatic classification and clustering results revealed that both classification and clustering techniques have a high success rate. Research limitations/implications: The proposed model automatically benefits from the rich information in project proposals and significantly reduces numerous time-consuming tasks that managers must perform manually. Thus, it eliminates the drawbacks of the current manual methods and yields significantly more accurate results. In the future, additional experiments should be conducted to validate the proposed method using data from other funding organizations. Originality/value: This study presents the application of word embedding methods to effectively use the rich information in the titles and abstracts of Turkish project proposals. Existing research studies focus on the automatic grouping of proposals; traditional frequency-based word embedding methods are used for feature extraction methods to represent project proposals. Unlike previous research, this study employs two outperforming neural network-based textual feature extraction techniques to obtain terms representing the proposals: BERT as a contextual word embedding method and FastText as a static word embedding method. Moreover, to the best of our knowledge, there has been no research conducted on the grouping of project proposals in Turkish.